Sue Olson of Austin and Elizabeth "Betty" Wilkens of Mora have been appointed to the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) by Gov. Mark Dayton.
Wilkens is a landowner, retired educator and long-time volunteer for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. She teaches bowhunter and firearms safety, facilitates outdoor education programs for women, and serves on the state Fisheries Citizen Oversight Committee. She is a township supervisor and supervisor of Kanabec County Soil and Water Conservation District. Wilkens is also a member of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's citizen stream monitoring program.
"Betty is the consummate conservationist," said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. "She and husband Dan have preserved a beautiful piece of property near McGrath that they use for teaching women and children about the outdoors and hunting. She's very active in the conservation community and was honored last year by "Outdoor News" as the "Outdoorswoman of the Year," a testament to her impact."
She replaces Ryan Bronson on the council
Olson is manager of the Cedar River Watershed District Board of Managers, president of Mower County Pheasants Forever and a DNR volunteer firearms instructor. She is former president of the Oak Grove Gun Club and former vice president of the Cedar Valley Conservation Club. She is a member of the Workers Compensation Advisory Board since 2007, reappointed by Gov. Dayton in 2012. Olson is a senior attorney at Hormel Foods Corp.
"Susan is a life-long outdoorswoman who is very involved in the Austin area with conservation projects," Landwehr said. "She knows what it takes to put conservation on the ground in agricultural Minnesota, and as a corporate attorney, brings a business sense to getting things done. She will be the Council's first citizen member from south-central Minnesota."
She replaces Wayne Enger on the council.
The LSOHC was established by the Legislature with the responsibility of providing annual funding recommendations to the Legislature from the Outdoor Heritage Fund. The Outdoor Heritage Fund, one of four funds created by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, receives one-third of the money raised by the tax increase.
The Council ensures recommendations that are consistent with the State Constitution and state law and that take into consideration the outcomes of, including, but not limited to, the Minnesota conservation and preservation plan, that directly relate to the restoration, protection, and enhancement of wetlands, prairies, forests, and habitat for fish, game, and wildlife, and that prevent forest fragmentation, encourage forest consolidation, and expand restored native prairie.