Green Partners update: Attend our evaluation and networking meeting on March 20

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green partners

Attend the Green Partners evaluation and networking meeting on March 20

As part of our evaluation of the Green Partners environmental education grants program, we are holding an input meeting on March 20. The meeting will be an opportunity to learn about the program accomplishments, provide feedback on the future of our environmental education grants, and network with fellow environmental educators.

The meeting will be held Tuesday, March 20 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Minnesota National Wildlife Refuge, 3815 American Blvd E in Bloomington.

Meeting agenda:

  • 9:00 a.m.: Open house
  • 9:30 a.m.: Small group discussions, round 1
  • 10:15 a.m.: Small group discussions, round 2
  • 11:00 a.m.: Ask a grant manager panel
  • 11:45 a.m.: Small group discussions, round 3
  • 12:30 p.m.: Grantee celebration and open house

See the detailed agenda (PDF) for more information and a description of the discussion topics.

Attendance during the entire timeframe is not required. Refreshments will be provided throughout the day.

RSVPs are encouraged to Patience Caso at or 612-348-9352.

We're hiring: seasonal Wetland Health Evaluation Program team leaders

WHEP team

Wetland Health Evaluation Program (WHEP) team leaders direct a team of 5 to 10 adult volunteers in collecting data about the health of our wetlands.

Ideal candidates will have experience in biology or natural resources and strong communication and organizational skills to ensure a high quality volunteer experience.

Work hours will vary, with a typical work week totaling 5 to 10 hours for a total of approximately 100 hours during the season. Evenings and weekends will be required. Apply by March 30.

Register for the Metro Children’s Water Festival

Children's Water Festival

4th grade teachers can register now to bring their class to the Metro Children’s Water Festival, a full-day field trip focused on learning about water and actions we can take to protect the environment. The festival will be held Wednesday, September 26 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul.

Participating schools will be selected through a lottery drawing. Register for the lottery by March 16. The field trip is free, and schools selected to participate from Hennepin County may apply for a bus through the county to cover the costs of transportation to and from the field trip

New and updated environmental education resources

Clean Water Minnesota seeks pilot groups to test new neighborhood cleanup kit

Como neighborhood cleanup

Clean Water Minnesota has a new tool aimed at taking the guesswork out of organizing a block-level street cleanup: the Clean Streets, Clean Water Neighborhood Cleanup Kit.

The goal of this tool is to empower community groups to easily plan an event that engages local residents in cleaning up streets and storm drains in their neighborhood.

The tool will be officially launched in the fall, but Clean Water Minnesota is seeking up to 25 groups to pilot this tool this spring. Organizations participating in the pilot will receive free printed outreach materials to plan and promote a neighborhood cleanup in April or early May. In exchange, event leaders commit to participating in a follow-up focus group to provide feedback on what worked well and how to improve the kit.

If your organization is interested in participating, contact Jana Larson at

Resources to help with spring cleaning

Spring cleaning

The end of winter means the start of spring cleaning for many of us. As you’re planning your upcoming outreach, remember we have the following resources available to help people clean up and clean out in an environmentally friendly way.

You can order free copies of any of the educational brochures, guides, and magnets mentioned below from our environmental education pamphlet order form.

Green cleaning

Help your audience learn how to choose less toxic products or make their own cleaners from simple ingredients.

Donate and dispose

Help connect your audience with the best way to donate or get rid of stuff they no longer want.

New articles available on preventing waste, growing your own food and protecting pollinators

Spice rack

The following new articles are available from Hennepin County’s Choose to Reuse website and Clean Water Minnesota.

Share these through your communication channels to inspire your audiences to take action to protect the environment. 

  • Spice it up: Learn how spices can be a sensory and low-waste addition to your kitchen
  • Low-waste spring holidays: Learn how to celebrate and enjoy spring holidays while still being green
  • Planting from seed: Cut down on packaging waste by learning how to grow your own vegetables from seed 
  • Monarch Mile: Get inspired to create habitat for pollinators by reading how a group of neighbors encouraged their community to plant a stretch of pollinator gardens connecting Lake Nokomis and Minnehaha Falls

Grant funding available

School recycling grants available

Recycling at school

Hennepin County provides grants for K-12 schools to start or improve programs to divert recycling and organic materials, which includes food and non-recyclable paper, from the trash. Grant funding can also be used to take steps to reduce waste in the first place.

