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Groups pool efforts for environment

By Jim Troyer

news@postbulletin.com

A group of people with a common concern for the health of planet Earth launched the Austin Coalition for the Environment on Thursday night.

The 7 p.m. meeting at Pickett Place, 808 First Drive N.W., included leaders of environmental and civic groups such as the Izaak Walton League, the Austin Audubon Society, the League of Women Voters, Habitat for Humanity, the Sierra Club, as well as teachers, city employees, and a husband-and-wife recycling team.

Ruth Klamm, key facilitator for the group, said its purpose is to improve communication and cooperation between organizations and to support each other’s efforts.

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Synergy

"By working together we can get more done with less effort," she said. "There is simply too much for any one group to tackle alone."

Klamm introduced Matt Hurm, who leads the Minnesota Environmental Partnership in Austin and Rochester. He is spearheading a letter-writing campaign to Austin’s legislative team in support of "long-term funding to support our lakes and rivers."

"We are generating a lot of letters," he said.

Coalition members discussed a resolution written for consideration by the Austin City Council, and they named Susan Hurm, an environmental activist, teacher and nurse, and Glenn Munson, pastor of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, to work on the document.

Other committees established at the meeting and their leaders are Recycling, Louis and Karen Anthonisen; Parades, Ruth Klamm; Legislature, Julie Tufte, Austin League of Women president; Conservation, Larry Dolphin, Jay C. Hormel Nature Center director; and CO2 Reduction, Bob Vilt.

Coalition goals

Retired Austin High School teacher Terry Dorsey led the group in listing the new coalition’s action goals. They include reducing CO2 emissions, promoting conservation practices, increasing concern for use of resources and boosting participation in recycling programs. The coalition also will promote "prompt conservation legislation."

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Dolphin defined the coalition’s role as "information and education plus action!"

"I think that’s where we should be," he said, "acting toward reducing carbon emissions. Action is about a lot of things — from soil conservation to wind farms."

The group voted to meet every two weeks.

Klamm asked the members to encourage the groups they represent and others to attend the Living Green Exposition scheduled at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds on Saturday and Sunday.

The free event provides information and products to help Minnesotans improve the environment. It will include 200 exhibitors and more than 50 workshops. Attractions also will include music, art, food, demonstrations and youth activities.

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