Meet Jenna

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By Pam Reinig

Register Editor

 

A woman with strong family ties to Northeast Iowa has returned to the area to serve as the new Clayton County Conservation director.

Jenna Pollock, who was raised on a farm near Volga, has been on the job since April 21. A graduate of Valley High School and Luther College, Pollock has an office at the Osborne Nature Center, south of Elkader, though you might not always find her there since her responsibilities span the entire county.

Pollock’s new position is a homecoming of sorts: She spent two summers at the Osborne Center as an intern. Following college graduation, she worked three years as a naturalist at the Emmett County Conservation Center in northwest Iowa.

The size of the Clayton County Conservation district—twice that of Emmett County—and managerial responsibilities are two of the challenges Pollock faces in her new job. She has a team of seven year-round employees plus nearly a dozen summer interns.

The decision to apply for the director’s position is one that Pollock agonized over—for about a half-second.

“It has always been my dream to get back to Clayton County because of the area’s natural beauty and because I have family here,” Pollock said. “I told myself that (the board members) might laugh at my application because I’m fairly young but I knew that if I didn’t apply, I’d always regret it.”

Accomplishments, affability and a natural eloquence trumped any concerns that anyone might have had about Pollock’s age.

Pollock has some ideas of new programs and initiatives she’d like to start but first, she’s giving herself plenty of time to settle in. “I feel like I need to see (the job) in all four seasons to get a better idea of my responsibilities,” she explained. She did admit that some programs could be refreshed in order to bring in more participants, and she’d like to find a way to introduce STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts. She’s also looking forward to “communicating with people who live here about what they’d like to see happen here.”

As far as personal goals, topping Pollock’s list is becoming law enforcement certified. She plans to attend the police academy in the fall. She’d also like to see the board launch a foundation.

“Financial sustainability is something to strive for,” Pollock said. “Our budget comes from the tax base and those dollars are never guaranteed.”

Away from the office, Pollock enjoys spending time with her two black Labradors and working on the farm with her father, Scott. Pollock is also the daughter of the late Joan Pollock.

 
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