The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is dedicated to preserving and enhancing the environment of Minnesota and preserving our natural heritage for generations to come. The DNR employs 2,700 workers and does everything from maintaining state parks to defending our waters from invasive species. Such a broad and comprehensive agency needs a capable, experienced, enthusiastic leader, and DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr certainly fits the bill. His credentials have not gone untested; just one year into his term, Commissioner Landwehr has combated Asian carp, conserved natural grassland, and convinced Minnesotans to get in touch with the great outdoors again. Commissioner Landwehr did all this despite the government shutdown last summer and a 15 percent cut in funds from the state.
Politics in Minnesota (subscription required) highlighted the work of Commissioner Landwehr this week. Bud Stone, president of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, emphasizes Commissioner Landwehr’s work ethic and effectiveness. He worked with Landwehr as a member of the Forest Legacy Advisory Group, and said, “Tom was a great asset because he’s very knowledgeable.”
The profile shed light on the difficulties of the job, quoting Landwehr reflecting on public opinion surrounding environmental preservation:
“I think conservationists by definition have to advocate — the world isn’t going to conservation, it’s going away from it.”
Commissioner Landwehr grew up in St. Paul but hitchhiked to the North Shore every summer to experience the outdoors. Commissioner Landwehr remembers how impactful his youthful experiences in the outdoors, which is why he puts such a strong emphasis on preservation: “I want future generations of kids to not only have access to the outdoors (but to also be) actively shown the outdoors so that they understand the value of nature.”
Currently, Commissioner Landwehr is focusing his efforts on collaborating with other organizations like Conservation Corps Minnesota to promote camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities. This is no easy task in an age where fewer people engage in outdoor events, but Commissioner is ready to meet the challenge.
Commissioner Landwehr’s lifetime of service in preserving our natural resources has made our state environment a better place to live, work, and raise a family. Thanks to the efforts of agency leaders like Commissioner Landwehr, our state will remain in pristine condition for generations to come.