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Board of Directors

Bob Backman, Moorhead Term 2014-2017

Bob thinks most of the problems humans face are intertwined and connected. He believes we spend too much energy on fixing symptoms instead of the root problems. He has worked in the nonprofit arena most of his working career with positions in communication, health promotion, PR, marketing and most recently as Executive Director of a river advocacy group. Along with his wife they also owned and operated an urban feed store specializing in bird feeding. Through well designed education and hands on experiences he feels we can help our youth to grow up and not make the same mistakes of the current generation. When in Moorhead he volunteers for a community garden, River Keepers and a homeless shelter.  Half of his time he spends in the woods of Becker County where he has just added a ground source heat pump system to his cabin. He is a licensed Coats Guard Master (captain) and has a BA in Sociology from Moorhead State University Minnesota and a MS in Education from Indiana University.   

Grace Brogan, Bemidji Term 2014-2017

Grace Brogan is inspired by place and determined to cultivate healthy, just communities, food systems, and environments. Since 2003, Grace has engaged in the fields of nonprofit program management, environmental & arts education, sustainable farming, and the written word, through the lens of bringing folks together via the curious mind of a student and attention to one's part in a complicated system of relationships. 

She received her BA in Studio Art and English while studying environmental science, art, and politics, followed by an MS in sustainable food systems and creative writing. Her interest in values-based economies and transparent supply chains led to her first season of organic farming in 2007 and an immersion in the programming and operations of a community-based educational nonprofit committed to teaching traditional crafts in 2008. She's been combining these passions ever since. Grace currently works to connect producers with innovative market channels and citizens with healthy food and handmade goods, using education and communication as tools of action.
Heidi Durnd, Moorhead Term 2014-2017
I am a member of the Minnesota State Community and Technical College faculty.  I have been teaching sociology for 13 years.  I am also serving my first term on the Moorhead City Council.  I have a strong interest in water-related issues such as phosphorus and nitrogen pollution, flood mitigation, and water security to name a few.
I am married to Chad Durand, a 4th grade teacher in Moorhead.  We have two sons Carson and Cullen and a crazy Springer Spaniel named Izzy.  When I find some free time, I enjoy reading and working outdoors.

Kristin Eggerling, Hallock Term 2013-2015

Kristin works as a freelance writer from her home in Hallock. She has a B.A. in Sociology from Augsburg College and a M.A. in Sociology from the University of Manitoba. Kristin serves on the Conservation Minnesota Voter Center Board and writes a blog for its website. She has worked in the public health field and has been involved with watershed education work in the Red River Valley. She formerly worked at the Minnesota Senate as the administrator of the Environment and Natural Resources and Agriculture Budget Committee. She has also served on the Citizen's Advisory Committee of the LCMR (Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources) and is the chair of the Hallock Library Board, in addition to sitting on the Northwest Minnesota Foundation Board of Directors.

Abby Gold, Moorhead Term 2013-2015

Abby Gold is currently the Nutrition and Wellness Extension Specialist at the University of Minnesota Extension and the North Dakota State University Extension Service. She has a B.S. in Human Nutrition from University of Massachusetts, a M.P.H in Nutrition from University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in Communication from North Dakota State University. Abby thinks NWRSDP makes a difference because it pursues issues and topics of sustainability that cover all aspects of our civil society from water to air to land to food to health. NWRSDP is indeed a learning and outreach organization that engages the community in action by infusing resources, knowledge, and ideas in the pursuit of building a more sustainable society.

Gail Larson, Newfolden Term 2014-2017

Bio Needed

Colleen MacRae, Crookston Term 2014-2017

Bio Needed

Barbara Muesing, Fosston Term 2013-2015

Barbara Muesing and her husband Chuck Casey live north of Lengby Mn in the log home that her parents build from oak trees off their land. The home is adjacent to the home place where Barbara grew up and graduated from Fosston High School

After college, Barbara worked for many years with the University of Minnesota Extension Service, including as district director in NW Mn. In 1994, she was part of the task force to establish the NW Mn Initiative Fund, now the NW Mn Foundation, and she served as a Charter Board member. She also served on the committee to develop and launch the Emerging Leadership Program in NW MN.

Volunteer service is important to Barbara. In addition to serving on the NW Regional Sustainable Development Board, she serves on the Boards of Essentia Health Fosston, the Hospital Foundation, Fosston Area Community Fund, Polk-Norman-Mahnomen Community Health. She is past President of the Mn Rural Health Association and Health Care Auxiliary of Mn.

Michele Schermann, St Paul Term 2013-2015

Michele Schermann, a public health nurse researcher and educator, works at the intersection of human health, agricultural safety and natural resource management, with a special focus on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and preparing growers for food safety audits. Skilled in qualitative research methods, Michele translates her research findings into innovative, targeted health communication for a variety of audiences. Michele's research interests include the agricultural practices of new American immigrants; disease prevention and control; and the creation of multilingual health education media. She has been described as "an excellent connector of people, communities, ideas, and resources" and has extensive project management experience over a 15-year career at the University of Minnesota.

Katy Nannenga, Crookston Term 2013-2016

Assistant Professor Katy Nannenga has taught biology and environmental science courses at the University of Minnesota Crookston since 2008, although while mentoring undergraduate students in research projects that address environmental science and sustainability.  Presently, her undergraduate team is working on evaluating land management practices for urban and agricultural land uses which can maintain quality/yields while reducing the impact on the environment.  In addition, her team is also focused on methods to mitigate environmental damage caused by previous land management practices.  Katy earning a B.S. in Biology from the University of North Dakota and completed a Ph.D. in Environmental Soil Science from Purdue University, IN.  Her Ph.D. work focused on utilizing plants to clean contaminated environments.


Carston Thomas, Moorhead Term 2014-2017


Carsten Thomas is an Organic Farmer from Moorhead, Minnesota.   Carsten is a passionate advocate for environmental sustainability, animal stewardship, and promoting the local food movement.  Through this movement he contributes to supporting sustainable food system for future generations.  Currently he is working to complete his degree in farm business management and farming on his 5th generation family owned farm.  

Michael Triplett, White Earth Term 2014-2016

Michael Triplett has 37 years of community and economic development experience working for tribal governments, municipalities, regional development organizations in the Southwest and Upper Midwest.  Currently, he is an economic development planner with the White Earth Nation based in White Earth, Minnesota and most recently has been guiding the tribal efforts in renewable energy ventures - in  wind, solar, biomass.   He was one of the original members of the NW (MN) Clean Energy Resource Team.  He has a B.S. from Colorado State University in Social Sciences and completed graduate coursework from Iowa State University in Urban and Regional Planning.

Amber Suchy, Student Board Memeber

Amber Suchy is working on her B.S. in both biology and environmental science with a minor in chemistry. She is also doing research with green house gases at the University of Minnesota Crookston. She grew up on a beef and dairy farm and wants to use her experience from this and what she has learned through her degree in order to help others learn sustainability. She wants to help bridge the gap between the different aspects of the community and the environment in order to make a safer, more sustainable world.

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