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“Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself”

October 26, 2011

The Clean Energy Program has been quietly busy behind the scenes these past few months, encouraging energy efficiency improvements in dairy operations in Central Minnesota, laying out an LED pilot project in Minnesota poultry operations, and preparing classes and registering participants for a Farm Energy Auditor Training Program. All that busyness is why there haven’t been as many updates about the Clean Energy Program on the blog.

But I’m hoping I might be able to help turn the tide a little. I am the new Clean Energy Program Associate and I will be working part-time with Jake Fischer to help bring these projects to fruition and bring you updates on our progress.

I’m originally from the small town of Metaline Falls in northeastern Washington State, population 250, nestled in the Selkirk Mountains along the north-flowing Pend Oreille River. After graduating high school, I attended the University of Idaho in Moscow, ID and studied Political Science, Spanish and French. I had long dreadlocks. I played music in an eclectic roots rock and reggae band and was involved in human rights work. During that time I also had my first introduction to the Midwest, spending a summer in Madison, working odd jobs and also volunteering at the Tenant Resource Center. After getting my bachelor’s, I cut my hair and returned to my hometown area. I worked a couple summers there in a state park as a tour guide in a limestone cavern. It was a cool job.

Shaun Daniel on Meacham Divide

Hot chocolate is good while snowshoeing Meacham Divide. La Grande, Oregon, 2010.

I came to Minnesota, though, by way of rural Eastern Oregon, where I was able to put my degree to work with the community organizing nonprofit Oregon Rural Action, first as an organizer and then as Communications Director. After nearly four years in Oregon, and a lifetime living in small towns, I decided a change was in order and set out for Minneapolis. (It helped that my partner Teresa was accepted to grad school at the U of M and also that a good friend of mine – from my hometown! – is also a grad student here.)

Since arriving in the Twin Cities in August, I have been enjoying meeting people and exploring what Minnesota has to offer. As a writer and musician, I have appreciated the local arts community and the chance to deepen my focus on these pursuits. In September I participated in the RAW Natural Born Artists showcase in Minneapolis and have since been nominated to compete for RAW Musician of the Year. I’ll be playing in the semi-finals showcase on November 17. You know, in case you want to come out to see me…

All in all, I am glad to be in Minnesota and excited to be involved in The Minnesota Project’s work, in continuation of my own efforts to support strong, sustainable communities.

If you drop by The Minnesota Project office sometime, you might see me stroll in with a helmet tucked under my arm. I’ve been impressed with the bicycle infrastructure in the Twin Cities and I see this as one of the ways that I can “walk my talk” in a greater commitment to clean energy and energy efficiency. Commuting by bike is something I hope to continue even into the winter.


There’s always public transportation, too.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. shaunmdaniel permalink
    December 12, 2011 1:25 pm

    So far so good on the winter biking! I’ve been out in 14 degrees without any issues. Having a beard helps, I think.

  2. shaunmdaniel permalink
    February 1, 2012 10:31 am

    This sure has been an easy winter for getting into year-round biking. To help with unexpected weather and obstacles, though, I’ve created a Twitter account and crowd-sourced community for sharing updates with fellow bikers. Take a look and chime in at (Use hashtags #bikereportmpls and #bikereportsp)

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