Protecting a natural legacy

Eden Prairie / Minnetonka, Minnesota
For the public good
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Letters to the editor of EP News - December 13, 2001

To the Editor:
It may have taken 2 1/2 years; but {Tuesday December 4th's] City Council Meeting and their approval to purchase the Birch Island Woods gave me a tremendous sense of accomplishment in being associated with hundreds of people who worked long hours and fought to keep this beautiful area as it should be - a natural and undeveloped habitat. My sincere thanks to all the Council Members, Bob Lambert, the core members of Friends of Birch Island Woods and the hundreds of people who contributed. I applaud each and every one of you!!!

Vicky Miller
Eden Prairie, MN


To the Editor,
Birch Island Woods is now protected due to the efforts, generosity and partnering of scores of volunteers, organizations and decision makers. We are grateful for each and every contribution. An irreplaceable natural resource will continue to thrive for future generations. The Birch Island Woods campaign is already affecting grass roots conservation efforts in Eagan, Duluth, Minnetonka and elsewhere and may lead to legislation that will make protecting Minnesota's public green spaces less troublesome.

As our group retools to help the City plan for the future of the Woods and Birch Island Park and to steward their valued natural, historic and recreational amenities, the following people, among many, deserve special recognition for their extraordinary efforts.

FRIENDS OF BIRCH ISLAND WOODS
Terry Picha family for enthusiasm and the benefit plant sale on their Heritage Farm; Cheral Tsuchiya for managing the Birch Island Woods Fund and a huge mailing list; Dave Spoor for our handsome website; Ned Hirschler for graphic designs and 6 editions of the BIW packet; Bea and Rick LaMonica for the silent auction; Karen & Bill Erickson (Shorewood), Robert Mavison, Larry Peterson, Kelly Landaeta, Kurt Lindberg and Minnesota Land Trust (Eden Prairie Fund) and scores of others for their generous donations; Greg Borrell for rock solid service in many areas; Steve Yasgar, Bob Krocak and John Murray for cheerleading and outreach; Gary Diamond and Dave Carlson (St. Louis Park) for SW LRT Bike Trail issues; Steve DeLapp (Lake Elmo) and Tom Casey (Mound) for ongoing perspective and political savvy

MINNETONKA FRIENDS
Katy Eagan-Benck and Maxine Dixon for outreach. Jerry and Mary Jo Bailey and Bob Ellingson for helping launch the Friends and Bob's political savvy.

CITY OFFICIALS
Eden Prairie City Council and Parks Director Bob Lambert for understanding the link between the woods and our future well being; Carl Jullie, Interim City Manager for returning and expediting the City's purchase of the woods; Don Uram, Director of Community Develpment, for clearly explaining complex, budgetary and revenue sharing processes; Chris Enger, former City Manager, for exploring land swap and service exchange options.

ORGANIZATIONS
The Eden Prairie News; Eden Wood Center / Dianne Reed; Eden Prairie Lions Club; Nine Mile Creek Watershed District; Sierra Club / Deb Alper and Sharon Stephens; MN River Valley Chapter, National Audubon Society / Jack Telfer (Edina); South Hennepin Adult Programs in Education / Rita Krocak;
Eden Prairie, Minnetonka and Hopkins Historical Societies.

LEGISLATORS
Representatives Tom Workman (Chanhassen) and Mark Holsten (Stillwater) for leading the charge and Betty Folliard (Hopkins), Margaret Kelliher (Mpls) and Alice Hausman (St. Paul) and Senators Ed Oliver (Deephaven) and Jane Krentz (Washington Co.).

For a more thorough account of the Birch Island Woods campaign, visit www.birchislandwoods.org/ on the web.


Geri Napuck Westermann, Jeff Strate
Members, Steering Committee, Friends of Birch Island Woods

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