Jeff Ledermann served in the Conservation Corps Minnesota from 1988-89, when it was part of the Department of Natural Resources. Working primarily on whitetail deer studies at the DNR Farmland Wildlife Research Station in Madelia, Ledermann assisted with research design, collecting and analyzing data, and writing research reports.
He describes his Corps experience as his first encounter working with “real” science and a great opportunity to meet and work with interesting people from the DNR.
Ledermann now works as Environmental and Outdoor Education Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Education. He helps teachers and administrators integrate environment and outdoor education into curriculum for grades 7 to 12.
He also heads Minnesota’s involvement in the national Green Ribbon Schools effort to recognize schools that are promoting a healthy and environmentally-friendly learning environment. Ledermann says of his Corps experience: “It gave me the confidence to know that I could succeed in a professional position, and it confirmed my passion for natural resources and the environment.”
Here is the full text of his interview:
When were you in the Corps, year and program?
1988-89, Minnesota Conservation Corps - DNR
Where did you work?
DNR Farmland Wildlife Research Station, Madelia, MN
What kind of work did you do?
I served as a wildlife research assistant, primarily working on whitetail deer studies. My work included assisting with research design, collecting and analyzing data, and writing research reports.
Were there any particularly memorable or challenging experiences?
It was my first experience working on “real” science, and I was excited to know I was contributing to a larger body of work that was helping manage Minnesota’s wildlife. It was also a great chance to learn more about the DNR and meet some really neat and interesting people. The most interesting field story was when we were called out to investigate a deer that exhibited hermaphroditic traits, and I ended up getting an article published about it an outdoor magazine. When we weren’t working, we also had lots of fun hunting and fishing all over Watonwan County. With the limited MCC wages, it also helped reduce our food budgets!
What has been the most personally meaningful part of the experience?
My MCC experience was my first professional job away from home on my own. It gave me the confidence to know that I could succeed in a professional position and it confirmed my passion for natural resources and the environment.
Did your experience shape your current career/life in any way?
The MCC opportunity came at a time for me when I had recently graduated from college and was really struggling to find a job. It provided me with invaluable experience that helped me get started in the environmental and natural resources field. For twenty years I have been working in various positions for the State of Minnesota to educate residents to protect the environment and natural resources, including coordinating the State’s plan for environmental education and founding the Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair. My interest in the environment and natural resources also extends into my personal life, including trying to live more sustainably and introducing kids to the outdoors through a group I started called Fishing Daughters Club.
What is your current position?
I am currently the Environmental and Outdoor Education Coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Education.
What do you do?
My current position is focused on helping teachers and administrators integrate environment and outdoor education into grades 7-12. I am also heading up Minnesota’s involvement in the national Green Ribbon Schools effort to recognize schools that are taking steps to green their facilities, create a healthy school environment and increase environmental and sustainable literacy.