RSVP to the fall network meeting, help with the Natural Resources Plan, reserve a kit, be a battery hero

environmental education news

Attend the next Hennepin County environmental education network meeting

Tuesday, October 5 from 10 to 11 a.m.

EE network meeting October 4 from 10 to 11 a.m.


Join other environmental educators to learn about connecting climate with community in this free virtual meeting

Our ability to address climate change relies, in part, on engaging different audiences in taking action. As Hennepin County prepared its Climate Action Plan, a group of Environment and Energy staff got up to speed on the latest national and international research into the public’s perception of climate issues. Learn what insights from research tell us about the public’s knowledge and attitudes about climate change, barriers and motivations to taking action, and effective messaging strategies.

Register to attend.

Share your priorities for protecting natural resources

We’re in the process of updating the Hennepin County Natural Resources Strategic Plan, which will define our natural resources goals and strategies for the next 10 years.

Children smiling while fishing

Our initial engagement process is seeking to understand priorities for protecting natural resources and how people want to be engaged in the update of the plan.
So far through our online survey and at events, we’ve heard that people care most about ensuring a healthy environment for future generations and protecting wildlife and nature. We’ve also heard that protecting water resources is the top priority and the impacts of climate change on natural resources is the top concern.

Opportunities to provide input and stay engaged

Survey – available in multiple languages

A survey is available in English, Español, Hmoob, and Soomaali. The survey will be open through the end of October.

Help us hear from more people by encouraging others to take our survey and share their priorities for protecting natural resources. Share the surveys using the translated promotional materials (DOCX).

Share your priorities for protecting natural resources in Hennepin County. Take our survey.

Community events

staff tabling at a community event

Hennepin County staff will be at these upcoming community events to talk to residents about the plan update and their values and priorities for protecting natural resources. This is an opportunity to talk to our natural resources staff and vote for priorities!

  • Medina Celebration Day on Saturday, September 18 from 4 to 8 p.m.
  • WE Mural Sunset Block Party in Bloomington on Saturday, September 18 from 5 to 10 p.m.
  • Oktoberfest at Heidi's Growhaus in Corcoran on Saturday, September 25 from noon to 4 p.m.
  • Project Sweetie Pie Ultimate Garden Party at Celestial Garden in north Minneapolis on Saturday, September 25 from noon to 5 p.m. – find more information about this event below

Email updates

Sign up for Natural Resources Strategic Plan email updates to stay informed of the process and opportunities to provide feedback at each step.

Resources and advocacy

Education kits are available for reservation 

Are you interested in conducting an environmental education lesson or activity with a group, but don’t have all the supplies you need? Environmental education kits are available for reservation by groups within Hennepin County.

Education kit

A few pieces of the Trees and Forestry kit



The maximum checkout period is 10 days unless approved by special request. Kits must be picked up and returned to the Hennepin County Environment and Energy office in downtown Minneapolis. Please request kits a minimum of 10 days before they need to be picked up to allow staff time to prepare them for you. Reserve a kit

Available kits 

  • Brick of cans display
  • Every Drop water demonstration kit
  • Food waste prevention
  • Green cleaning
  • Green gifts
  • Green parties
  • Household hazardous waste
  • Organics recycling
  • Packaging waste reduction
  • Recycled products
  • Recycling education kit (youth)
  • Trees and forestry


Be a Battery Hero campaign 

Be a battery hero

Fire prevention week is October 3 through 9, 2021. Since used batteries can cause fires when they end up in the trash or curbside recycling, Hennepin County is partnering with Ramsey and Washington counties to raise awareness about proper battery disposal with the campaign: Be a Battery Hero. The campaign is inspired by Marvel Comics, starring mischievous batteries that need to be put in their place. Batteries can be recycled at Hennepin County drop-off facilities in Bloomington and Brooklyn Park.  

Help spread the word! 

Please share campaign messaging with the communities you work with. Download campaign assets (DOCX), including newsletter articles, graphics, and social media posts. Materials are available in multiple languages.   


Sign up for the virtual Children’s Water Festival

Join a fun-filled virtual festival featuring presentations and activities about our most precious resource - water.

MCWF fish and water drop

The virtual Metro Children’s Water Festival will begin the week of September 27, and resources will be available throughout the 2021-2022 school year.

Virtual lessons consist of videos and downloadable curriculum covering many topics, including the following:

  • Connecting water and climate: A new resource developed by Climate Generation that explores how water and climate are connected
  • Wastewater treatment for kids: What happens to wastewater from our homes?
  • Rainfall simulator: How different land covers affect how much rain soaks into the ground or runs off
  • The Mystery of the Disappearing Waterfall: What happened to the waterfall in the Twin Cities?
  • A model stream: How do streams pick their path and what creatures are found in them?
  • Youth help solve global water crisis: Water scarcity around the world and what you can do to help
  • Exploring macroinvertebrates and water quality: What small aquatic bugs called macroinvertebrates can tell you about the health of your local lakes and streams

Additionally, those who register will receive a packet of Every Kid Outdoors National Park passes for all 4th and 5th grade students in their classroom, home, or homeschool.

