Steger Wilderness Center board member Kimball Knutson doesn’t soft-sell her obligation. From the Center’s inception in 2014, her name was one of the five on the documents that officially designated the Center as a nonprofit organization.
“We are the people that said, ‘if this thing doesn’t go, we will be responsible,’” she said.
But her commitment to such undertakings isn’t new. She was also a founding board member of the Will Steger Foundation, which later became Climate Generation. She served two terms on the Foundation board.
Knutson has known Steger for about 10 years. She indicated she’s developed a confidence in him and the Center’s mission during that time. “Every day I feel there’s more substance to it,” she said.
She also believes in what she said is his biggest dream—catalyzing change. “Will can do what he says he’s going to do. We’ve seen him do it,” she said. “I think that his place, what he’s trying to create, although sometimes it seems maybe lofty or far-fetched,… that it has more potential to affect people’s lives.”
She added that she finds pleasure in pursuing those lofty goals, especially considering the effects of climate change and environmental degradation. It dovetails with her interests, passions and desire to contribute.
“It’s in my wheelhouse of protecting the planet, protecting nature, environmental education, bringing people together and sustainable energy,” Knutson said. “It’s a wonderful community… and it’s an honor to be a part of.”
Her endeavors include visions of the Center as a powerful organization being run with integrity and thoughtfulness, “a topnotch, squeaky-clean, hardworking, ‘Little Engine that Could’ kind of organization.”
Knutson, 62, lives in South Minneapolis. She is the director of horticulture for Phillips Garden in Minneapolis, an innovative, award-winning landscaping company. She’s worked in the industry for 35 years and operated her own business before merging with them four years ago. Along with providing fundraising assistance at the Center, she helps with gardening, growing and forestry issues.