• March 23, 2021
  • |
  • Deborah Carter McCoy
crocus emerging from snow
Crocus emerging from snow.

Crocuses and other flowering plants defying Minnesota’s cold and snow are, for many, a sign of rebirth, renewal, or awakening. Pretty flowering plants and green tips of grass are not the only things which emerge during spring in the Upper Midwest: litter, abandoned furniture, and pet waste are exposed.

At Environmental Initiative we are emerging from several months of reflection and behind-the-scenes work related to visually presenting our recently adopted strategic plan. Imagining how the organization, programs, projects, and partnerships are represented in ways that show our intention and aspiration requires creativity and intention. I asked questions related to our mission, vision, and values. What do our employees look like? Who are our partners? How do we present our work in a visually appealing way? What imagery represents our future? What does a welcoming, human-centered organization working across power and perspectives to create a healthy environment for all beings look like? How are relationships represented?

These questions do not have easy answers. For instance, what do you see when you imagine a healthy environment? Breathtaking landscapes of snowcapped mountain ranges? A canoe silently gliding across a quiet lake in Minnesota’s Northwoods?  A well-maintained apartment building courtyard? Children splashing in a city park fountain? Tall, healthy crops as far as the eye can see? A thriving downtown in a small farming community?

Honing in on key words while selecting, reviewing, and discussing photos, graphics, illustrations, and art takes time. To complete the “picture” our language is changing to be more inclusive. Internal training and conversations about our written and spoken words have been underway for several years. The process is long to assure a genuine shift in organizational culture and understanding instead of a quick makeover born of convenience due to the times in which we find ourselves.

If you subscribe to more than one newsletter originating from Environmental Initiative you will notice subtle shifts in the templates: realignment of logos, similar color block treatment, footers recognizing members and sponsors, and more direct links to Environmental Initiative. In the coming months you will notice additional adjustments in imagery and style with a full transition on day one of 2022.

I anticipate we will emerge like the crocus – beautiful. I also recognize we will fumble and our old ways may emerge, like litter, in the process. With humility, I look forward to the challenging, messy, and wonderful process of emerging from our old identity into the identity of the organization our board and staff have committed to become.