News Release

U of M Crookston Senior Lisa Gentele to Receive Student Conservationist and Scholarship Award from Soil and Water Conservation Society; Award Presentation Scheduled for April 2010

By ltollefs on
Friday, February 5, 2010

Gentele_Lisa 0132.jpgSeven times in the last nine years a University of Minnesota Crookston student has been awarded the Student Conservationist and Scholarship Award from the Minnesota Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. Carrying on this outstanding tradition, Senior Lisa Gentele, Omaha, Neb., a natural resources management major at the U of M Crookston, is set to receive the prestigious award for 2010.

The award, presented in April at the professional organization's annual meeting, consists of a plaque and a $500 cash award. Last year's recipient was Holly Sandberg, a 2009 graduate of the U of M, Crookston, who is currently a park ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Alaska. Sandberg was the co-recipient with Junior Sheila Carleton, Baxter, Minn., who is currently double majoring in natural resources and agronomy.

According to Gentele, "The Soil and Water Conservation Society stands apart from many professional organizations in my eye in that it emphasizes a more integrated approach to living conditions for both urban residents and rural land owners.  Working for both The Nature Conservancy and Crookston's Park Department in the past has taught me many important ethics about the land, how we chose to manage it, and also how to work with everyone from politicians to local people.   My priority right now is a student but it's easy to look past education and into the working field where real life obstacles can be overcome and environmental changes can benefit everyone, now and in the future."

 Along with completing her degree at the U of M Crookston in May of 2010, Gentele is the student sustainability assistant in the Center for Sustainability and coordinates student activities in connection with the Otter Tail Energy Challenge grant.  

"One of my areas of responsibility is to increase awareness about our current energy consumption and compare it to what we could save and the dollar amount associated with that savings," according to Gentele. "We've set a high goal on the Crookston campus to become climate neutral in the next 20 years by cutting carbon emissions related to energy consumption and considering alternative energy sources such as  wind, geothermal, biomass, biodigestion, and solar."

"After graduation Lisa plans to start a career in land, water, or energy management to give her an opportunity to practice her conservation passion," according to Dan Svedarsky, Ph.D., one of Gentele's professors and director of the Center for Sustainability on the Crookston campus. "We're so proud of Lisa's enthusiasm and leadership here on campus and for continuing the award-winning tradition of our conservation students." Gentele also serves as vice president of the Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society at the U of M Crookston.

The Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization, founded in 1943, that serves as an advocate for conservation professionals and for science-based conservation practice, programs, and policy. To learn more about the work of the Minnesota Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society, visit

Today the University of Minnesota Crookston delivers more than 25 bachelor's degree programs and 50 concentrations, including several online degrees, in agriculture and natural resources; arts, humanities and social sciences; business; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of about 1,300 undergraduates, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit