Attend the network meeting on Thursday evening, become a Stop Food Waste Challenge partner, access climate change resources, attend conferences, and more

environmental education news

Reminder: environmental education virtual network meeting

Thursday, June 16 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. with optional networking from 6:30 to 7 p.m.

Environmental education network meeting


Bring your dinner and join us online this Thursday to learn all about food waste and how to engage audiences in this important topic.

Even though we love food, a surprising amount of it goes to waste. About 40% of food is wasted somewhere along the supply chain in the U.S., and much of that food waste happens at home.

The virtual network meeting will cover:

  • What we know about food waste and people’s barriers and motivations for taking action.
  • Activities and resources to engage audiences in learning about and reducing food waste.
  • The county’s upcoming Stop Food Waste Challenge and partnership opportunities.

Register now.

Become a 2022 Stop Food Waste Challenge Partner

Proud to be a Stop Food Waste Challenge Partner

Hennepin County is working to reduce food waste as part of achieving our zero waste and climate action goals. As part of this effort, Hennepin County offers the Stop Food Waste Challenge to engage residents in learning easy, practical skills that will help prevent wasted food, save money, and create a healthier environment. Taking steps to reduce food waste is one of the most important actions we can take to address climate change.

But we can’t do it alone!

For the upcoming Stop Food Waste Challenge, which will run in August 2022, Hennepin County is seeking partners to help increase promotion, recruitment, and engagement for the challenge.

All partners will have their logo displayed on the challenge website, gain access to promotional materials, and get various recognition and cross-promotion during the challenge. There is no cost to becoming a partner.

Partnership opportunities

  • Expanding our reach by promoting the challenge to your audiences.
  • Strengthening engagement in the challenge by creating teams of colleagues, friends, and neighbors who motivate and hold each other accountable.
  • Increase our impact by offering educational events on food waste prevention topics.

See the Stop Food Waste Challenge partnership guide (PDF) for details on partnership opportunities, and fill out the partnership form to become a partner.

Download media kits and graphics including sample newsletter articles, social media posts, and posters on the Stop Food Waste Challenge resources page.

Climate change and energy resources


New translated energy resource guides from Clean Energy Resource Teams

Clean Energy Resource Teams translated their Home Energy Guides and Right Light Guide to reach more Minnesotans.

Cover images of translated guides

Home Energy Guides provide ways for renters, landlords, and owners of single family or manufactured homes to be comfortable, safe, and efficient. The guides are now available in English, Hmong, S'gaw Karen, Somali, Spanish.

The Right Light Guide helps people learn about energy efficient LED bulbs and guides them to make the right choice. The guide is now available in English (PDF), Hmong (PDF), and Spanish (PDF).


Commuting 101

Thursday, June 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Want to learn more about how to engage your community in using public transit but need information and education tools? Join Move Minneapolis at Commuting 101 on June 16 at Nicollet Mall between 5th and 6th Street next to the Nicollet Mall farmers market. Come ask questions, find your bus route, or try a Nice Ride e-bike and Lyft scooter for free. Commuting 101 is the first step for an easier, healthier, less expensive, and cleaner way to get to work.


Webinar recording: climate emotions in education

7 core strategies for coping with climate emotions

Education about climate change and environmental problems can elicit feelings of anxiety, grief, anger, and hopelessness in students. Learn how to educate students about pressing environmental problems, including intersections with social justice issues, in a way that facilitates emotional resilience and empowers them to take action in this recent webinar hosted by the North American Association for Environmental Educators.

Watch the one-hour webinar recording.

Conferences, events, and learning opportunities


Upcoming Minnesota Water Steward events

Minnesota Water Stewards is a program that certifies and supports community leaders to prevent water pollution and educate community members to conserve and protect our waterways. The program is a partnership between Freshwater and participating cities, counties, watershed management organizations, and nonprofit organizations. This year, Hennepin County is sponsoring eight residents to become Minnesota Water Stewards.

