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SDRC Undergoes Changes

December 1, 2010

The South Dakota Resources Coalition has undergone changes since this summer.

Office Move: The SDRC office has moved out of its location in the basement of Old Sanctuary in Brookings to the basement of SDRC’s secretary-treasurer Lawrence Novotny’s home. Dennis Bielfeldt, owner of Old Sanctuary and a Lutheran pastor, has established an Institute of Lutheran Theology. Since space was needed for the Institute, SDRC was asked to vacate. An alternate location was offered for the office but commuting distance was a problem for Novotny. After the retirement of SDRC’s administrative assistant Sue Grant in 2009, Novotny has been the only person using the office. With the technology of electronic communications, other SDRC board members have been working out of their homes. Novotny offered the use of his basement for free for the SDRC office. The move was made in mid-July. This location is temporary until SDRC hires an executive director. Then the board will look for office space.

Board Retreat: The SDRC board gathered for a day-long retreat on September 18 at The Depot in Madison. Sharon Chontos of Sage Project Consultants of Sioux Falls facilitated the retreat, which was funded by a grant from the SD Conservation Fund.

The goal of the retreat was to determine a future direction for SDRC. Each board member listed SDRC strengths, SDRC shortcomings, and the challenges facing SDRC. The strengths of SDRC were the Eco Forum newsletter, the Esther Edie environmental scholarship, an attractive webpage, the hosting of informative conferences dealing with environmental issues (the last one was the small scale local energy development conference held in Brookings in October 2009), a long history of environmental victories in the past, and 501(c)3 non-profit status.

The board discussed the pros and cons of four different options of restructuring. The vote split between expanding and downsizing SDRC. The final decision was to do further planning and “retrench” in the interim. The board decided to focus on these issues:

  • Esther Edie environmental scholarship: Besides honoring the legacy of SDRC’s founder, the scholarship provides support for our future environmental leaders.
  • SD Resource Award banquet which not only recognizes the dedicated work of concerned South Dakotans but also serves as a fundraising mechanism for the Edie scholarship.
  • Organize a fundraising campaign for the scholarship endowment.
  • Eco Forum: move from a bimonthly newsletter to a quarterly newsletter (due to loss of paid staff and current dependence on volunteers to do the writing and editing).
  • Communicate more with our membership through e-mail and the website. A brief telephone survey will be conducted with every membership renewal.
  • Continue our lobbying presence during the legislative session.
  • Continue the planning process resulting from the retreat mainly to explore different operating structures and to obtain funding to hire staff.

Annual Meeting: SDRC held its annual business meeting on October 16 at The Depot in Madison. The terms of directors Jeanne Koster of Watertown and Lois Haertel of Bruce expired. Both directors decided not to renew their 2-year terms. Koster volunteered to research and write articles for Eco Forum. Jim Thompson of Colman was elected as a new board member (see separate bio).

Lawrence Novotny of Brookings was re-elected secretary-treasurer.

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