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Words from the President


I have been writing these "words" for some time now - maybe even five years or so. That would be 20 times. Wow. Although many of them have rambled it has been my privilege to share with you random thoughts, ecological tidbits, quotes, poems and other musings of environmental ethics. After all, the work we do is deep in spirit.

The larger adventure of restoration started for me in 1970. Yes, it was 48 years ago that I planted my first prairie on Bruce Dayton's property near Long Lake. It is still there today, in the middle of Woodrill, the property he so generously donated to all Minnesotans. That first tiny greenhouse was actually a passage into a world of native plants that had been largely lost during the preceding century. Millions of acres of prairies, wetlands and woodlands were gone by then and many more have been irrevocably changed since. Makes me wonder if although we win some battles, we are actually losing the war. Maybe but my personal belief has always been that, regardless, you just have to get up every day to do the best that you can. And I believe that the effort has made a difference.

I am not at all certain of the number of projects that have been completed since 1970, or the number of acres planted, or plants produced, or pollinators, songbirds, frogs or everything. And not just by PRI but by other companies, volunteer groups, home owners, corporations, farmers, school kids and their passionate teachers and of course the many dedicated public employees. It has become a still relatively small but highly dedicated army and it continues to grow. After all, there may not be better, more ratifying work that can be done and it has truly been my privilege to be a small part of this vast and critical effort.

So as you might now guess, I will be leaving my post as the president of PRI. I am 71 now and have decided it is time for new leadership. Jeff West, our manager from Scandia, will be moving in to take the presidential reins. He is young, and bright and capable and will have the consistent support of Mike Evenocheck, Mike Hiltner and the rest of our seasoned managers to rely on. And of course, I will still be hanging around to make inappropriate jokes and challenge them to think out of the box and find ways to always strive for the best outcomes possible. I suspect that my time at PRI will be as much as ever. There is still so much to do.

So come by to see us and enjoy the prairie. It is most beautiful today on this day of the solstice. Thanks also for believing. You have been our strength.

With my most sincere gratitude,

Ron Bowen
PRI President

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