Overland Lane rain garden workshop and planting event

Dragonfly on plant

Saturday, June 18 starting at 9 a.m.

Join Minnesota Water Stewards, Julie and Sheri, at 2135 Overland Lane in Mound to learn about the benefits of rain gardens in keeping pollutants out of lakes and streams, help plant the garden, and enjoy good company and food. Coffee and lunch will be served. Planting begins at 9:30 a.m. Bring a shovel and gloves if possible. No RSVP is necessary.


Songs for Water summer solstice concert

Tuesday, June 21 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis

Celebrate the work of Minnesota Water Stewards to protect the health of our water at the Songs for Water summer solstice concert, hosted by Hennepin County artist and Minnesota Water Steward, Mary Traxler.


Introduction to nature journaling

Two online sessions: Tuesday, June 21 and Thursday, June 23 from 3 to 5 p.m.

How to Teach Nature Journaling book cover

Learn to lead and sustain an inquiry-based, interdisciplinary nature journaling experience. Participants will receive a copy of How to Teach Nature Journaling by Emilie Lygren and John Muir Laws plus access to exclusive content and the opportunity to meet new people.

Registration fee: $75. Learn more and register.


Reuse Minnesota conference call for presenters

Applications due Wednesday, June 22

Applications to be a speaker at the upcoming Reuse Minnesota conference are currently being accepted. Applicants are invited to tailor their presentation to include a look back at the past but with a focus for the future. Reuse Minnesota welcomes submittals of proposals for individual speaker presentations, moderated panels, plenary sessions, and engaging discussions.

Learn more and apply.

REUSE22, Minneapolis, MN; October 3 to 4, 2022


Wayzata Sailing educates about aquatic invasive species with the help of a grant from Hennepin County

Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sail boats with AIS imagery painted on their sails


Wayzata Sailing received aquatic invasive species prevention grants from Hennepin County in 2021 and 2022 to work with artists to create sails to educate the public about aquatic invasive species (AIS).

This art installation intends to create long lasting and widespread awareness of AIS on Lake Minnetonka and in the surrounding community. Twenty sails that highlight AIS issues have been created by local and diverse artists and can be viewed while taking a free sailboat ride at the Wayzata Art Experience.


Pollinator capture and release sampling field days

Join Great River Greening, with the support of Scott County, U of M Extension Bee Lab, and the Xerces Society for a free, hands-on pollinator capture and release sampling field day. Participants will get experience with capture and release practices and pollinator identification. Sampling field days will take place on multiple days throughout the summer to gain a better understanding of how pollinator populations are responding to restoration efforts.

Field days are scheduled at Spring Lake Regional Park in Hastings for:

  • Thursday, July 7 from 1 to 3 p.m.
  • Tuesday, August 9 from 10 a.m. to noon
  • Thursday, August 25 from 1 to 3 p.m.

A field day is scheduled at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan on:

  • Saturday, July 9 from 9 to 11 a.m.

Learn more and register.


Nature-Based Early Learning hybrid conference

Wednesday, July 27 to Saturday, July 30

Join us in Cincinnati or Join us online. Natstart22

Registration is open for the largest national gathering of nature-based early education professionals!

This year’s Nature-Based Early Learning Conference is hybrid, giving attendees two ways to join the event: in-person in Cincinnati or online.

In-person attendees have access to workshops, site tours of high-quality nature-based programs in Cincinnati, interactive indoor and outdoor sessions, networking, and high-impact plenaries. Online attendees have access to live-streamed plenaries, select live online sessions, a live online workshop, and access to 50+ on-demand sessions until July 2023.

Learn more and register.


Webinar recording: backyard composting

Screen shot of webinar

Educate your audiences about composting by sharing this one-hour webinar recording from Hennepin County’s Composting & Recycling Specialist, Kira Berglund. This recording could be a good option to utilize before a composting experience in the garden.

