Green Notes February: Forestry grants will help reduce disparities, tips for reducing junk mail

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green notes

Forestry grants will help reduce disparities

North High tree planting

Hennepin County recently awarded 27 grants that will invest not only in the county's tree canopy but also the health and economic vitality of communities.

Areas with lower tree canopy cover tend to have starker disparities in air quality, health, income and housing.

Without proactive efforts, the emerald ash borer is likely to worsen these inequities. The invasive tree pest threatens to kill all of the 1 million ash trees in Hennepin County, which make up 15 percent of the tree canopy.

How trees can help reduce disparities

Trees help cool our streets and sidewalks, provide energy savings, clean our air and water, and improve our health. But these benefits are not shared equally across communities, since many lower-income neighborhoods have fewer trees. This is why grant projects were prioritized in areas with lower tree canopy and higher disparities.

Grant recipients

Grant recipients include: 

  • 10 cities to complete or update tree inventories, develop tree replacement plans, create gravel-bed nurseries, train staff, and plant and remove trees. 
  • 5 affordable housing organizations to plant trees and proactively manage ash trees.
  • 12 schools and nonprofit organizations to engage youth in learning about and planting trees.

See the full listing of grant recipients and project descriptions.

Business recycling grant priorities updated

Changes will support businesses in complying with new recycling requirements

Changes have recently been made to the Hennepin County business recycling grants to align priorities with supporting businesses making the transition to comply with new recycling requirements.

Overall program funding will be prioritized by the following project types:

  1. Waste prevention, meaning components of the project result in the reduction of overall waste generated. Organics recycling and recycling are not considered waste prevention.
  2. Implementation of a new organics recycling program for businesses included in the food waste recycling requirements.
  3. Implementation of a new organics recycling or recycling program for multifamily housing.
  4. All other project types.

Learn more about the grants available.

Grants awarded to preserve and protect natural resources

Nokomis East Monarch Mile

Hennepin County recently awarded 11 grants totaling $460,000 to preserve, protect, and improve natural resources and water quality.

Grant projects will involve a variety of practices to protect natural resources, such as installing rain gardens, planting native vegetation, removing invasive species, controlling erosion, installing cisterns, establishing swales, improving stormwater ponds, and restoring streams, wetlands and woodlands.

Projects will improve water quality in streams, rivers and lakes throughout the county, including Elm Creek, Fish Lake, Lake Nokomis, Minnehaha Creek, the Minnesota River, the Mississippi River, Purgatory Creek, Schmidt Lake, and Upper Twin Lake.

Learn more about the projects awarded.

Medicine drop box opens in St. Louis Park

Medicine drop box

A new medicine drop box recently opened at the St. Louis Park Police Department (3015 Raleigh Avenue South in St. Louis Park). The drop box is opened 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

There are more than 30 medicine drop boxes available throughout the county. Some are operated in partnership with Hennepin County and others are available at independent pharmacies.

Properly disposing of unused medicines is important to prevent abuse or poisoning and protect the environment.


Hennepin Natural Resources Partnership Forum

The next Hennepin Natural Resources Partnership Forum is coming up on Monday, March 4 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Ridgedale Library in the RHR Room.

The forum will cover two primary topics:

  • An update and discussion on the Hennepin County conservation easement program 
  • A presentation and discussion on the potential for a secured data-sharing portal for partner organizations

The Hennepin Natural Resources Partnership provides a forum for a holistic and collaborative approach to managing and protecting our land and water. Everyone is welcome to attend, especially those from cities, watersheds, agencies, and organizations involved with or interested in natural resources management and protection.

RSVPs are encouraged to Stacey Lijewski at or 612-348-9938.

Green Tip: Reduce unwanted mail and go paperless

Reducing unwanted mail

Each of us receives about 26 pounds of unwanted mail every year. Junk mail produces clutter and wastes our natural resources.

From coupons to catalogs to credit card offers and bills, there are several important steps you can take to get your name off mail lists and transition toward a paperless household. More information about all of these steps is available in our Hold the Mail brochure.

  • Stop the flow: Look at the mail you receive, and determine what you could access online instead. Contact utilities, services provides, and organizations to opt out of mailings and sign up for electronic notices.
  • Unsubscribe from credit offers and direct marketing: Follow the links in the Hold the Mail brochure to get your name off credit card offers, catalogs, sweepstakes, and national direct-marketing lists.
  • Contact companies directly: For some of the unwanted mail you still receive, you may have to contact companies directly to get your name off their mailing lists. Follow these steps: be prepared, be polite, be patient, and be persistent. 
  • Control your exposure: The best way to keep your name off of mailing lists is to control you exposure and think about how often you give out your contact information.

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