The event is free and open to all, but registration is requested. Fill out the form on the Metro Children’s Water Festival website to be notified when the festival information and resources are available.


Funding available for community-based clean energy projects

Clean Energy Resources Teams (CERTs) have seed grants available for clean energy projects. CERTs is seeking projects that:

Get ready for a clean energy ribbon cutting in your community
  • Support community-based clean energy. including those related to energy conservation and efficiency, renewable energy, electric vehicles, and energy storage.
  • Spur projects that are highly visible in their community and can be replicated by others.
  • Provide an opportunity for community education.

Applications are due October 8. Learn more and apply.

Conferences and trainings

Recap: Hennepin County aquatic invasive species workshop

People in ankle deep water learning about AIS

Photo credit: Paul Raymaker, Bush Lake Izaak Walton League

An aquatic invasive species (AIS) workshop held in late July at the Bush Lake Chapter Izaak Walton League in Bloomington was a great success. Participants learned about early detection of AIS, what to do when AIS is found, as well as identification of AIS. Stay in the loop about future AIS training opportunities through this newsletter and the Hennepin County environmental education network Facebook group.

Nature study meets 3D teaching, Teach Outdoors! Minnesota virtual workshop

Wednesday, September 22 at 4 p.m.

Work as scientists to uncover concepts that connect core ideas in both science and engineering. Experience how easy it can be to add a little EcoTime to your instructional toolkit while implementing the new Minnesota Science Standards…Outdoors of course!

Register here to attend this virtual workshop.


Minnesota Outdoor Skills and Stewardship webinars

Join the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for their Minnesota Outdoors Skills and Stewardship (MOSS) webinars fall series. Webinars take place from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays. The courses are free, but participants are required to pre-register. Some of the fall series topics that may interest members of this network include: 

  • October 20 – Bats of Minnesota: October is Bat Month, so come learn from Melissa Boman, DNR bat researcher, all about Minnesota bats and why many consider them a great backyard visitor.
  • November 17 – Creating Wildlife Habitat in your Woods: Join Kraig Kiger, DNR shooting sports education specialist and his guest from DNR Forestry as they discuss creating wildlife habitat in your woodlands. They will cover some great resources and things you can do to attract more wildlife to your property. 
  • November 24 – Nature Rx: Join Whitewater State Park naturalist, Sara Holger, to learn about the health benefits of getting outdoors in parks, forests and other natural settings. Discover tools and resources to explore parks and greenspaces near you and learn about outdoor recreation opportunities at Minnesota state parks.

Find a full list of trainings and register.

Grants awarded

School recycling grants awarded  

The county recently awarded six school recycling grants totaling over $60,000.

Student sorting their food waste in a cafeteria

These projects will allow schools to expand recycling and organics collection, start composting on-site, and reduce waste from single-use packaging and food service ware.  

Grant recipients include one public school district and five non-public schools. The schools are located in Bloomington, Eden Prairie, New Hope, and Minneapolis. 

Learn about the grants awarded.  

For more information, contact Kira Berglund at


Healthy Tree Canopy grants awarded

The county recently awarded 21 Healthy Tree Canopy grants totaling about $404,000.

Two women in masks planting a tree

Grant projects will take place in nine cities, on 10 affordable housing properties, at four schools, and through five nonprofit organizations, including congregations and neighborhood associations.

The grants will develop a more diverse, resilient, and equitable tree canopy, help achieve the county’s climate action goals, and increase public education about trees.

Many of the grant projects will plant new trees in place of ash trees that have to be removed due to emerald ash borer.

Several schools, including the Ann Bremer Education Center in Plymouth and New Hope Learning Center, will involve students in planting trees and will expand outdoor learning spaces.

More than 1,000 trees will be planted through the grant projects.

Learn about the grants awarded.

For more information, contact

Green Partners grantee highlights and events

The following organizations have received a Hennepin County Green Partners environmental education grant and are busy engaging their audiences in taking action to protect the environment

Project Sweetie Pie Ultimate Garden Party

Saturday, September 25 from noon to 5 p.m.

2210 Emerson Avenue N, Minneapolis, MN 55411

The North Minneapolis-based urban farming network, Project Sweetie Pie, would like to invite the community to their upcoming “Ultimate Garden Party.” The party is open to the public and will feature music, local food vendors, seed and tree giveaways, youth activities, and climate conversations.

Project Sweetie Pie’s locally driven urban farms and gardens are local solutions with global impact, advancing environmental justice in North Minneapolis and providing environmental and public health benefit that include fighting climate change, providing secure and healthy food to marginalized communities, offering public green spaces, and growing local leaders.


Textile waste guide from Tangletown Neighborhood Association

Tangletown Neighborhood Association created a textile waste guide (PDF) with their Green Partners grant. The guide includes a helpful list of things you can read, listen to, and watch to learn more about textile waste. It also includes great resources to help you take action to reduce textile waste.

Be sure to also check out their recorded textile waste webinars. The webinars present information about the textile waste problem and educate on caring for what you have, buying used, and donating with a conscience. 

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