More than 2 ½ tons of leaves and yard waste were collected in Prior Lake’s Memorial Park thanks to 100 volunteers who participated in the second semi-annual Clean Water Clean Up. By collecting the 349 bags of organic waste, volunteers prevented it from washing into storm drains and polluting our waters.
Leaves begin leaching phosphorus after falling from the tree. Unless they are picked up, they can travel through storm drains and begin releasing that phosphorus into our waters. Excess phosphorus causes harmful algae blooms, fish die-offs, and other negative impacts. Recreational activities on lakes can also become difficult or dangerous. Volunteers collected leaves and other organic material from Memorial Park in an effort to prevent this form of water pollution.
The April 26 event was organized by Minnesota GreenCorps member Amber Brooks-Mohler, a member serving the city of Prior Lake. The Minnesota GreenCorps, a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency AmeriCorps program, helps preserve and protect the environment while training a new generation of environmental professionals.
“Our volunteers were incredible,” Amber said. “It was great to see so many members of the community concerned for the environment, especially so many children and families. You could really feel a sense of community.”
Most volunteers were residents of Prior Lake and neighboring communities but some traveled as far as Mankato to participate. Kevin, a volunteer at the event, later tweeted, “It was a great day to volunteer and clean up!”
With rakes and compostable bags, volunteers collect leaves to help protect Minnesota's waters.
As a Minnesota GreenCorps member, Amber planned two clean ups, but the success of Sunday’s event came as a surprise. “I never imagined we would mobilize so many volunteers. It’s great to see so many people who care about the environment,” she said. Five times as many people attended this event than attended the first Clean Water Clean Up in November 2014. “It was a tremendous success, and I can’t thank our volunteers enough for their hard work.”
Amber hopes to obtain a position where she will be involved in environmental education and outreach once her service with the Minnesota GreenCorps ends. “The most rewarding part of my service has been helping members of our community learn about good environmental stewardship,” she said. “I hope to have the opportunity to continue working with the public in my career.
To learn more about the Clean Water Clean Up or see more pictures from the event visit the event’s Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PLstormwater.
What is GreenCorps?
Minnesota GreenCorps is an environmentally focused AmeriCorps program coordinated by the MPCA, which places AmeriCorps members with organizations around the state to spend a year of service addressing critical environmental issues, while gaining experience and learning valuable job skills.
MPCA is planning to place up to 40 full-time members with various host sites for the 2015-2016 program year. Members serve approximately 40 hours a week for 11 months beginning in mid to late September 2015 through August 2016.
For more information
For more information on the program, including descriptions of projects from previous years, please visit www.pca.state.mn.us/mngreencorps.