Green Notes April: Recycling outreach grants available to business associations, way to celebrate Arbor Day

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green notes

Recycling outreach grants available to business associations

Business Recycling

Grants of up to $15,000 are available for business-focused organizations to conduct outreach to improve commercial recycling. Eligible organizations include chambers of commerce, business associations, and trade associations located in and/or serving businesses in Hennepin County. Organizations will provide outreach and other services to encourage businesses to take advantage of Hennepin County business recycling resources, such as recycling grants, training, and signage.

Applications are due by 4 p.m. on Friday, May 17. A total of $100,000 is available, and applications will be accepted beyond May 17 as funds remain available. Learn more.

For more information, contact or 612-543-9298.

Funding available to cities to establish organics recycling drop-off sites

Organics Recycling

Hennepin County has funding available for cities to establish organics recycling drop-off sites. Up to $15,000 is available for each drop-off site, and cities can receives funding for up to three sites.

Recycling organic materials, like food, non-recyclable paper and compostable products, is the best opportunity to reduce our trash and achieve our goal of sending zero waste to landfills. Organics drop-off sites increase access to organics recycling for all residents, especially those living in multifamily properties without access to city service and those in cities that don’t offer service. Drop offs also raise awareness about the benefits of organics recycling and build interest in additional programs.

For more information, see the organics recycling drop-off funding guidelines (PDF) or contact Ben Knudson at or 612-596-1176.

Citizen scientists needed to monitor wetlands


Want to wade in, discover the life of a wetland, learn how to monitor plants and bugs, and do something to help the environment? Volunteer with the Wetland Health Evaluation Program (WHEP)!

Learn more by attending the WHEP information night on Monday, May 6 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ridgedale Library. Attendance is required to register as a 2019 WHEP volunteer.

For more information, contact Mary Karius at

Ice out on Lake Minnetonka brings official start to boating season

Ice out signs 2019

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office in partnership with the Freshwater Society declared ice out for Lake Minnetonka on April 20, 2019, at 1:46 p.m. The longstanding tradition of declaring ice out on Lake Minnetonka marks the official start to the boating season.

Buoy installation begins

County staff will now begin installing more than 500 buoys on Lake Minnetonka, Lake Sarah and Lake Independence. The county places buoys for both navigation and safety.

Hennepin County has performed lake improvement work such as dredging, riprapping, and placing and maintaining navigational buoys since the late 1800s. The county also maintains two public accesses and 19 fishing sites.

Use caution in cold water and take steps to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species

As boaters get back on the water, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has resources encouraging caution in cold water. Over 30 percent of boating fatalities in Minnesota happen in cold water with a victim not wearing a life jacket. Falling into icy water can be deadly because many boaters do not think about the effects of cold water immersion. Wearing your life jacket could be the single most important factor in surviving cold water immersion.

Boater removing weeds

Boaters are also reminded to take steps to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species when moving boats or watercraft:

Clean all visible plants, insects and animals from boats, trailers, docks, and other water-related equipment before leaving the water access or shore.

Drain water-related equipment such as motors and portable bait containers, and remove drain plugs to drain bilge, livewell and baitwell water.

Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

For more information, contact Tony Brough at or 612-348-4378.


Help plant trees on Hiawatha Avenue

Hiawatha Tree Planting

Saturday, May 18
10 a.m. to noon
Hiawatha Avenue between 38th Street and 46th Street in Minneapolis

Help beautify the Hiawatha corridor! Join us for a community tree planting to plant more than 100 trees along the bike path.

No experience is necessary. Hennepin County foresters will provide all the tools and instruction on how to plant trees. This is a family friendly event. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided.

RSVP to Shane DeGroy at or 612-543-3697.

Arbor Day Events

There are still several Arbor Day celebrations and tree planting events scheduled throughout Hennepin County in May. Events coming up include:

Hazardous waste collection event in Minnetonka

HHW Event

The first household hazardous waste collection event of 2019 is May 10 and 11 at the Minnetonka Public Works Department, 11522 Minnetonka Boulevard. Events are held Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hennepin County hosts collection events across the county throughout the spring and fall to provide residents with a convenient option to get rid of household hazardous waste. A variety of items are accepted at collection events including paint, aerosols, cleaners, mercury thermostats, and much more.

See the full list of hazardous waste collection events scheduled for this year and the materials accepted.

Visit the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center during Doors Open Minneapolis

Doors Open Minneapolis, coming up on May 18 and 19, is a weekend event that allows the public free, behind-the-scenes access to buildings in Minneapolis that are architecturally, culturally, or socially significant.

HERC sunset

The Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC) will be participating in Doors Open. HERC converts Minneapolis’ trash into energy that provides electricity to 25,000 homes and heat to Target Field and downtown buildings. Visitors can learn how HERC works, see the waste pit and trash trucks on a live video feed in the visitor center, and discover ideas to reduce waste.

Green Tip: Celebrate Arbor Day!

Little girl planting a tree

Arbor Day on April 27 kicked off a month of celebrating trees and the many benefits they provide to communities. Arbor Day is a holiday that encourages individuals and groups to plant and care for trees.

Here's a roundup of books, activities, and videos to help you celebrate Arbor Day and care for trees.

Books for the whole family

Books about trees
  • Wangari's Trees of Peace, by Jeanette Winter: The true story of Wangari Maathai, environmentalist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. This book shows a real example of environmental action and its impacts, and leads readers to explore questions about the importance of trees and what they can do to protect the environment. Watch a digital book reading.
  • The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein: This is a story of a tree and the different uses of trees by humans. It is also about relationships, and leads readers to explore questions about natural resource management and friendship. Watch an animated book reading and download an activity booklet.
  • The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss: This rhyming story introduces readers to the impacts of consumerism, forest removal, and the importance of taking action to protect the environment. Watch a digital book reading and get activities.

Educational activities

There are many good activities available to help you learn about trees. These can be used in the classroom, in your community, or with your friends and family.

Tree planting and care

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has great information about how to plant and care for trees. Videos and print resources are available about planting containerized trees and bareroot seedlings, watering and mulching new trees, and pruning trees.

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