Composting is one of the best opportunities to reduce our trash - about 19% of what we throw away is food, and things like fruit and vegetable scraps can be composted right in our gardens! This webinar shares tips for how to set up a compost pile, what materials can be composted, how to get the mix right, and more. Watch the webinar recording.

Additional composting resources

Green jobs and funding opportunities


Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge environmental education teaching internship

The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is hiring four, full-time, one-year paid Environmental Education Teaching Interns. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, July 5.

Educators will receive training in current outdoor learning practices and interpretation while working alongside U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff to learn about the field of conservation.

Learn more and apply.


E-STEM grants and awards

Pratt & Whitney E-STEM awards. Children planting trees and building robots.

The North American Association for Environmental Education has joined Pratt & Whitney (an aerospace manufacturing company) in its quest to inspire the next generation of E-STEM innovators around the world.

Through the Pratt & Whitney Global E-STEM Awards, nonprofits get recognized for their work to build skills and capacity for students ages 11 to 18 to use science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to address environmental challenges. Up to $15,000 of funding is available for nonprofits through the Global E-STEM Innovation grants program, and up to $50,000 is available through the E-STEM Excellence Prize awards. Applications are open now through July 11. Learn more.


Building reuse grant funding available

Building under construction

When it’s time to remodel or demolish a building, many materials have the potential to be reused or recycled. In fact, about 85% of the materials in a typical demolition project could be salvaged for reuse and kept out of the landfills through practices like deconstruction and structural moves.

In addition, incorporating used building materials into remodeling projects helps “close the loop” by giving materials new life and avoids the impacts of new materials.

Types of grants available

Hennepin County has funding available for the following projects that reuse and recycle building materials:

  • Commercial deconstruction grants: Funding for commercial properties, including multifamily apartment buildings over four units, to deconstruct building materials for reuse. See the commercial deconstruction flyer (PDF) for more information.
  • Structural move grants: Funding to physically relocate a building to another location, avoiding demolition waste and preserving the cultural and historical integrity of the building. See the structural move flyer (PDF) for more information.
  • Used building material installation grants: A new grant to “close the loop” by funding remodeling, renovation, and new construction projects that incorporate used building materials into project designs. See the used building material installation flyer (PDF) for more information.

Apply for a building reuse grant

Applicants must be a property owner or developer in Hennepin County to apply for grants. Projects must meet the reuse and disposal criteria.

See building reuse grants eligibility for more details on project eligibility and to complete an application.

For more information, contact Olivia Cashman at

Promote building reuse grants

Use social media posts and newsletter articles in this media kit (DOCX) to promote this grant opportunity to your audiences. 


Bin and compostable bag grants available

Recycling, organics, and trash bins

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 grant guidelines (PDF) and grant flyer (PDF) for details.

Visit the business recycling page to learn more and apply.

Workshops and trainings 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.


Rethos hosts free home weatherization workshop

Neighborhood block of historic homes

Rethos, a regional nonprofit that advocates for the reuse and repair of old buildings, will be offering six free home weatherization and energy efficiency workshops (PDF) to residents of Hennepin County in 2022. Workshops will teach homeowners, renters, and caretakers of old buildings how to maximize energy efficiency in their residences, saving money and prolonging the life of their homes.

Upcoming workshop:

Seasonal Home Maintenance Tips: Tuesday, July 19 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Hosmer Library


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

Learn more about all events on the Rusty & the Crew website.

Online trainings on recycling and organics basics

Monday, July 25 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

This training covers recycling and organics basics along with the connection to climate change and health disparities in BIPOC communities.


Waste station setup

Thursday, June 23 between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

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.


Gardening and community cleanup day

Saturday, June 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Gardening starts at the JACC Garden at 26th and Knox Ave. N. and runs from 9 a.m. to noon. The community cleanup runs from noon to 3 p.m. and the hub is 3119 Irving Ave. N.

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