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Working to protect the Mississippi River and its watershed in the Twin Cities area
For more than 26 years, Whitney has worked to improve Minnesota’s environment as a staff member for several local environmental organizations including Citizens for a Better Environment and Clean Water Action. During his tenure as executive director, Whitney has led FMR’s growth from a start-up group with one staff member to a leading conservation organization with a staff of eighteen. He has extensive experience in environmental policy, lobbying, advocacy and education campaigns, partnership building around environmental issues and grassroots fundraising. He is an alumnus of the University of Minnesota, where he studied history. He is married and lives in Saint Paul with his wife Sarah and their two daughters.
Member of FMR staff since: January 1997
FMR asset most proud of: “The professional, competent and committed staff that we have assembled over the years as well as the functional and engaged board of directors that continues to guide the organization with wisdom and finesse.”
Hobbies: Canoeing, backpacking, wilderness exploration, travel, music, photography
Favorite literature: Thoreau's Walden, Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey/Maturin series of novels, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the poetry of Gary Snyder and Walt Whitman. Aldo Leopold and Wendell Berry.
Favorite music: Rock and roll, jazz and classical music. Favorites include Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Brahms, the Beatles, the Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead.
Favorite location on the Mississippi: The Vermillion Bottoms, near Hastings. He says, “most Twin Citians don’t even know it’s there but it is a beautiful and wild oasis within a major metropolitan area”.
Favorite way to spend a day: A day exploring the natural world with my family
Last big vacation: A family adventure in France. Highlights include listening to street musicians under the moonlight along the banks of the Seine in Paris and a visit to the D-Day beaches in Normandy.
Heroes: The poet Gary Snyder, for his perspectives on nature and humans’ relationship to the natural world; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who spoke the truth when it was difficult and dangerous to do so.
Something most people don’t know about him: Whitney was a child actor and voice talent, and appeared in numerous local TV and radio commercials in the 1970s.