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Gathering Series

Once again, we are bringing you vital information about the environmental issues in our state as well as the planet. With the help of some amazing speakers, we will learn and discuss legislation and the next Farm Bill, Microplastics in the Great Lakes, and the pollutants from Mining. Please register for each event (they are all free) and share with your congregations and friends.

January 12, 7:00-8:00 pm CST 

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Land Stewardship Project will present the 2023 Farm Bill, which is federal legislation package started in the 1930s with the goal of keeping food prices fair for farmers and consumers, ensuring food supplies would meet demand, and protect our natural resources. 

The current bipartisan bill was enacted in 2018 and expires in 2023. With almost 1,000 pages, this bill covers health care, food concerns, climate change, and corporate accountability and responsibility. Universities are also affected by this bill through research funding on topics involving agriculture, sustainable practices, and innovation.  

Presenter, Sarah Goldman has a degree in environmental studies from Carleton College and has worked extensively in food and farm policy. She mostly recently worked as a senior research program coordinator for the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, where, among other things, she was the lead author of the report, “Essential and in Crisis: A Review of the Public Health Threats Facing Farmworkers in the U.S.” She also led a team of researchers in investigating policy that supports sustainable livestock production and worked for the National Farm to School Network, the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative, and Showing Up for Racial Justice Baltimore. 

February 9, 7:00-8:00 pm CST 

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Microplastics in the Great Lakes is an emerging water quality issue that has a huge potential of impacting human health and the aquatic environment. It has been estimated that microplastics are consumed by the US population at a rate of 5 grams per week; this is the weight of a credit card. Microplastics are found in our food, water, air, and even beer along the Great Lakes. Fish are ingesting microplastic that cause them to starve and allow microplastics to move up the food chain. Humans are ingesting plastics made from endocrine disruptor chemicals. Over 22 million pounds of plastic enter the Great Lakes every year and Lake Michigan is the #1 source. The local, state, and federal agencies and the International Joint Commission are not currently engaged in the microplastic water quality impacts. Microplastics is an emerging water quality problem in the Great Lakes and affects our quality of life. 

Presenter Art Hirsch is a former environmental consultant with over 30 years of experience. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, and spends his summers in Pentwater Michigan. He is originally from Michigan where he received his Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University and a Master of Science degree from the University of Colorado. His expertise is in the areas of water quality, storm water management, sustainability, climate change, and environmental impact assessments. He has been an activist with the Climate Reality Project for over 3 years and became a West Michigan Chapter Leader in 2021. He is currently working on the Enbridge Line 5 Shutdown, GHG reductions associated with transportation, oil and gas operations in Colorado, and microplastics pollution in the Great Lakes. 

Host Jane Dow, co-chair of Mankato Zero Waste and member of Beyond Plastics Mankato Area and Sierra Club Coalition to Reduce Plastic, has taken courses from Bennington College on plastic pollution and is working to implement legislation to reduce single use plastic on a local and state level. 

March 9, 7:00-8:00 pm CST 

Register to receive the zoom link: 

Mining pollutants have been on the forefront of Minnesota’s environmental conversations for many years. The effects on our water, habitats, and health are well documented. However, the push for copper-nickel is an urgent concern, especially from the PolyMet mine.

Water Legacy organization is working diligently on the front lines and in the courts to stop these mining practices that will increase toxic runoff into rivers and streams, which flow into tribal lands, farm lands, lakes, and the entirety of the Minnesota watershed.

Advocacy Director and Counsel Paula Maccabee, is an attorney who has worked with non-profits to protect Minnesota’s water resource and the many lives that rely on clean water and healthy soil. She has been diligently working to reverse permits granted to PolyMet Mining and hold them accountable for their mining practices. 

The 2023 Outdoor Ministry Schedule Will Launch in Just a Few More Weeks!

We are busy putting the final touches on the 2023 Schedule of Events! While some logistics are still in progress, we want to give you a sneak peek so you can mark your calendars.

  • March 9, 7:00-8:00 pm CST Zoom Gathering | Toxic Mining Pollutants with Water Legacy (intergenerational) Registration Open Now
  • April 28-30 | Spring Conference Youth Event (Middle and High School)
  • May 19-21 | Eco-Justice Retreat (adults 19+)
  • July 5-7 | Middle School Summer Camp (going into 5th grade-8th grade)
  • July 21-28 | High School Immersion Trip to Washington D.C. (going into 9th-graduating 12th grade) Registration is open now through January 31st

Registration Open Now Through Jan 21

For more information and to register go to:

Events for December 2022 – United Church of Christ Minnesota Conference

  • August 4-6 | Family Camp Sponsored by the MN Conference (intergenerational)
  • September 8-10 | Women’s Retreat (adults 19+)
  • September 22-24 | Women’s Wilderness Retreat (adults 19+)
  • September 29-October 1 | Queer Walk Retreat (adults 19+)
  • October 6-8 | Fall Conference Youth Event (Middle and High School)

Be on the lookout for informational flyers and emails starting in January!

Does Your Church Have an Eco-Justice Team? Or Maybe You Want to Create a Team?

Thank you to those teams who have contacted me. I would love to hear from more of you, even if you are a group of one; or maybe wanting to know how to get a group started.

If you have a team that is working on planet health, whether it be soil, water, recycling, advocacy, etc., we would like to hear from you. Even if your team is one person, we would like to know who you are, where you are, what you are currently doing, and what you like to do. The more we know, the better we can serve your team and connect you with other churches who may be doing similar things.

Please contact Rev. Sheri Nelson at with contact information.

Did You Know?

Over 8 million metric tons of plastic enters the ocean every year! It enters all watersheds and soil, which then end up in animals, including humans. And “recyclable” plastics may not be recycled like we hope.

Plastic pollution in the ocean: data, facts, consequences (

A Guide to Plastic in the Ocean (


Book: Celtic Inspirations: Essential Meditations and Texts by Lyn Webster Wilde


Organization: Water Legacy: Protecting Minnesota’s Life-Giving Waters WaterLegacy - WaterLegacy


Articles: Climate solutions for Great Lakes grid include better planning, transmission (

Rev. Sheri Nelson

Director of Outdoor Ministry

122 W Franklin Ave

Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 871-0359

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