Rural Climate Dialogue - Itasca County, MN


Itasca County Climate Dialogue Final Report

The link above will bring you to the Final Report from the Itasca County Climate Dialogue. This...


Itasca County Climate Dialogue - Day Two

On the second day of the Itasca County Climate Dialogue, the 18 participants re-grouped to discuss how...


Student climate change concerns

Students at Grand Rapids High School were asked about their concerns regarding climate change in the Grand Rapids area...


Grand Rapids High School Hosts Climate Conversation

Reprinted from School District 318: ...

Itasca County community members gathered May 14-16 in Grand Rapids for an in-depth three-day deliberative forum to study and discuss changes in the area’s climate and weather. Participants in the Dialogue developed a community-based response outlining concerns, opportunities, and actions to address challenges the community faces.

The Itasca Climate Dialogue was organized by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and the Jefferson Center. The Dialogue invited a randomly selected but demographically balanced group of 18 individuals from the county. Participants had access to resources and experts to produce their own independent recommendations that responded to Itasca County’s needs, priorities, values, and ambitions.

Speakers included Mark Seeley, University of Minnesota Extension Climatologist; Brian Palik, Research Ecologist; Tim Goeman, Department of Natural Resources; John Latimer, local phenologist; Megan Christianson, Visit Grand Rapids; Julie Kennedy, Grand Rapids City Engineer; and Michael Duval, Department of Natural Resources.

Grand Rapids High School students hosted a panel of 9 local experts in March to discuss the local impacts of climate change. After the panel, students identified their top climate concerns: impacts on wildlife habitat and migration patterns, new diseases that will impact the forests and local residents, and water quality in local lakes and rivers. Two students attended the community Dialogue to share their experiences.

This Rural Climate Dialogue was the second in a series of Dialogues happening around the state. The Dialogues are intended to spur rural leadership and build resiliency in the face of extreme weather conditions and a changing climate.

The event was held at the Timberlake Lodge (144 SE 17th Street, Grand Rapids, MN) from May 14-16, 2015. 

Reports and Outcomes

Expert Testimony

Local Information and Resources

The following list includes several resources to learn more or stay involved in the climate conversation after the Dialogue is finished.

Farmer and Landowner Guide to Pollinators and Neonicotinoids - This fact sheet outlines how pollinators are at risk from pesticides and habitat loss, and what landowners can do to support pollinator habitat on their own property.

Preventing pollution problems from lawn and garden fertilizers - This webpage from University of Minnesota extension outlines practices that individuals can take on their own lawns and gardens to prevent fertilizer runoff and protect water quality.

Itasca Water Legacy Partnership - This Grand Rapids based organization of local water quality advocates builds capacity for local water assessments, encourages personal practices to sustain high-quality water, assesses and provides information on the economic value of clean water, provides educational programs on water quality for adult and youth groups, and controls and prevents the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) - Northeast CERT empowers communities and their members to adopt energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy technologies and practices.

Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDPs) - Northeast RSDP makes a difference by combining citizen leadership with the research and educational resources of the University of Minnesota to foster long-term sustainability in the northeast region of Minnesota.

Rural Climate Network - This network is made up of member organizations that share social and technical approaches to climate change between agriculture, forestry, and other natural resource dependent communities. This work connects rural leaders in order to generate and respond to state and national climate change policies. The website has a rich compilation of resources to learn what's happening on-the-ground across the country to adapt to and mitigate climate change.