Green Notes: Celebrate Arbor Day, AIS prevention successes, International Compost Awareness Week, and more

green notes

Celebrating Arbor Day

Recognizing the climate-fighting power of trees

picture of tree looking up toward its canopy and the sky

This Arbor Day, we’re celebrating the important role that trees play in fighting climate change.

To maximize the benefits that trees provide, the county’s forestry program focuses on growing healthy trees, partnering in large-scale planting events, managing threats to the tree canopy, raising awareness about tree pests and disease, educating the public on the benefits of trees, and supporting partners through the healthy tree canopy grant program.

Trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and store carbon in their wood. The older the tree, the more climate benefits it provides. The shade from trees also lessens the need for cooling in buildings, which reduces carbon dioxide and other pollutants from power plants.

For example, an oak tree with a 20-inch diameter – big enough that an adult could barely wrap their arms around – reduces carbon in the atmosphere by about 1,000 pounds annually. The energy that tree saves is enough to charge your smartphone about 55,000 times!

Trees provide many additional benefits. That same tree near a single-family home provides overall benefits of about $200 per year by increasing the property value, conserving electricity, intercepting and filtering stormwater, and improving air quality. Imagine the benefits multiplying for each tree in your neighborhood!

Learn more about the climate fighting power of trees and find a list of trees that can thrive into the future on Hennepin County's Climate Action website.

Healthy tree canopy grants available

Person with shovel and yellow safety vest planting a tree

Hennepin County has healthy tree canopy grants available for tree plantings, ash tree removals, tree inventories, outreach and more. Grants are available to cities, affordable housing properties, schools, and nonprofit organizations.

Applications are due by 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 9. Learn more and apply.

For more information, feedback on your project ideas, or help with your application, contact the Hennepin County forestry team at

New GIS story map for tree and natural resource grant projects

GIS map

Hennepin County has a new GIS story map to highlight successful tree and natural resource grant-funded projects. The story map connects places to project stories in a compelling and interactive format.

The new GIS story map provides ideas and inspiration for future projects. Applications for good steward natural resource grants will be available in fall 2022. Eventually, the site will expand to include more stories about the county’s environmental grant-funded programs.

Arbor Day events

There are still several events throughout the county scheduled for this weekend and next week where you can volunteer and celebrate Arbor Day!

We have events listed on our website along with a locater map.

Get outside and enjoy!

Aquatic invasive species prevention successes

In 2017 Hennepin County piloted boat cleaning stations at public boat accesses to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. The pilot was a success that resulted in there now being 198 total cleaning stations at boat accesses within Hennepin County. Hennepin County staff, partners and the public gathered at Bush Lake in Bloomington to celebrate 100,000 tool uses by the public countywide at CD3 cleaning stations and learn about other efforts to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Boaters use the CD3 cleaning stations to learn the best management practices of cleaning, draining, drying and disposing of bait (CD3). The stations include compressed air, a wet/dry vacuum, marine lights and a series of low-tech, cable-tethered tools to help remove plants and other organisms from their boats, trailers, and equipment. Several different tools are available depending on the station.

CD3 boat cleaning station


The success of the CD3 cleaning stations is a testament to our boating public, understanding the Clean, Drain, Dry, Dispose actions and how taking these simple actions help protect all the wonderful water resources we have in Hennepin County that are worth protecting.

“The clarity of Bush Lake has fluctuated in the 27 years I’ve lived on the lake, but it has improved in recent years with projects that have happened around the lake including removing invasive buckthorn, planting native prairie plants, and the addition of the CD3 station. I’m proud of the work that has been done and happy my lake is healthy,” said Tim Olish, Bush Lake Izaak Walton League.

Two certificates were given to honor aquatic invasive species prevention work. Stu Peterson (pictured) received a certificate for providing exemplary service of CD3 stations. Camille Will received a certificate for going above and beyond with access inspections at Bush Lake.

collage of CD3 aquatic invasive species prevention event


Nine Mile Creek Watershed District brought their AIS Junior Inspectors pop up cart (pictured) out to the celebration and it’s the first event the trailer has been at since 2019! This trailer includes a game that allows kids to inspect a truck, trailer and boat for aquatic invasive species that are hiding and become a Junior Inspector.

Interested in getting involved in aquatic invasive species prevention?

For information about volunteering with the aquatic invasive species prevention program, contact Tony Brough at or 612-348-4378.

