In this issue
A message from Paul Moss:
As staff person for the NextStep web site since 2000, and in
recent years for the e-newsletter, I've been greatly honored to participate in
this work to advance sustainability in Minnesota. It’s been amazing to learn
about the wide variety of sustainability activities initiated in our state, and
to see sustainability become more broadly utilized as a framework during that
time. I hope that NextStep has helped this process to occur, if even in a small
Over the past months, my work at the MPCA has become focused
on the emerging area of climate adaptation – steps that can be taken to help
prepare for impacts associated with climate change. And so NextStep – both the
web site and e-newsletter – has now transitioned into the capable hands of Erin
Barnes-Driscoll, a fellow MPCA staff member who will work to continue this
to the August issue of the NextStep e-newsletter.
Thanks again for your ongoing support and interest in
NextStep and sustainability, and for taking so many steps to help create a more
sustainable future in our state!
also are continuing to post and update resources on the NextStep web
site in an ongoing manner, and welcome your suggestions and inquiries.
To contact us, please send messages to email@example.com (instead of replying to this message).
Thanks for your interest!
-- Erin Barnes-Driscoll, NextStep e-newsletter editor
The following is adapted from the website above and a July
18th MPCA press release.
With the Great Minnesota
Get-together (State Fair) actively in progress, the 8th annual Eco
Experience—a joint project of the MPCA and the Minnesota State Fair—is in full
swing as well. This year’s Eco
Experience, which takes place on the State Fairgrounds and occurs during the 12
days of the Fair (August 22 - Labor Day), offers a number of new
displays, demonstrations, and
opportunities to learn about timely environmental topics.
A few highlights of the 2013 Eco Experience include:
Gen Y Eco Home. Students from the University of
Minnesota’s College of Design have created an environmentally-friendly home that
specifically addresses a number of the design preferences of Generation Y, also
known as Echo Boomers. The home incorporates sustainable materials, flexible
spaces, and renewable energy. The Gen Y Eco Home design is displayed in
exhibit form at the Eco Experience.
Lakes, streams, and drinking water. A new 15-foot
aerial map of St. Paul guides visitors’
exploration of a watershed. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota
Department of Health, Blue Thumb - Planting for Clean Water, and Hamline
University's Center for Global Environmental Education bring a full suite of
exhibits to teach adults and kids about this precious resource.
Landscaping. Agriculture, water conservation and
protection, and community-building come together in the design of our lawns and
landscapes. Field Outdoor Spaces, Inc. has installed an intimate space filled with
local food, trees, chickens, and space to gather with friends.
Home Energy Exhibit. The Minnesota Department of Commerce has created the Home Energy exhibit
to showcase 11 new displays on energy efficiency and renewable energy. The exhibit also includes green building
products from Natural Built Home, ReUSE Minnesota’s "Room with a 'Re'Purpose", which showcases design concepts and
interior furnishings that exemplify the concepts of reuse and repair, and
water-conserving tips and strategies for both inside and outside the home. Free
low-flow faucet aerators and toilet leak detection tablets are available at the Water Conservation exhibit area.
Healthy, local food. Visitors are able to sample
dishes made from Minnesota ingredients and learn about ways to use whole foods
from our state. Renewing the Countryside brings cooking demonstrations, local
farms, and local distributors here for visitors to meet.
Recycling. Every year Minnesotans buy more than 2
billion aluminum beverage cans. An astounding 60 percent of those cans are tossed
in the garbage; that’s 3.6 million cans thrown away every day. A visually
stunning aluminum can exhibit helps teach visitors why recycling is important
and how it helps create local jobs.
Manufacturing. The era of single-use and toxic
materials is on the way out. The U of M Center for Sustainable Polymers explains
how green chemistry and engineering are reducing toxicity and waste in
Urban trees. Climate change impacts in Minnesota are
prominent. What can we do? One reaction is to plant or care for urban
trees. They can help us slow and adapt to climate change. Learn why,
what, and how at the Eco Experience.
