In March 2016, Winona County community members came together on the Winona State University campus for a three-day deliberative forum to study and discuss changes in the area’s climate and weather. Participants in the Dialogue developed a community-based response outlining concerns, opportunities and actions to address challenges the community faces. The Winona Climate Dialogue featured a Citizen's Jury of 18 randomly selected but demographically balanced individuals from the county. Participants had access to resources and experts to produce their own independent recommendations that respond to Winona County’s needs, priorities, values and ambitions.
In conjunction with the 2016 Dialogue, students at Winona Senior High School participated in a student Dialogue in February 2016 before the community Dialogue took place. Students heard from local experts and discussed their own priorities and concerns around climate and weather issues.
The second community event convened on June 22 and 23, 2018. Building upon the first event's recommendations, this event honed in on Winona County's energy future. This two-day Climate Dialogue engaged a group of 21 community members selected to represent the demographics of Winona County. 14 participants were randomly selected from a pool of Winona County residents to reflect the demographic makeup of the county in terms of age, gender, education, political affiliation, and more. 7 participants were chosen to represent public officials and others involved in Winona County energy issues. Over the two days, participants studied the energy system in detail, assessed criteria for evaluating the energy system, identified challenges and opportunities related to the energy system in Winona County, and created action plans to help address challenges and realize opportunities.
Our continued engagement in Winona County will focus on partnerships built throughout this process, and furthering community-identified needs.