Applications for grants up to $50,000 are due on March 28. Applications for grants up to $15,000 will continue to be accepted throughout the year as funds remain. Learn more and apply.

You are encouraged to contact the program manager, Kira Berglund, to discuss project ideas at or at 612-596-1498.

Ben & Jerry's Foundation seeks proposals from social and environmental justice projects

The Ben & Jerry's Foundation is offering grants of up to $25,000 to grassroots community-organizing groups working to advance social and environmental justice and sustainable food systems. The foundation will only consider proposals from grassroots, constituent-led organizations with annual budgets under $500,000 that are using direct action, grassroots, and community-organizing strategies to accomplish their goals.

Pre-proposals must be received no later than April 18, 2018. Upon review, select applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal. Learn more and apply.

Events and training

Become a tree steward

Tree steward volunteers

Learn the basics of tree care and help take care of the urban forest in your community by becoming a tree steward. Volunteer tree stewards take a one-day class that covers the basics of tree biology, health, planting, watering, and pruning through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on, outdoor field experience.

Volunteers will then have opportunities to practice their skills by helping with various tree planting and tree care projects in the community.

The next class will be held Saturday, March 31 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hopkins Fire Station. Learn more and sign up.

For more information, contact Jen Kullgren at or 612-596-1175.

Become a Master Recycler/Composter

Master Recycler/Composter volunteers

Join fellow waste reduction enthusiasts and become an advocate for the three Rs in your community as a Hennepin County Master Recycler/Composter.

These trained volunteers plan and implement projects that prevent waste, improve recycling and increase public awareness of opportunities to recycle and compost. This is a great opportunity for staff or volunteers at organizations that are looking to improve their recycling programs.

The spring course will be held on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 9 p.m. from April 11 to May 16 at Elim Lutheran Church in Robbinsdale. An optional field trip will be held on Friday, May 4. Learn more and register.

For more information, contact Carolyn Collopy at or 612-596-0993.

Rivers Institute by Hamline University’s Center for Global Environmental Education 

Join Hamline University’s Center for Global Environmental Education for their acclaimed Rivers Institute, a free, three-day, field-based professional development opportunity for educators. The institutes are designed to increase teachers' science content knowledge and investigation skills and help area educators translate their professional experiences into meaningful, engaging classroom investigations. The focus for the institutes is on elementary and middle school classroom teachers as well as teams of teachers. All educators are welcome to apply.

Two sessions are scheduled for 2018: the St. Croix River Institute from June 25 to 27 and the Mississippi River Institute from July 23 to 25. Learn more and register.

AASHE Sustainability, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Workshop

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) inclusion workshop is for faculty, administrators, staff and student activists of all disciplines as well as community organizers, city officials and planners who wish to integrate sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion into their campus, curriculum and departments.

During the three-day workshop, participants will become familiar with approaches to recognizing the interconnections of sustainability, diversity and equity. Participants will also experience a range of workshop strategies, be exposed to diverse perspectives, and dialogue with colleagues, artists, performers and educators from other disciplines and campuses as they gain skills in incorporating sustainability, diversity and inclusion in their syllabi, lesson plans and campus projects.

The workshop will include a field trip to the Shakopee Mdewankaton Sioux Community to learn about land reclamation projects and visit this Dakota nation’s organics and recycling facility.

The event will take place at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park from June 20 to 22. Registration ends June 8. Learn more and register.

Arbor Day Trivia hosted by the Minnesota Association for Environmental Education

Join the Minnesota Association for Environmental Education for social hour and environmentally themed trivia for Arbor Day! The trivia is on Thursday, April 26 at 6 p.m. at the Urban Growler in St. Paul.

Submit to present at the North American Association for Environmental Education Annual Conference

The call for presentations is open for the 47th annual North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) conference, to be held in Spokane, Washington from October 10 to 13. NAAEE is seeking compelling proposals that inform environmental educators about proven practices; push the leading edge of the profession; advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the field; and motivate the pursuit of excellence. The deadline to submit proposals is April 2.

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