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ESGR in the News


ST. PAUL, Minn. – Dr. Caitlin Potter, Associate Director of Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (Cedar Creek), received the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriotic Employer Award recently.

Potter was nominated by Dr. Kara Baldwin, who is the spouse of Minnesota Army National Guard Maj. Alex Baldwin. Twenty-five staff members, faculty, and students associated with the Science Reserve and with the University of Minnesota’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior attended the presentation. Committee ESGR Volunteer Christie Nixon presented the award.

Kara Baldwin shared a stressful timeline of relocation, employment, and deployment, and the ways the extraordinary care and flexibility offered by Caitlin, her supervisor, helped her through that timeline. Kara’s accepting the job as Education and Community Development Coordinator at Cedar Creek in May 2022 led the Baldwin’s to an interstate move. Two months after that, MAJ Baldwin received notice of an upcoming deployment. In August 2022, Kara started work at Cedar Creek. Another two months later, MAJ Baldwin deployed to Djibouti as a liaison with allied forces, not returning until August 2023. New place, new job, solo parent to a two-year old – Kara Baldwin described the important ways that Caitlin Potter gave her a safe place to be during that uncertain period. Among the many examples: Potter provided flexible work hours, covered teaching responsibilities, even stepped in take her Christmas shopping and set up a tree, and help her through childcare difficulties when her regular provider fell through, and recently – pick her up for work when she had car trouble.

During the presentation, Kara thanked many others at Cedar Creek for the support they’d given her during her spouse’s deployment and now. Caitlin, in a comment that tells us exactly the right way to approach this, said that she didn’t realize she was being a good employer, as she was just trying to be a good human being.

Dr. David Tilman, Director of the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, signed a Statement of Support of the Guard and Reserve.

ESGR is a Department of Defense program which seeks to foster a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States. For more information about ESGR outreach programs or volunteer opportunities, call (800) 336-4590 or visit

Photos courtesy of Dr. Emilie Snell-Rood, Associate Head of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota.

Photo 1: Christie Nixon (ESGR), Dr. Caitin Potter, Dr. Kara Baldwin (Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve).

Photo 2: Dr. David Tilman, Dr. Caitlin Potter, Dr. Kara Baldwin (Ceder Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve), Christie Nixon (ESGR).

Posted in: Minnesota
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