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Land trust adds water to awards program

The Kinnickinnic River Land Trust presented its first-ever Corporate Citizenship Award this month to outstanding contributor Antea Group USA. Front row left to right: Antea Eastern Region Vice President Johnnie Ho, Antea Consultant of Marketing and Business Development Angie Dickson, Antea Vice President of Employee Services and Systems Rosanna Ouellette, Antea Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Raimond Baumans, Antea General Counsel Mark Vargo, and Antea CEO Gary Wisniewski. Back row l...

The River Falls-based Kinnickinnic River Land Trust gave its first-ever Corporate Citizenship Award June 30 and added to the mix -- a dip in the clean, clear, cold waters of the Kinni.

"Their contribution was above and beyond what we've seen in the past," said Interim KRLT Director Dale Jorgenson about the award recipient, Antea Group USA.

Antea is an international engineering and environmental consulting firm specializing in the fields of environment, infrastructure, urban planning and water. Its mission is to be a leading partner in the development and application of sustainable and integral solutions relating to the environment.

The company taps its broad technical expertise to solve client challenges and deliver sustainable results. Antea has 3,000 employees in 100 offices and experience on six continents serving clients that includes global energy companies, manufacturers, governments and municipalities.

Jorgenson said the award consisted of a framed certificate but was complemented by a guided ambassadorial kayak "float" on the lower Kinni from the dam to a point near County Road FF. The interim director says KRLT is trying some techniques aimed at helping its corporate members get to know the river.

"We're trying to roll in some ways to touch the water," he said, adding that the floats enable the land trust to promote the river in a positive way. "We organized a float trip and kind of a reception (for about a dozen people)."

He confirmed that Antea did not give a gift of cash but an in-kind contribution of a professional's time.

Local logs hours, shares expertise

Angie Dickson is an Antea consultant and one of its marketing and business development professionals. She lives in Hager City and knows how people in the region enjoy rivers.

Dickson and her husband enjoy kayaking and canoeing, and he is an avid fisherman. A strong tie to the area made her the ideal candidate to help KRLT.

Antea donated 70 hours of Dickson's time over a three-month period.

Dickson said about the efforts, "A lot of it was spent on education."

She brought experience from a five-year project in Jamaica, where she worked with a private client on sustainable land use. She said it also involved tourism, land use and conservation.

Her local efforts included looking at KRLT's membership and stakeholder groups to figure out how the land trust can better serve them plus keep educating people.

Chairman of KRLT's Development Committee Paul Goudreault, who used to work for Antea, said Dickson helped KRLT significantly during its major transition earlier this year when former director Nelson French took another position.

"Specifically, her work on our customer relationship management tool allowed us to launch a spring membership drive with less time and effort," Goudreault said, "and with better results."

He adds that her proficient knowledge of KRLT's internal accounting systems helped create a smooth transition.

Dickson said the float trip enabled her colleagues better understand the river and see firsthand the river their contribution benefits. She said the river trip was fun and treated a few of the kayakers to their first-ever float experience.

Goudreault said KRLT is exploring new ways it can establish relationships with businesses that share a common goal of protecting the river. His committee's challenge includes determining strategies to accomplish that while also generating much-needed financial support for the land trust.

Recent efforts include establishing levels of sponsorships and the benefits of each.

Goudreault said Antea's contribution in dollars exceeds $2,500. He said the float-trip idea aligned well with both entities' mission; in the future, it may be something KRLT does again.

He said the non-profit is open to ideas of how it can benefit its members and shareholders, as well as the customers and employees of its supporters.