Launched in 2009, Minnesota GreenCorps is a statewide program to help preserve and protect Minnesota’s environment while training a new generation of environmental professionals. This program places AmeriCorps members with local governments, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations around Minnesota, where they will serve for 11 months on focused environmental projects. The program is coordinated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
Minnesota GreenCorps is an AmeriCorps program. Funding is provided through a grant from ServeMinnesota and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Including the current program year, more than 75 AmeriCorps members have served with 46 organizations across the state. Former and current host site organizations include cities, counties, public schools, universities, watershed districts, and non-profit organizations.
Some results from the first two years of the program include:
- More than 20,000 community members engaged or educated by Minnesota GreenCorps members
- 11-57 percent increase in recycling at participating schools
- 48,187 trees inventoried
- 397,296 kWh avoided
- More than 90 green practices and technologies implemented by participating sites and partners
In the first two years of the program, our members have mobilized over 2,600 community volunteers on service projects around the state, including assistance with environmental fairs, community cleanups, waste sorts, tree inventory/citizen foresters, invasive species removal, tree plantings, gardening, rain garden building.
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Currently there are 28 Minnesota GreenCorps members serving at 25 host sites around the state.
2012: Member - Laurie Jones
Waste Prevention and Recycling member serving at Three Rivers Park District
About me. I grew up in Seattle, Wash., and graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1976 with a BA in Recreation and Education. After I moved to Minneapolis, I looked into getting a teaching degree and working in Special Education. I also enjoyed working outside and found a job with Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board. I worked in the maintenance division for many years as a Park keeper at Linden Hills Park. Over the last two years I was an active and enthusiastic member of the Waste Management and Recycling Committee. I had an “aha” moment after I read about a local school waste study that reported that 78% of their trash was compostable and recyclable. From that moment on I was hooked! The potential at the schools was just the tip of the iceberg. I spent many Saturdays in the library researching recycling programs and resources. I made cold calls to Three Rivers Park District, the Minneapolis Downtown Council, and the Minneapolis Convention Center to find out what other organizations were doing. Everyone I talked with was in the process of improving their recycling programs, and was excited to share information and resources.
About my service. As a Waste Prevention and Recycling member serving at Three Rivers Park District, I am excited to be involved with an organization that has made sustainability a top priority. I have been educating volunteers and the public about zero-waste events. The first zero-waste event I was involved with was the Autumn Woods Classic 10K Race at Elm Creek Park Reserve: the total weight of the trash was 12.4 lbs, or just 0.13 ounce per participant, much less than the 1 ounce per participant requirement for a zero-waste event. Currently, I am working on creating a Zero-waste Reference Guide for park district staff. I will be working on projects to add food waste composting to the campground in Baker Park Reserve, the Ski Chalet at Elm Creek, Eastman Nature Center, and Cleary Concessions at Cleary Lake Regional Park. To prepare for this, I have started researching campgrounds across the country that offer food waste composting.
Why I serve. When I worked on the Waste Management and Recycling committee at the Minneapolis Park Board, I had a great opportunity to work with a 2011 GreenCorps member on two waste sorts and a project implementing composting. I thoroughly enjoyed working on improving recycling programs at the park. As I was planning to retire from the Minneapolis Park Board, I applied and was selected for a Minnesota GreenCorps Member position. This is such a great opportunity for me to give back to the community by working to expand and improve the recycling programs at Three Rivers Park District. I also hope to gain skills and experience that will help me transition to a career in environmental field.