Movies and presentations. The Sustainability Stage features
experts, leaders in sustainability, and youth presenting on their solutions and
For more information on the Eco Experience, see the website
The following is adapted from an August 21, 2013, MN DNR
of the Minnesota State Fair’s perennial favorites has gotten a major facelift
that should make it even more popular with visitors.
indoor fish exhibit at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
building has been completely redone. Five new fish aquariums will illustrate
the habitat and fish found in different Minnesota waters: a southeastern trout
stream, the St. Croix River, and lakes typical of central, southern and
northern Minnesota. Nine new terrariums featuring live snakes and amphibians in
climate controlled cells also were added.
focusing on fish communities and their habitat, we hope people will gain a
better understanding of how good angling depends on healthy ecosystems,” said
DNR East Metro Fisheries Manager TJ DeBates. The DNR’s east metro fisheries
crew stocks and manages the State Fair fish exhibit.
tanks that previously offered fair visitors a close-up look at native fish were
nearly 30 years old and in poor condition. The new tanks are lower to the
ground, making them more accessible to viewers of all sizes and abilities. They
also have new heaters and pumps to maintain healthier conditions for their
estimated 800,000 people visit the DNR’s State Fair exhibit, which also
features an outdoor fish pond that is slated for renovation. Nearly 2 million
Minnesotans fish, making it one of the state’s most popular pastimes.
more information, visit http://news.dnr.state.mn.us/2013/08/21/dnr-renovates-popular-fish-exhibit-at-state-fair/.
Honey bees, which were originally brought to North
from Europe in the 1600’s (and which have been adversely impacted by
collapse disorder, a mysterious malady causing the loss of large numbers
of them), are considered a non-native species. The universe of
pollinators also includes a variety of native creatures, including
hummingbirds, bumble bees and other wild bees, moths, bats, and more.
All of them
are vital contributors to healthy ecosystems (both natural and
a number are facing population declines not unlike that of honey bees.
There are a number of things that individuals, families, farmers,
businesses, local governments, and communities can do to help support honey
bees and native pollinators. They
include the following:
habitat for nesting. Different pollinators have different nesting needs.
Monarch butterflies, for example, need milkweed for laying eggs, while many
wild bees need ground spots for nesting.
chemical use. Pesticides and
herbicides can be toxic to pollinators or the plants that they depend on to
thrive. Where feasible, use them sparingly or avoid them altogether.
Additional information on pollinators and how to support
them can be found at:
The following is adapted
from the website above.
Minnesota’s first “Conference
on Climate Adaptation”, designed for Local Officials, Planners, Engineers and
Natural Resource practitioners, is scheduled to take place on November 7th
at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Participants
will learn about other communities' early successes in developing adaptation
strategies in areas such as transportation infrastructure, natural resources,
human health, and agriculture. The morning and noon speakers will set the
stage, and the afternoon will features breakout sessions describing successful
When: Thursday, November 7,
2013 9:00 am - 5:30 pm, followed by reception
Location: Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul
Fee: $60 - includes lunch, breaks, and parking. Afternoon
reception features appetizers and a cash bar.
Registration is limited,
so individuals are encouraged to register early.
For more information or
to register, visit the website above.
The following is adapted from the
The Sustainable Communities HotReport is a new
web-based tool that gives community leaders and residents a quick and easy way
to determine how well their communities are performing on a variety of
sustainability indicators, including transportation, housing, economic
development, income, and equity. Produced by the U.S. Census Bureau and the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities, the tool can help communities measure
their own performance and compare themselves to communities of a similar type.
Information comes from a variety of sources including the
American Community Survey, Census 1990, 2000 and 2010, the Department of
Labor's Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages and State Occupational
Projections, and the Census Bureau's Local Employment Dynamics (LED). Data are
maintained and updated by the collecting agency.
To access the tool, visit http://thedataweb.rm.census.gov/TheDataWeb_HotReport2/EPA2/EPA_HomePage2.hrml.
The following is adapted from the website above.
