Colleen Foehrenbacher, executive director of Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, requested a letter of support for outdoor schools for all Minnesota students at the board’s October 10 meeting.
Foehrenbacher explained they are hoping to get a bill through during the next legislative session to establish a statewide grant program to support accredited overnight outdoor educational experiences administered by the Department of Natural Resources for fourth to eighth grade students. Classes would be aligned to state academic standards. Social/emotional learning is also to be provided.
Foehrenbacher suggested the outdoors is good for physical and mental health. There are four other accredited environmental learning centers in the state including Osprey Wilds, Deep Portage, Long Lake and Wolf Ridge.
Costs are kept low by subsidizing through grants and individual giving at these centers. They are seeking this grant program to cover all fees for the outdoor program. Similar programs have been practiced successfully in Oregon, Washington and Maine.
A motion to provide the letter of support for “Outdoor School for All Minnesota” was approved. Commissioner Mitch Lentz voted no. He explained he felt it will be a great program but wanted all Fillmore County schools to participate in the program. Foehrenbacher had said about 80% of the schools were participating in overnight programs. She reported after the meeting that Lanesboro, Mabel-Canton and Rushford-Peterson have been doing overnight trips for years. Fillmore Central did overnight trips for 12 years and stopped during the COVID pandemic. Kingsland has never participated in overnight trips.
A resolution supporting Eagle Bluff in its pursuit of legislation to provide an opportunity for all Minnesota students to attend accredited overnight outdoor school was unanimously adopted.
Other Business in Brief
• Social services requested and received approval of the CREST agreement (Collaborative, Resources, Education, Services, and Technology). There is no cost to Fillmore County. This is an adult mental health initiative.
• Sheriff John DeGeorge requested and received approval to purchase Lexipol Policy Management for the jail. The management organization constantly reviews policy and policy manuals to keep them up to date. The department has over 1,000 policies. When a policy is updated, it goes to each employee who reads it and acknowledges the update. There is a one-time fee of $2,881.50. County Administrator Bobbie Hillery noted Lexipol is also used by the attorney’s office.
• Samantha Drogemuller was promoted from part-time to full-time dispatcher, effective October 14.
• An access permit was approved for Adam and Tonya Tollefsrud, section 21 of Canton Township for access to CR 23. The property was recently purchased and there is no current access.
• An access permit was approved for Nathan and Bonnie Rindels, section 4 of Bristol Township for a field access to CSAH 20.
• Hemp Registration for on-sale was approved for High Court Pub in Lanesboro. All ordinance requirements have been met.
• Hemp Registration for off-sale was approved for Granny’s Liquor in Lanesboro. All ordinance requirements have been met.
• The county board will meet next on October 24.