Supervisor Spotlight: Sharon LeMay

Sharon LeMay, who has been a Supervisor with ACD since January 2017, moved around a lot growing up, from England to Florida, France, Illinois, Texas, Minnesota, and back to England before finally settling permanently in Minnesota. She did not grow up in a family that spent a lot of time outdoors, preferring instead to visit museums, historic landmarks, and read. In fact, one of her first memories of nature was quite traumatic for her as a young girl. While exploring a vacant, wooded city lot, Sharon looked down at her tan corduroy pants and found they were crawling with little spiders, which she only learned later were actually wood ticks! Up to that point, her only experiences with nature involved manicured city parks or sightseeing in short trips. Still, even though recreating in nature was not a core part of Sharon's childhood, she grew up to revere nature and spend much of her free time working and volunteering to be a good steward of the environment.

When she isn't working, Sharon volunteers with several local organizations, including the Master Naturalist program, the MN DNR, and Herbalists Without Borders. She enjoys her studies in homeopathy and making herbal medicines. She also loves hiking, yoga, biking, visiting historic sites and museums, and camping with her husband and dogs.

Sharon's favorite place in Minnesota is the North Shore of Lake Superior. She loves the remote and rugged coastlines of oceans, and the North Shore is as close as it gets to that in Minnesota. She enjoys walking the beaches looking for stones, hearing the waves, smelling the air, or simply sitting on a rock watching the water. In this peaceful place, she is able to reflect on nature as something valuable in its own right, rather than valuable only for what we can do in it or with it. Her love for the environment evolved over time as she came to witness the sacredness of nature, and it culminated in her choice to run for elected office on the ACD Board of Supervisors. 

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Staff Spotlight: Jamie Schurbon

Jamie Schurbon, ACD's Watershed Projects Manager, has lived a rich and varied life. He grew up in rural Iowa, earning his bachelor's degree from Iowa State University before moving to South Carolina to complete his Master's in Environmental Biology. He spent that time studying reptiles and amphibians in and around the Hell Hole Swamp. After school, he held a variety of short term natural resources jobs that took him from the mangroves of the Florida Keys, to the South Dakota Badlands, to coastal barrier islands. Ultimately, he decided to return to the Midwest and started his first full time position as a technician at the Anoka Conservation District.

Because of his diverse experiences with different environments, it makes sense that instead of a single favorite place in Minnesota, Jamie enjoys the variety, including the Boundary Waters lakes, southeast Minnesota trout streams, northern forests, and prairies. Locally, he especially enjoys spending time on and around the Rum River for its good fishing, quality habitat, and because it is a scenic and quiet getaway.

In his time away from work, Jamie enjoys coaching youth baseball, teaching confirmation classes at his church, playing softball, and working on home improvement projects. Some recent projects have included a kitchen renovation and a canoe rack. Jamie never finds himself short of new projects as one project always seems to turn into another. The old copper plumbing from a kitchen remodel, for example, was then crafted into jewelry.

Jamie indulges his love of the outdoors through hunting and fishing and is also a member of a few sporting organizations including the Isanti County Sportsman's Club, where outdoor enthusiasts both promote conservation and enjoy outdoor activities. Jamie, along with his wife and two sons (ages 11 and 14), have even raised ducks every summer for the last four years.

When asked to share a memorable story of local conservation efforts, Jamie had this to say:

"During my 20 years at ACD I've especially learned a lot from the "old timers" who grew up in the area. I find that today's conservation efforts are not all that different from the past, and these efforts do make a difference. For example, Andover resident, WWII veteran, and former teacher Lyle Bradley once described to me how he flew up and down the Rum River corridor to identify feedlots and dumps on the shoreline. The cleanup that followed made a difference and is a testament to what a committed person can do!"

To contact Jamie, reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (763) 434-2030 x210

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Celebrating ACD Staff and Supervisor’s Anniversaries Including 30 Years of Service for District Manager, Chris Lord

On June 7th, 2021, the Anoka Conservation District celebrated its 75th Anniversary serving Anoka County. Coincidentally, District Manager, Chris Lord, also celebrated an anniversary that same day – 30 years with the District. To honor this significant accomplishment, we sat down with Chris to look back at what inspired him to pursue a long career in Natural Resource Management and revisit some memories of his time working at ACD.

Emily Johnson, Outreach Coordinator: Thank you for taking the time to chat today, Chris! And thank you from all of us for your 30 years of dedicated service to ACD and Anoka County. Before we get into what drew you to the field of Natural Resource Management, can you tell us more about yourself and what sorts of things keep your mind occupied?