The City of Saint Paul’s Planning & Economic Development
Department has been leading a study to evaluate the feasibility of developing
streetcar services in the city. This technical, data-driven study is the first
step in determining how best to integrate streetcars into the city’s transit
system and where they have the potential to catalyze development and business
The first phase of the study screened corridors throughout
the city to determine potential lines to study further in the second phase.
Phase two further analyzed these potential lines, and put them through a
rigorous evaluation focusing on economic development potential, transit demand,
compatible land-uses, operations, systems integration, and capital and
operational costs. Seven lines were identified as having potential for
Two open houses on the second phase of the Streetcar
Feasibility Study will be held on Wednesday, August 28 at the Rondo Community
Outreach Library located at 461 N. Dale Street. The first open house will be
from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and the second will be held from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
For more information, visit www.stpaul.gov/streetcars.
The following is adapted from the website above.
Forestinfo.org, an environmental
education website geared towards teachers, students, forestry professionals,
and those with a general interest in protecting, managing, and enhancing the
natural environment, has announced the release of its newest resource
- Forest Fast Breaks.
Forest Fast Breaks are
concise, engaging animated shorts that simplify complex forestry topics. The
videos highlight forest ecology, sustainable forest management practices, and
the environmental benefits of utilizing wood in consumer products and as a
building material. Ten videos cover topics including carbon capture,
clearcutting, forest fire, green building, forest management, photosynthesis,
reforestation, sustainability, water and wood products.
information, visit the website above.
Bulletin, August 2013, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
The Minnesota Dept. of
Natural Resources (DNR) is accepting applications for its Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) grant program. This program funds conservation projects that restore,
enhance, or protect forests, wetlands, prairies, or habitat for fish, game, and
wildlife in Minnesota.
Grant requests may range
from $5,000 to $400,000, with a maximum total project cost of $575,000.
Nonprofit organizations and government entities are eligible to apply, and a
10-percent match of non-state funds is required. Funded by the Outdoor Heritage Fund, this program expects
to have $3.49 million for Fiscal Year 2014 grants.
The application system
for both the Traditional Over 25,000/Under 25,000 cycle and the Expedited Conservation Projects (ECP) cycle opened Aug. 1, 2013:
- New this year is the
dedication of $500,000 to projects located within the seven-county metro
area or within a city of 50,000 people or greater. Apply through the
O25K/U25K cycle for these funds. The traditional application cycle
closes Sept. 16.
- For the ECP grant cycle, $1
million is available. This program funds projects up to $50,000 on public
lands or waters open to all seasons of hunting and fishing. The ECP
application cycle is open continuously through May 14, 2014, or until
all funds are awarded. Apply by Sept. 11 for the first round of ECP
Request for Proposal and Program Manual is now posted for both the Traditional Cycle and ECP. For more information,
send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following is
adapted from the website above.
Department of Health announces the availability of funding to support source
water protection competitive grants for community and nontransient noncommunity
public water suppliers. Source water protection activities that are funded
under this grant program must focus on managing or eliminating one or more
potential sources of contamination that the Minnesota Department of Health has
determined presents a risk to the public water supplier. Community public water suppliers serve at
least 25 year-round residents or have at least 15 service connections that are
used by year-round residents (e.g., a municipality, rural water supply system,
subdivision, or mobile home park). Nontransient noncommunity public water
suppliers serve at least 25 of the same persons over six months per year (e.g.,
school, factory, industrial park, or office building).
The total amount
of funding that is available under this notice is $75,000. The minimum amount
for any grant is $500, and the maximum amount is $10,000. An equal cost-share is required.
For more information, visit the website above.
The following is adapted from the website above.
The North Central Region SARE (NCR-SARE) Research and Education Grant Program
is a competitive grant program for researchers and educators involved in
projects that explore and promote environmentally sound, profitable, and
socially responsible food and/or fiber systems.
The 2014 NCR-SARE Research and Education Grant Program Call for Preproposals
is now available online.
