Congratulations to the first round of winners in our Earth Defenders social contest. Check out some of their inspiring stories below:

Darcy Peyton of St. Paul Park

Playing Her Part: I’m a super human recycler and trach picker-upper. I jump at every chance to get outside. I bring a bag and clean up everything I see on the ground. I feel like my small efforts are defending the earth from pollution.

Jennifer Keck of Brainerd

Playing Her Part: I volunteer as a citizen water monitor to assist Minnesota Pollution Control Agency with data collection from local water ways. We take samples from streams and check the clarity and recreational suitability of the water as well as changes in temperature and appearance over time.

Lori Hinrichsen of St. Cloud

Playing Her Part: We have a rural property that is an official certified wildlife habitat. No herbicides, or pesticides are used in our various pollinator friendly gardens. Bird feeders are stocked throughout the year and we compost to create soil to supplement the gardens.

Katie Regenscheid of Oakdale

Playing Her Part: My kids and I successfully raised and released over 50 Monarch butterflies through the summer. This year, I added more varies of milkweed and a new species of bee to release when it warms up. I hope to get our yard certified as a pollinator stop next year.

Destiny Mankowski of Brainerd

Playing Her Part: I have worked with endangered species, banding birds of prey for study and led educational programs for youth camps and adults. I am being trained in four interpretive naturalist programs aimed at teaching kids about the environment and plan to use these trainings for the rest of my life to recruit new generations of environmental stewards.

Ashely Marx of Baxter

Playing Her Part: I actively participate in several citizen science projects throughout the state ranging from monitoring water quality on select streams to identifying local species and recording where they were found. I recently wrote a freelance article for a local magazine regarding my experience with the Citizen Water Monitoring Program to shed some light on what this program does.

 A big thank you to this round of winners for playing their part for a better Minnesota! Are you an Earth Defender? Head on over to the Earth Defenders contest page and tell us what you’re doing to protect our environment for the chance to win a Minnesota United FC prize pack.