Nine communities throughout Minnesota got help with outdoor projects during April-October 2017 from a partnership between the MPCA and Conservation Corps Minnesota. Small teams of 15- to 18-year-olds, with young adult crew leaders, worked on planting projects and park installations that will build social connectedness and help strengthen these communities’ resilience to climate change.
Outcomes from the combined projects include more than 2,000 trees/shrubs/perennials planted. Seven stormwater BMPs were installed that will capture or infiltrate 1900+ gallons of rainwater per major storm event. Five acres of public land were improved with erosion control and slope stabilization, and two acres with exotic/invasive species management.
- Ada: Assisted public works staff to assemble and install playground equipment in a city park.
- Chisholm: Created new planting beds along the edge of a city park to reduce stormwater runoff, help with child safety, support local pollinators, and enhance the greenspace for community use.
- Lindstrom: Improved green space on steep slopes along channel area between two city lakes by planting trees, shrubs and pollinators.
- Parkers Prairie: Installed trees, shrubs, pollinator plants, and other perennials in large in-ground planters lining the downtown main street and in front of City Hall in Parkers Prairie.
- Richfield: Constructed five retaining walls along park trails to prevent erosion, completed a pervious paver walkway in a garden, installed signage, and improved the stockade to prevent marsh contamination at Wood Lake Nature Center.
- Rushford: Improved walking/hiking trails to promote outdoor activity on their bluff. Planted shade trees, apple trees and perennials, and enhanced the picnic area in the city park.
- Saint Paul: Constructed a gravel bed nursery in the spring to raise resilient bare root trees at the Dayton’s Bluff Recreation Center, then transplanted the trees in the fall to the public boulevards surrounding the park.
- City of Winona: Constructed wave barriers (burlap filled with cleared brush of invasive species) to protect new shoreline plantings.
- Winona County: Replaced invasive species with native perennials in planting beds bordering county offices.
The crews receive a weekly stipend for their service. They participate in daily science education – including lessons on climate change and adaptation – and career-development activities with crew leaders.
For more information, contact Laura Millberg, MPCA-RMA Community and Business Sustainability Unit.
Here's what some of the communities said about their projects:
City of Chisholm: “Thank you again for getting us the work crew on the exact dates we needed them. They were such a big help on our project!”
“Thanks very much for this very hard working crew. They did a great job. Three days of hard work and much appreciation from the City of Lindstrom.”
Parkers Prairie: “It was such a pleasure working with this fine group of young people; they were positive, energetic, and motivated! It was super-hot outside and these folks came all three days excited and ready to work.”