NCR-SARE’s Research and Education (R&E) program supports sustainable
agriculture innovators with competitive research and education grants.
Individual grants range from $10,000 to $200,000. NCR-SARE expects to fund about
seven to ten projects in the twelve-state North Central Region.
This year, NCR-SARE will be accepting online submissions for the Research and
Education Grant Program using their online submission system. More information
about the online submission system can be found in the call for
preproposals. The deadline for Research and Education Program preproposals is
October 24, 2013.
The timeline for the Research and Educations grants will be:
August - Call for Preproposals
Late October - Preproposals Due
February - Preproposal Status Notification
April - Full Proposals Due
July - Funding Decisions
Fall - Funds Available to Recipient
NCR-SARE administers each of its grant programs with specific priorities,
audiences, and timelines. The focus for each of the NCR-SARE grant programs is
on research and education. Funding considerations are made based on how well the
applicant articulates the nature of the research and education components of
their sustainable agriculture grant proposals.
NCR-SARE’s Administrative Council (AC) members decide which projects will
receive SARE funds. The AC includes a diverse mix of agricultural stakeholders
in the region. Council members hail from regional farms and ranches, the
Cooperative Extension Service, universities, and nonprofit organizations. In
addition, regional representatives of the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Natural
Resources Conservation Service, and NCR agribusinesses, state agencies, and
foundations sit at the table to distribute grant money.
For more information, visit the website above.
See http://www.nextstep.state.mn.us/jobs.cfm for these and other jobs and internships!
Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District: Resource Conservationist (deadline September 13)
Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District: Communications Specialist (deadline September 13)
Freshwater Society: Executive Director (deadline September 4)
Hennepin County Environmental Services: Recycling Specialist (deadline September 4)
Great River Greening: Seven Mile Creek Watershed Coordinator (open until filled)
See http://www.nextstep.state.mn.us/calendar.cfm for details on these and other events!
* 8/29 Show Me the Money: 10 Simple Sustainability Steps, by Alliance for Sustainability President Terry Gips
* 8/30 Eating Sustainably: Living Longer, Healthier and Cheaper while Protecting the Earth, by Annalee Wolf and Terry Gips
* 9/12 2013 Clean Water Summit
* 9/13 Central CERT Event: Heating Alternatives and How to Integrate Them into Your System
* 9/14 Hennepin County Fix-It Clinic
* 9/14 RE-fest
* 9/17 Oak Savanna Interpretive Tour with Friends of the Mississippi River
* 9/19 Native Prairie Planting with Friends of the Mississippi River
* 9/23 Setting Goals That Matter: A Sustainability Toolkit
* 9/26 Explore Wetland Ecology at Cottage Grove Ravine Park
* 9/28 National Public Lands Day at Bruce Vento Sanctuary and Indian Mounds Park
email newsletter is sent today to 3548 sustainability professionals
and others interested in building sustainable communities, most of whom
live in Minnesota. It was prepared by staff in the Sustainable
Development Unit of the Resource Management and Assistance Division at
the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).
hope that you find this information useful; please send us an e-mail at
email@example.com if you need help using the resources presented
here. (We will not receive replies sent to this e-mail message.) You
are encouraged to enter events and jobs directly onto the NextStep web
NextStep web site has an on-line directory of those who would like to
post their contact information, sustainability interests and expertise
and then subscribe to the newsletter. To add yourself to the directory,
welcome your participation there as part of the Minnesota Sustainable
Communities Network (MnSCN). The goal of MnSCN and NextStep is to
encourage networking, information exchange, and better access to
assistance. This network consists of an even mix of over 3,000
individuals, many of whom are affiliated with local governments,
non-profit organizations, businesses, and educational institutions in
Minnesota (and bordering areas) who are interested in moving toward
For further information and questions about MnSCN, see
Receiving this message forwarded from someone else? To directly receive the NextStep e-newsletter, sign up at http://www.nextstep.state.mn.us/join.cfm.
Contact the NextStep Newsletter editor, Erin Barnes-Driscoll, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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