Chris Lord, District Manager: I'm a solitary soul. Fortunately for me, my beautiful wife is too. We enjoy solitude together, and often spend it puttering around the house with home improvements, working in the yard, and enjoying a good show. When I want to be solitary alone, I am drawn toward quandary solving. I love a good puzzle. Not the jigsaw kind. The logic kind. I think this is one reason I like working in the natural resources stewardship field. To understand the problem, you need to consider physics, chemistry, geology, hydrology, and biology and to address the problem you need to layer in politics, sociology, economics, psychology, and diplomacy. On a simpler level, give me a good killer Sudoku with a ridiculous set of rules and I'll be content solving it for the better part of an hour.

Johnson: Managing our natural resources can certainly be a puzzle at times with many interconnected factors to consider. It's a good thing you thrive when solving complex problems! I understand you grew up in Blaine; can you share some of your favorite memories of your childhood growing up in Anoka County?

Lord: I grew up in a neighborhood in northern Blaine with many kids in every house. We all belonged to multiple crews depending on interests, and as our interests ebbed and flowed, so did our allegiances. One contingent of kids to which I belonged spent many of our summer days out in the woods, wetlands, and fields. We'd build and use BMX and motocross tracks, build forts, transplant trees to our yards, and explore. On one outing we discovered that cattail seed heads when full ripe could be turned into an enduring cloud of downy fluff. We proceeded to release every seed in the swamp until the entire crusted over swamp was four to five feet deep in downy whiteness. This set the stage for the most unique game of tag I'd ever be involved in. Despite it being broad daylight, intermittently we were unable to see two feet in front of our faces due to the calamity of seed and had to play mostly by sound. There were some collisions. On one occasion, we decided to clean up our daytime retreat and so traipsed out to the woods with garbage bags in hand. We returned with what seemed to us to be a ton of trash and were thereafter dubbed the Swamp Dusters; a moniker not likely to strike fear in the hearts of the other neighborhood crews, but we kept it nonetheless. The woods, fields, and wetlands that were our stomping grounds are now the Majestic Oaks Golf Course south nine.

Johnson: Like many of us in the natural resource and stewardship field, it sounds like you grew up with a deep love and reverence for our natural world. When you think of your connection to nature and our natural resources today, what do you think of?

Lord: For me, the best part of nature are the quite places that make the worries of life fade into oblivion. The movement of leaves in treetops giving voice to the wind, the layers of aroma hinting at the often unseen players in the landscape, the darting action of little critters seen only in the periphery; these are the distractions and attractions that connect me to nature and make possible exploration all while sitting motionless, not making a sound.

Johnson: It certainly makes sense why you've dedicated your life in service to our natural resources! Can you tell us about a lasting memory you have of your career in natural resources and your time working with ACD?

Lord: The memories that stand out most clearly are the times things didn't go well. In my early twenties, I offended a public official by repeating a question in a public forum after she had just tried to dodge it. That simple act of political tone-deafness had repercussions that extended for many years. A resident threatened to throw me in a wood chipper because I undiplomatically pointed out that he shouldn't have built his pole building in a wetland and was consequentially prohibited from creating a wide driveway all the way around it. Another landowner seeking a favorable wetland delineation asked what would happen if he dropped a hundred dollar bill. I assured him I'd return it to him. I once overheard a well-respected and well-compensated wetland expert explain to his new staff member in the field that because they were considered the experts, they could convince the local government staff and officials of anything because the locals didn't understand the science and would trust expert testimony. These memories, along with countless other experiences, did more to sharpen my diplomacy, political astuteness, customer service, communication, and ethical fortitude than did my successes or mastery of the sciences. Overall, the public is better served by civil servants with well-honed soft skills than those who talents are limited to technical proficiency.

Johnson: Your stories show that we often learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. While it's true we face many challenges in our line of work, what has kept you motivated all these years?

Lord: ACD has been a wonderful place to work on several levels. The natural resource base in the Anoka Sand Plain is interesting and unique and the land use varies from densely urban cityscapes to prehistorically pristine open space. The variety keeps things interesting and the people keep it enjoyable. While I've seen a lot of colleagues come and go over the decades, I can count on the lesser part of one hand the number that I wouldn't fully enjoy working with. The elected Board of Supervisors during my term at ACD has always, without exception, served to the best interest of the natural resources and residents without ever putting self-interest first. I find this extraordinary. The Board manages to provide an optimal balance of guidance and flexibility. This has allowed ACD staff to innovate extensively in our pursuit to fulfill ACD's objectives. None of it would have come together without partnering with other local government staff and residents. Working hand-in-hand with these cohorts in conservation is very gratifying.

Johnson: Thank you, Chris, for sharing your stories and thank you again for your continued service to Anoka County!


