The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota announced today the hiring of Neal Feeken as its first-ever renewable energy coordinator. Feeken will help develop on-the-ground projects that demonstrate the potential of bioenergy to benefit natural grasslands and local economies, as well as for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“We are delighted and privileged to have Neal join our staff,” said Michael Pressman, the Conservancy’s director of protection in Minnesota. “His background, enthusiasm and strategic thinking will bring a unique perspective and expertise to this important area of conservation.”
Feeken brings eight years of conservation experience in Minnesota. He previously was assistant regional director for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in Minneapolis, where he focused on conservation of prairies and the Upper Mississippi River watershed. Feeken also worked as manager for the Watonwan and Chisago Soil and Water Conservation Districts where he helped landowners to implement conservation practices on agricultural lands.
Feeken said that renewable energy technologies have tremendous potential as a tool to mitigate climate change and to transform land uses that will ultimately result in more diverse and healthy landscapes. He will initially focus his work on the use of mixed prairie grasses to generate energy, as a tool to promote conservation of grasslands. Good examples of this are currently in operation in Shakopee and Morris, Minnesota.
“I am impressed by the Conservancy’s commitment to leadership within this rapidly developing industry,” Feeken said. “I look forward to working with our partners to maximize the ecological benefits offered by new bioenergy technologies.”
Feeken holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries management from South Dakota State University and a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Hamline University in St. Paul.
Feeken works out of the Conservancy’s Minneapolis office. He resides in Bloomington with his wife, Jennifer, and daughter, Anna.
In Minnesota, the Conservancy has helped conserve more than 350,000 acres since 1958. The Conservancy has 23,000 members in Minnesota and offices in Minneapolis, Cushing, Paynesville, Grand Rapids, Glyndon, Duluth, Karlstad, Mentor and Preston. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org/minnesota.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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