Northwest Minnesota residents with an idea to strengthen their community can now apply for partnership support from the University of Minnesota Extension Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (Northwest RSDP).

    Northwest RSDP supports local innovation by connecting community ideas to University of Minnesota knowledge and seed funding. Community members work on diverse project teams that research, design and plan local sustainability projects with University students, faculty and staff.

    Northwest RSDP seeks ideas from individuals and communities, especially those who have not previously partnered with the University.  In 2020, priorities identified by the Northwest RSDP include projects that strategically bridge political, cultural, gender and ethnic differences;  strengthen community food assets; support healthy soil and water; and air; mitigate climate change: and connect people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds to the natural world.

    “We’re excited for a new round of community-University partnerships that put a spotlight on the local sustainability innovation happening across our Northwest communities,” said Northwest RSDP Executive Director Linda Kingery.

    Project ideas are being accepted through February 14 and can be submitted online at z.umn.edu/RSDPIdeaBrief. Community members are encouraged to contact Kingery at kinge002@umn.edu or 218-281-8697 to discuss their ideas and ask any questions. Successful projects are selected by the Northwest RSDP community-University governing board through a competitive process. In 2020, the Northwest RSDP is also connecting communities to applied research opportunities of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment. More information on these opportunities can be found at this website.

    Examples of projects recently supported by the Northwest RSDP include development of a master plan for reuse of an historic auditorium building in Thief River Falls, research on strategies to adapt to significant growth in ice fishing on Lake of the Woods, and support for community engagement with the traveling We Are Water MN exhibit.

    For more examples of projects supported by the Northwest RSDP, visit z.umn.edu/RSDPstorymap.

     For more information on RSDP, visit RSDP.umn.edu.

University of Minnesota Extension is an equal opportunity educator and employer.