The University of Minnesota Extension Southeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (Southeast RSDP) has been serving the region since 1997. Our mission is to work with residents of Southeast Minnesota to create and sustain healthy ecosystems, strong local economies and vibrant, self-reliant communities. We create meaningful collaborations between community and University partners.
The originating board of community members named this partnership the "Experiment in Rural Cooperation" to signify that the goal of our work and projects is to promote forward-thinking experiments in sustainable development.
The Southeast RSDP covers a range of Minnesota ecological land classifications. Our service areas includes the Mississippi River Blufflands, the Rochester Plateau, the Oak Savanna, and portions of the Big Woods and Minnesota River Prairie.
The Southeast region generally includes, but is not strictly limited to, the following counties: Blue Earth, Faribault, Dodge, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, LeSueur, Mower, Nicollet, Olmsted, Fillmore, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca and Winona. It also includes the sovereign Native Nation of Prairie Island Indian Community (Dakota).
Salvaging “waste wood” to create new public spaces
Southeast RSDP partnered with Grand Rounds Brewing Company and the City of Rochester to develop Rochester’s first public parklet. The space was built using wood impacted by the emerald ash borer (EAB), which would normally be discarded at a wood waste facility. Instead, it was treated and processed to create a unique public-private outdoor space for the community to use and learn more about ways to repurpose EAB wood. For more about this project, read our article in RSDP Happenings.
Responding to Covid-19 in Southern Minnesota
As many families continue adjusting to virtual learning environments, Southeast RSDP’s Covid-19 Rapid Response funding has helped generate free online educational opportunities by supporting the Mankato-based Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC). These engaging online webinars offer STEM, Social Studies, Literacy and Art/Music programs for Kindergarten through 6th grade students. Check out CILC’s upcoming Community of Learning programs.
Considering a Deep Winter Greenhouse (DWG) for your nonprofit organization?
In a new report, Nonprofit Use of Deep Winter Greenhouses: Minnesota Case Studies, nine educational and non-profit organizations share their experiences building DWGs. Each case study explores the purpose of the DWG, how it was funded, zoning and construction considerations, current usage, management and future usage.
Why don't Latinos go to State Parks in Minnesota?
Parks are known to have social benefits, but not everyone experiences parks in the same way. A series of focus groups in Southeastern Minnesota identified challenges and benefits for Latinos to visit Minnesota's state park system.
New soil health case studies
Jared Luhman, soil health lead for Sustainable Farming Association (SFA) of Minnesota, joined the Southeast RSDP board at their September board meeting to share progress on SFA’s soil health case studies. Luhman interviewed nine farmers experienced in caring for the soil and water in Southeast Minnesota’s unique terrain. The 2020 soil health case studies reflect a variety of farmers' experiences.
Project ideas are submitted to one or more of RSDP’s regional boards based on the location of the project. These project ideas are reviewed based on the following shared criteria:
- Community members identify project goals in one or more of the four RSDP sustainable development focus areas.
- The project involves meaningful roles for both local community members and University of Minnesota faculty, staff and/or students.
- The project engages diverse populations and advances new community collaborations.
- The project supports environmental, social and economic sustainability for public purpose or benefit. Project learning or actions will be shared.
- Community partners provide leadership and support throughout the life of the project.
- Priority may be given to projects that leverage funds or other contributions.
- Tyrel Clark, firstname.lastname@example.org, 507-251-6392 - Eyota
- Sheila Craig, email@example.com, 507-273-1481 - Preston
- Lisa Dierks, firstname.lastname@example.org, 507-254-7178 - Wanamingo
- Brian Fries, email@example.com, 651-565-0096 - Wabasha
- Alison Leathers, firstname.lastname@example.org, 507-251-8049 - Preston
- Jane Olive, email@example.com, 507-635-5108 - Mantorville
- Ray Schmitz, firstname.lastname@example.org, 507-288-3948 - Rochester
- Adam Wilke, email@example.com, 612-625-0279 - St. Paul