Camp Ripley: Camp Ripley Environmental Team welcomes new leadership
CAMP RIPLEY--Environmental Program veteran Jay Brezinka turned over the reins of the Camp Ripley Conservation Team to Josh Pennington in January. The change came as Brezinka assumed the role of State Environmental Program Manager following the re...
CAMP RIPLEY-Environmental Program veteran Jay Brezinka turned over the reins of the Camp Ripley Conservation Team to Josh Pennington in January.
The change came as Brezinka assumed the role of State Environmental Program Manager following the retirement of Marty Skoglund in late 2016.
"There was a lot of shifting around, but we have great people to work with," said Brezinka.
Military change-of-command ceremonies are the symbolic passing of the unit's colors from the current commander to the next. It symbolizes the transfer of authority and the acceptance of responsibility from one commander to his or her successor.
This ceremony physically incorporates the passing of the unit's flag, a rally point, in a deliberate hand-off of accountability. For service members, the transfer of the colors embodies the traditions of the unit, signifying the continuity of accomplishment of the mission and welfare of the unit members.
For Pennington, the transfer of authority for the environmental stewardship of a 53,000-acre training facility with over 300 species of wildlife, more than 600 species of plant life, multiple fish and game programs, and community engagement throughout central Minnesota cannot easily be summed up in a symbolic gesture.
"It's a lot to take on, but the thrill is in the challenge," said Pennington
Pennington's experience with the Minnesota National Guard began in 2013 when he joined the team as a sustainability manager working with the Environmental Compliance Team, a part of the Facilities Management Office on Camp Ripley. His time with FMO put him on projects like the development of a 60 acre solar array; a collaboration between Minnesota Power and The Minnesota National Guard in 2016.
Camp Ripley's environmental stewardship is managed by two teams operating as an organic part of the installation and as part of the Minnesota National Guard. The national recognition these teams have earned has helped make Camp Ripley the template for the coexistence of training use and environmental stewardships for other installations across the nation.
"We are not looking to make big changes, things have been very successful here, we just hope to continue to raise the bar of the standards," added Pennington.
Pennington's education and background in natural resource management will help sustain the great achievements of the Camp Ripley team while they work to continually improving environmental stewardship through the achievement of exceeding the requirements for environmental compliance and fostering community support through environmental awareness.