Office of Communication and Outreach
500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4046
Chris Niskanen, communications director
Scott Pengelly, assistant communications director
Colleen Coyne, assistant bureau administrator
The Office of Communication and Outreach provides communication services to help DNR programs, projects and units effectively develop and deliver useful, accurate and relevant information to their audiences. The bureau coordinates a network of information and education staff within the central and regional offices to provide a variety of services aimed at increasing public awareness of the state's natural resources.
DNR Information Center
Suellen Rau, supervisor
Seven information specialists answer approximately 145,000 telephone and 30,000 email questions and requests annually on Minnesota's natural resources and outdoor recreational opportunities. The Information Center provides DNR brochures, maps and other information to the public, including the most up to date reports on burning restrictions, fall colors, river levels and snow depths. Walk in visitors are welcome from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Media & Marketing Unit
Scott Pengelly, supervisor
Steve Carroll, media relations (broadcast)
Julie Forster, media relations (print)
Denny Behr, news video
This unit directs an integrated communications program that provides improved understanding of DNR programs, philosophies and policies, and promotes a positive image for the DNR. A variety of communications tools are utilized, including news releases, video b-roll and sound bites, radio actualities and direct communications with reporters.
The unit also coordinates media and marketing services to increase focus and effort in media relations, communication planning and internal communications. This unit includes the distribution of DNR news releases and story tips, provides editing and communications planning services; revenue generation through the sale of advertising; intellectual property rights and information access management; and other related publication and communication services. This unit is also responsible for DNR mailing list sales. For more information on DNR news, PSA's etc. visit: News Releases.
Regional Information Officers
Regional information officers are stationed in the DNR's four regional headquarters. They are responsible for media relations, public outreach, and communications planning in their regions. They are also involved in special events, environmental education projects, and public relations efforts. More information about DNR regions is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/aboutdnr/index.html#regions.
- Kristi Coughlon, Northwest Region, Bemidji, 218-308-2647
- Cheri Zeppelin, Northeast Region, Grand Rapids, 218-999-7914
- Harland Hiemstra, Central Region, St. Paul, 651-259-5765
- Scott Roemhildt, Southern Region, New Ulm, 507-359-6014
Boat and Water Safety
This section provides the public with safety information and education programs, and coordinates the efforts of other safety agencies and groups throughout the state. The section handles the free mandatory boating safety education program for 12 through 17 year olds; water surface use management; informational programs on boat and water safety; and in service training programs for safety and enforcement personnel. The unit collects and interprets statistical data on boat and water accidents and boating in general. For more information visit: Boat and Water Safety.
Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine
Kathleen Weflen, editor
Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, official bimonthly magazine of the DNR, features award-winning stories and photographs of Minnesota's woods, waters, and wildlife. It circulates to more than 130,000 subscribers, including all Minnesota public schools and libraries. The magazine is uniquely supported entirely by donations from readers. Minnesota Conservation Volunteer Web pages include teachers study guides for Young Naturalists features. To learn more, visit: Minnesota Conservation Volunteer.
Creative Services Unit - Graphics / Photo / Video
Mateo Cadiz, supervisor
Products and services include project consultation, printing assistance, layout and design of books, brochures, posters, signs, billboards, electronic publications, and displays. The materials we produce directly support and advocate the Department's core activities.
This unit provides Graphic Design services department-wide. Our products are used in the Department's educational, instructional, informational and promotional initiatives. We can provide support with project consultation, printing information/specs, layout and design for print and web publications. We are increasing efforts to achieve greater consistency throughout the department's identity. Our services do not include construction, fabrication, mounting and laminating.
We provide photographic services for publications, displays, Intranet materials and slide presentations.
Audio visual productions offered on a first-come, first-served basis include project planning, script writing, photography, videography, editing and duplication.
- Audio: Radio public service announcements, training tapes.
- Video: Training videos, informational videos, TV public service announcements and TV, cable and satellite presentations.
Dawn Flinn - education coordinator
The education coordinator in this unit works with the Natural Resources Education Committee and others to support and coordinate education efforts within the DNR. The coordinator also works to promote DNR's educational programs and resources, and build educational partnerships with organizations. For more information - visit the DNR web page at: Education and Safety training.
Renée Vail, volunteer administrator
Volunteer Programs focuses on connecting people to Minnesota’s great outdoors through outreach opportunities in a variety of settings in state parks, WMA’s, state forests, and other public lands. The volunteer administrator in this unit manages, coordinates, and supports the various volunteer programs within the DNR statewide. The administrator also coordinates hundreds of volunteers to assist the DNR at the Minnesota State Fair, writes volunteer policies and procedures, tracks volunteer trends within the DNR, and communicates with DNR alumni and retirees. Volunteer opportunities are updated on the web pages every three months with the change of seasons. More than 30,000 people volunteer each year to assist the DNR on projects.
For more information on volunteer opportunities visit: Volunteer Opportunities