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), 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 SEEK website: Sharing Environmental Education Knowledge.
- Look for watershed events by finding your local watershed organization though the MPCA's statewide watershed map. To find your watershed, click on contacts for a list of local organizations.
Citizen science programs
Citizen scientists are volunteer data collectors. They observe and record information about the natural world and contribute to a growing need for environmental data.
- MPCA's Lake and Stream Monitoring program
- University of Minnesota’s Monarch Larva Monitoring Project
- DNR’s Minnesota Frog and Toad Survey
- Find many more citizen science programs
Leadership programs for environmental volunteers
- Certified Master Water Stewards
- Minnesota Master Naturalist program
- Minnesota Tree Care Advisors
- Master recycler and composters
Additional ideas and resources for volunteering
- Project Get Outdoors volunteers lead free, after school outdoor clubs for kids.
- Fix-it Clinic volunteers help visitors tinker and fix household items.
- Great River Greening and Friends of the Mississippi River both host restoration events.
- HandsOn Twin Cities provides a searchable database of many types of volunteer opportunities.
- Doing Good Together provides ways for families to build service into their daily life. Check out their picture and chapter booklists to teach kids to care for the earth.
- Minnesota DNR has volunteer opportunities statewide.