January Environmental education news: apply for grants, provide input on a grant pilot, register for trainings, check out a new StoryMap

environmental education news

Join us virtually to give your input on the Green Partners youth green jobs grant program pilot

Thursday, February 3 from 3 to 5 p.m.

Virtual meeting – register here

Hennepin County is piloting a dedicated youth green jobs grant opportunity through the Green Partners grant program in 2022. The goal of this pilot is to invest in green jobs education and training programs for youth, especially those geared toward youth that face racial and other social barriers.

Join us at a virtual meeting to provide input on the grant program structure and guidelines before it launches later this year. The meeting will be an opportunity to:

  • Hear what the county learned from surveys with youth green job providers, environmental educators, and youth.
  • Discuss the survey findings and share you own experiences.
  • Learn about the draft guidelines for the pilot youth green jobs grant program.
  • Provide feedback on the draft guidelines and program structure.

Bin and compostable bag grants available

Recycling and organics bins sit next to each other with labels on each showing what goes in each bin.

Hennepin County is providing free resources and assistance for nonprofit organizations and small businesses to start or improve recycling and organics recycling. Applicants may select up to $3,000 worth of containers and compostable bags from the county's product list. Review the 2022 Business recycling bin and compostable bag grant guidelines (PDF) and grant flyer (PDF) for details.

Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis until Monday, November 14, 2022, or until the annual program budget is exhausted, whichever occurs first.

Visit the business recycling page to learn more and apply.

Apply for funding for waste prevention projects

Hennepin County is funding projects that prevent waste at nonprofit organizations and businesses. Areas of focus include replacing disposables with reusables, food waste prevention and innovative projects around research and development (to prevent waste). Review the 2022 waste prevention grant guidelines (PDF) and the grant flyer (PDF) for details on this grant program.

Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis until Monday, November 14, 2022, or until the annual program budget is exhausted, whichever occurs first.

Learn more and apply at hennepin.us/businesswasteprevention

Join Hennepin County’s Plastic-Free Challenge and take action to help create a plastic-free world

I joined the Plastic-Free Challenge to be a leader in my community. Be part of the solution: join me in the plastic-free challenge

Plastics are problematic for many reasons. Using less plastic helps to reduce waste, protect water and wildlife, address climate change, and look after the health of ourselves and future generations.

Hennepin County is encouraging partners and residents to be part of the solution by joining the Plastic-Free Challenge this February and committing to actions that help create a plastic-free world.


Spread the word and encourage others to join

Help spread the word by:

  • Using the media kit and graphics posted on the resources page to promote the challenge through your communication channels.
  • Creating a team to take the challenge along with your family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.
  • Becoming a Plastic-Free Challenge Partner.

Community science

Environmental Protection Agency’s new citizen science StoryMap

Citizen science participants takes water quality sample from a stream while wearing a mask


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a StoryMap highlighting projects that support environmental monitoring. Many of the projects feature collaborations with communities with environmental justice concerns.

Sections include:

  • Environmental justice
  • Community water quality
  • Community air quality
  • STEM education
  • State and tribal partners
  • EPA resources

Our very own Wetland Health Evaluation Program (WHEP) is featured in the community water quality section!

Workshops and events from Green Partners grantees

The following organizations received a Hennepin County Green Partners grant. The Green Partners grant program supports the county’s goals of promoting environmental stewardship, engaging communities, enhancing quality of life, and protecting the environment for current and future generations. The grants provide training, support, and funding to organizations to implement projects that engage residents to protect and improve the environment.


Off the Blue Couch and Rusty & the Crew offers recycling workshops for BIPOC community members

Online trainings on recycling and organics basics

Rusty & the Crew with a smiling paper bag mascot

These trainings cover recycling and organics basics along with the connection to climate change and health disparities in BIPOC communities.

  • Monday, January 24 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Monday, March 21 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Learn more and find links to join the trainings via Zoom on the Rusty & Crew Facebook page.

Waste station setup

Waste station setup includes a home visit from The Crew. During the visit, they will help you set up your waste station and provide tools to get started with recycling and organics recycling.

  • Friday, February 18 between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 16 between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Learn more and request a waste station setup on the Rusty & Crew Facebook page.


Tangletown Neighborhood Association low waste living event series 

Tangletown Neighborhood Association logo

Tangletown Neighborhood Association is hosting a series of virtual events focused on reducing food waste. Learn reduction strategies, sustainable kitchen and cooking practices, and organics recycling tips and tricks. 

Plan, shop, store: creative ways to reduce your food waste

Saturday, January 29 at 10:30 a.m.

This virtual event will focus on how to modify your shopping habits and food storage to create less food waste. You will leave with concrete techniques for reducing your waste through better planning, shopping with a different lens, and modifying how you store and utilize food throughout the week. Learn more and register.

New tips for cooking to reduce food waste

Wednesday, February 16 at 7 p.m.

This session will virtually bring you into the kitchen and share recipes for using up foods before they go to waste. It will also include a cooking demonstration featuring Chow Girls Executive Chef, Liz Mullen. There will be a live question and answer segment where you can ask your food waste challenge questions. Learn more and register.

Organics recycling made easy workshop

Thursday, March 31 at 7 p.m.

Learn tips and tricks for simplifying organics recycling in your home. This session is a great fit whether you have already gotten an organics bin, are considering getting one, or are hoping to utilize drop sites for your organics. Andrea Siegel, a Hennepin County Master Recycler Composter, will be presenting and will also help to tie your individual actions to the larger picture of combatting climate change. Learn more and register.

Trainings and professional development

Join Climate Generation's Teach Climate Network

Climate Generation’s Teach Climate Network offers resources, curriculum, and networking opportunities in their online Hub each month. Dive into the Hub to get resources about advocating for youth power. Don’t have access to the Hub? Sign up for the Network to get your unique login and password. There is no cost to join.


Dismantling systematic racism and injustice

Wednesday, January 19 from noon to 1 p.m.

Climate Generation’s Teach Climate Network is hosting this virtual training where Zakhia Grant from EcoRise will present on strategies and tools to support teachers, students, and community members when teaching about environmental justice. Environmental justice lessons create a foundation for understanding of environmental justice history and concepts and explore how leadership, community action, and policy change can bring long-overdue justice. Register here.


Natural Start Alliance winter early learning virtual conference

January 24 to 28

Special winter event. Save the date! Open to all 2021 Conference registrants.

The Natural Start Alliance is hosting a winter virtual conference event in connection with their 2021 Nature-Based Early Learning Conference. The winter event features live sessions and a bonus site tour that showcases Schlitz Audubon Nature Preschool in downtown Milwaukee, WI.

If you’ve registered for year-long access to the 2021 Nature-Based Early Learning Conference, you already have access to the winter event. Access to more than 110 on-demand sessions lasts until July 1, 2022. Learn more and register.


Youth Climate Justice Summit

February 25 and 26

Screen shot of 2021 virtual summit participants


The Youth Climate Justice Summit, hosted by Climate Generation’s Youth Environmental Activists (YEA!) program, is a day of youth action, learning, and a chance to directly participate in government.

Youth can join workshops led by youth and partners in the movement for climate justice. Meet with Minnesota legislators that represent your district to talk with them about what matters to you. Join the YEA! Network campaign for climate justice education and learn how you can support other efforts to transition to a thriving climate future. Plus, meet youth from across the country and discuss how to make change in your communities!

Register here.

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