In this year of milestones, we want to recognize and thank the rest of our staff and supervisors who are also celebrating anniversaries with the District. The District has many things to celebrate, but the most important is the Staff and Board members that have worked hard to make ACD so successful in their conservation efforts. Some have been with ACD for a short time, while others have worked at ACD for decades. Below is a list of employees and supervisors along with their length of time with ACD. They all deserve a big shout out!


ACD Staff:

Chris Lord, District Manager – 30 years

Jamie Schurbon, Watershed Projects Manager – 20 years

Kathy Berkness, Office Administrator – 16 years

Becky Wozney, Wetland Specialist – 16 years

Mitch Haustein, Stormwater and Shoreland Specialist – 11 years

Jared Wagner, Water Resource Specialist – 5 years

Carrie Taylor, Restoration Ecologist – 5 years

Kris Larson, Water Resource Technician – 5 years

Emily Johnson, Outreach and Engagement Coordinator – 3 years

Mollie Annen, Natural Resource Conservationist – 1 year

Kat Dickerson, District Technician – 2 months


ACD Board Supervisors:

Mary Jo Truchon, Board Chair – 25 years

Jim Lindahl, Vice Chair – 12 years

Glenda Meixell, Treasurer – 4 years

Sharon LeMay, Member – 4 years

Colleen Werdien, Member – 6 months

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Supervisor Spotlight: Mary Jo Truchon

Mary Jo Truchon and her family moved to Blaine over 45 years ago from Chicago. At that time, Blaine was on the outskirts of the Twin Cities and seemed to be the edge of civilization. Nature was always close and Mary Jo thrived in it. Moving to Blaine from the city of Chicago felt like moving someplace wild and deeply connected to the natural world. In fact, the Truchon's home was in a remnant prairie and surrounded by oak savannah. Living so close to the natural resources of the county further solidified her passion to protect them for future generations to enjoy.

Mary Jo's love of nature started early in her life. She recalls family trips to the Wabash River as well as to the sandy shores of Lake Michigan where the waters were always warm in the summer. She fell in love with water and instilled these same values in her own children and 15 grandchildren through trips to Lake Superior in Duluth, the Coon Rapids Dam, Lake Mille Lacs, the Rum River, and more. Mary Jo says that Minnesota was a fabulous place to raise her family. Even now that her children are grown, the family still gathers around water with Taylor's Falls being the destination of choice this past Easter as it is a family favorite for picnicking.

In addition to raising her family, Mary Jo pursued her interests in government, art, and nature by volunteering with several organizations. She was on the board of the League of Women Voters for many years and also spent 20 years volunteering with a group of environmental educators to conduct free outdoor programs for youth in county parks. The Heritage Lab reached thousands of kids each year with hands on programs about the natural history of Minnesota. This program was then taken over by the Anoka County Parks with funding from Connexus Energy. To this day, Mary Jo is incredibly proud of her role educating youth about the natural resources and history of our area and is excited to see those efforts continued today.

For approximately 20 years, Mary Jo has been an asset to the ACD Board of Supervisors. Today, she serves as the Board Chair helping to guide the work of ACD in Anoka County. In her free time, she enjoys painting and walking on the boardwalks through the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary.

Reach out to Mary Jo or any of the ACD Board Supervisors here: www.anokaswcd.org/about-us/board-of-supervisors
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Staff Spotlight: Carrie Taylor

Carrie Taylor, ACD's Restoration Ecologist, enjoys all manner of outdoor adventures including skiing, gardening, camping, and canoeing. She always makes time to explore nature, go on hikes, and "hunt" for wildflowers with her family. She loves bringing her daughters out with her even though she sometimes has to remind them that "skiing… hiking… canoeing… it's what we do!"

Prior to living in Minnesota, Carrie lived in Illinois, Indiana, Oregon, Montana, and Sweden. Since moving to Minnesota 6 years ago, Carrie has made a point of exploring all the natural areas the state has to offer. One of Carrie's favorite places in Minnesota that she has explored thus far is the Superior Hiking Trail at Bean and Bear Lakes. She appreciated the topography, the wildness, and the beautiful multi-layer beaver dam complex that she and her family stumbled across.

Carrie is also active with the Master Gardener program and enjoys volunteering with many organizations especially coordinating landscape design and installation with new homeowners through Habitat for Humanity.

Outside of Carrie's work conducting natural resource monitoring, inventory, assessments, and planning, and coordinating ecological restoration projects for the District, she is involved in landscaping and adding native and edible plants at her daughters' schools and helping lead some of their Girl Scout activities.

To contact Carrie, reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (763) 434-2030 x19. 

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