Congratulations Barb Spears!

Barb Spears receiving the Carol Mortensen Award

In the wake of Thanksgiving I find myself reflecting on the things and people that make the world a better place. Barb Spears is one of these women. She is a founding contributor to the MN Women's Woodland Network (MN WWN). She's the dedicated leader of the Twin Cities, MN local chapter of the MN WWN. Barb’s also the driving force behind the program’s current direction. But amazingly all this work helping women woodland owners is only a small glimpse of the amazing professional and volunteer efforts Barb has done for forestry over the years.

Barb Spears is a long time private forestry consultant. She's the owner of TWF Consulting. Barb has warn many hats and always been deeply involved in forestry. She has volunteered for the Minnesota Forestry Association (MFA) for years including serving on the MFA Board. She’s worked on woody biomass and invasive species at the MN Department of Natural Resource. As a volunteer she’s led her Twin Cities neighborhood in tree inventory and tree planting efforts.

Recently Barb received one of the highest honors an individual can receive in Minnesota related to invasive species – the Minnesota Invasive Species Advisory Council honored Barb’s Invasive Species Efforts by bestowing the Carol Mortensen Invasive Species Management Award for Individual Achievement upon Barbara Spears, of St. Paul, at the Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 in Duluth, Minn. 

Part of her award’s presentation included these accolades: Barbra has a proven record of long-term, sustained efforts on invasive weed management in Minnesota. As a member of a St. Paul community Tree Team, her involvement directly led to a project to survey, map, and inventory all public and private ash trees in the neighborhood building awareness of emerald ash borer. As the MN Department of Natural Resources Woody Biomass Project Coordinator, Barb’s efforts led to the removal and destruction of over 11,000 tons of woody plants in native habitats. Her work with the MN Women’s Woodland Network and the University of MN Extension fostered curricula and progress toward managing forest invaders. She chairs the MN Forestry Association Chapter and has been called “one of the most trusted professionals in her field.” 

Carol Mortensen, for whom the award is named, worked tirelessly to promote public awareness about invasive species in Minnesota. She passed away in 2004 but her environmental ethos continues to motivate a network of people committed to protecting the state’s natural resources. 

As I look forward to the upcoming holidays and reflect on the good fortune I’ve experienced I hope everyone can appreciate Barb’s commitment to women woodland owners and our natural resources and Carol Mortensen’s dedication to invasive species work. We can all strive to be like these dedicated women and together we’ll make the world a much better place!

Thanks Barb for all your hard work and tireless dedication.