Living Green 365: Get involved

Having trouble viewing this message? View it as a webpage.


Living Green 365

Working together for healthy communities

The responsibility to protect and restore Minnesota’s land, water, and air falls on all of us, not just environmental professionals. In fact, it's the combination of many of us, outside of our paid work, that can have the greatest impact. Plus, did you know that volunteering is linked to happiness, health, and career benefits?

In celebration of Earth Day (April 22) and Gov. Dayton's Water Action Week (April 18-22), we invite you to find a way to give to your community through volunteerism and service. Pick a DIY project, one-time event, or a supported program that creates community among volunteers. Start small and add effort where you find reward and joy.

Simple, fun activities you can do on your own:

  • Pick up trash in your neighborhood.
  • Sweep up trash, leaves, and dirt around the storm drains on your street.  
  • Dedicate a row in your garden for the local food shelf.
  • Organize a swapping party for clothes, toys, or books.
  • Help a neighbor in need with outdoor chores that benefit the environment, like picking up pet waste, bringing yard waste to the compost site, or turning the compost pile.

Earth Day and watershed events:

  • Look for regional events on the MPCA's SEEK website
  • Look for watershed events by finding your local watershed organization though the MPCA's statewide watershed map. Find your watershed; click on contacts for a list of local organizations; visit their websites or join their mailing lists and watch for events or volunteer opportunities.

Citizen science programs (volunteer data collectors):

Leadership programs for environmental volunteers:

AmeriCorps programs:

Additional ideas and resources for volutneering:

Minnesota GreenCorps: Service for the enviornment

Minnesota GreenCorps

Minnesota GreenCorps is a statewide program to help preserve and protect Minnesota’s environment while training a new generation of environmental professionals.

Member applications for the 2016-2017 program year is anticipated to open in late April. Visit the Minnesota GreenCorps website for information and to sign up for an email when applications are released.

Minnesota GreenCorps provides members with practical, structured, and focused professional experiences, helping them qualify for green jobs upon the completion of their service. Members receive high quality guidance, mentoring, and training from professionals in the environmental field.

Data from the Minnesota GreenCorps program evaluation shows that "a large majority of members over the first four years of the program (80%) have gone on to employment or education directly or somewhat related to the environment or sustainability issues. Seventy-eight percent of alumni said their time in Minnesota GreenCorps played a role in helping them get their desired job".

The program year begins in mid to late September and operates through August. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) plans to place up to 40 full-time members with various host sites for each program year. Members serve approximately 40 hours a week for 11 months.

Each member will serve on a project in one of four focus areas:

  • Air quality (energy conservation, green transportation)
  • Green infrastructure (stormwater, local foods, urban forestry)
  • Waste prevention and recycling
  • Living Green outreach

Each focus area is led by an expert in the field. This topic lead also serves as a resource for members and host sites throughout the service year.

Kate Seybold: Serving up local foods


Kate Seybold is a member of the Minnesota GreenCorps program. Here, she talks about how her service is contributing to Minnesota's local food movement and how she is growing professionally.

I serve as a GreenCorps Member with the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) Culinary and Nutrition Services. We serve just under 40,000 meals each day at 73 different schools in Minneapolis. We strive to offer fresh, local, seasonal foods and scratch-cooked food as often as possible, and we help teach students how to be healthy and mindful eaters.

Some of my projects include:

  • Promoting Minnesota Thursdays, a monthly meal made of entirely locally-sourced meals at all of our schools.
  • Coordinating True Food Taste Tests, which expose students to new, flavorful menu items and encourage them to think critically about their food.
  • Visiting classrooms  to talk about local food and healthy, seasonal eating.
  • Supporting school gardens and managing a large garden at the Nutrition Center, which supplies fresh produce that we distribute for free on our food truck in the summer and share with staff.

I love what I do because no two days are ever the same and I see the value of my work reflected in my interactions with students. There is nothing more exciting and rewarding as having a student ask for a second serving of local apple kohlrabi slaw, or watching a class learn how to harvest leeks in a garden.

Through my work with MPS Culinary and Nutrition Services, I am developing a diverse set of professional skills, and building a strong network within the local food realm. Each day, I learn more about what it takes to provide fresh and local food to students, how to help build sustainable communities with healthy food and healthy people, and what career path I’d like to follow after this year to continue working with local food.

Thank you for reading Living Green 365. This newsletter is a publication of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Please send questions or comments about living green to the address below.


Britt Gangeness and the Living Green Team