With support from a Central CERT Seed Grant, the Band hired paleBluedot LLC, a Maplewood-based climate and renewable energy consultancy, to help develop and tailor the guidance, policies, and ordinances over the past year to fit the community. Staff from five tribal government departments and members of the Leech Lake Green Team contributed to the project, as well.
“The people we had on the team were great. As much as they could dedicate their time, they did,” Toft said.
Regular presentations made during monthly Green Team Meetings helped inform the process of developing the guidance documents and contributed outside perspectives to the work.
“With our diverse group, we were able to gain perspective in a way from the community,” Toft said. “The reaction to date from the staff [and] community members has been very positive and supportive.”
While the team was limited in both capacity and in-person outreach activities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and received pushback from a few devil’s advocates along the way, they were not deterred.
“Plan for naysayers and you will have an educated rebuttal to most of their concerns,” Toft advised. “This moves your project forward instead of being stalled or worse stopped.”
Toft noted how members of the project team stepped up to defend their work in light of both hard questions and misinformation, which ultimately created a stronger project.