Become an AIS Early Detector

The University of Minnesota Extension is offering its annual AIS Early Detector’s Course. There are several sessions available in late April and May, some virtual and some classroom. Make sure you choose the Community Member (“Comm Memb”) option as the ones labeled “Pro” are for professionals.

Cost: $195 (scholarships available)

Learn more and register.

International Compost Awareness Week

May 1-7, 2022

compost awareness week flyer

The week of May 1-7 is International Compost Awareness Week. During that week, Hennepin County is delivering free compost to schools with organics programs to show appreciation for their efforts to collect organics. The compost will be used in school gardens to “close the loop” for the schools that helped generate it.

Composting is one of the best opportunities to reduce our trash – about 25 percent what we throw away is organic materials like food scraps and compostable paper that could be put to better use as compost.


Free backyard composting webinars

person putting compost into a garden

Register for a free webinar hosted by Hennepin County to learn how to set up your compost pile, what materials you can compost, how to get the mix right, and more.

Webinar dates:

There is no charge to sign up, but registration is required.

Learn more about backyard composting.

Become a Master Recycler/Composter volunteer

Master recycler talking to a kid at an outdoor event

If you are looking for ways to volunteer in your community, consider becoming a Master Recycler/Composter! The summer Master Recycler/Composter class will be held every Wednesday at 6 to 8 p.m. from May 18 through June 22.

The application is open now and will close at 11:59 p.m. on May 6, 2022. Applicants will be notified whether they are accepted into the class by the end of the day on May 11, 2022.

Learn more about the program and fill out your application.

Community Connections Conference on May 21 in Minneapolis

The Northside and Southside Green Zone Task Forces of Minneapolis are hosting an environmental justice Green Zone Summit at the Community Connections Conference on Saturday, May 21, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Hennepin County’s recycling advisors will table at the event to gather ideas from participants on how to best advance a zero-waste future and share waste reduction and recycling education resources. Staff will also present information about the development of the Zero Waste Plan in a community-led session focused on waste.

Community organization leaders will talk about what they’ve learned from their community about how to improve recycling and reduce trash and share the community-driven projects they are planning for the summer and fall. All are encouraged to attend.

Register on the City website.

Rethos Deconstruction Masterclass in May

Contractors in safety vests and hats deconstructing a building

This May, Rethos is hosting a three-part webinar series about the economic, environmental, and cultural values of building deconstruction. Learn from leading experts in architecture, government, construction, historic preservation, and salvage, including a presentation from Hennepin County staff at the May 4 session. The series is free and open to all.

Green tip: Adopt-A-Drain

Woman in safety vest crouching next to an adopted storm drain

Hennepin County residents have prevented thousands of pounds of algae from growing in our lakes and streams by doing this one simple thing: adopting a storm drain!

Trash and decaying organic debris like fallen leaves are harmful to lakes, rivers, and streams. As leaves decompose, the resulting nutrients fuel algae growth. The unsightly algae blooms can cover the surface of polluted lakes, sucking oxygen out of the water and choking fish and native plants. Keeping leaves and other pollution out of our storm drains helps keep our lakes and rivers clean and clear.

Since the start of the Adopt-a-Drain program, over 9,400 people have adopted drains throughout Minnesota and collectively prevented 470,000 pounds of pollution from getting into our waters. This is the largest community engagement program of its type in the entire United States!

Getting involved is simple and only takes a few minutes. Just follow these steps:

  1. Adopt an available storm drain near you at
  2. Gather the tools you'll need. These might include: gloves, rake, trash grabber, dust pan, safety vest, bins for separating waste, yard and/or trash bag.
  3. Collect and separate trash and recycling from the area around your adopted drain. To learn how to sort the litter you clean up, refer to the waste sort guide (PDF).
  4. Rake or sweep up leaves, sediment, and sticks and place in compost or yard waste bag.
  5. Report the debris you collect on

Adopt a Drain and get Twins tickets for $15!

The Adopt-a-Drain program is close to hitting a major milestone: 10,000 storm drain adopters in Minnesota! You're invited to celebrate with us and other adopters at a Minnesota Twins game on Sunday, May 15 at 1 p.m.

Adopt a storm drain at and you will receive a link to purchase tickets at the reduced rate of $15. All storm drain adopters at the event will also receive a free Adopt-a-Drain baseball cap! We hope to see you at the game!

To learn more and sign up, visit

About Green Notes

GreenNotes covers environmental news, programs and events from Hennepin County.

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