The City of Edina has long served as a resource for its residents when it comes to climate policies and goals, but more recently it has created a lot of energy by partnering with those residents to take climate action. Heidi Blum put that energy into action as a Minnesota GreenCorps member with a focus on waste reduction, recycling, and organics management.
In her 11-month role with Edina, she gave presentations to schools and community groups on recycling and organics, conducted family art classes to make countertop organics bins, organized community events like clothing swaps with a reuse fashion show, tabled at farmers markets, and managed multi-family waste reduction initiatives.
For the latter, she connected with owners of multi-family properties in Edina to see how their traditional recycling was going, asked if they would like help starting organics recycling on site, and offered free county resources to help them be more successful. Of the 219 property owners who Heidi contacted, 94 accepted recycling assistance and showed an interest in starting organics collection. This successful campaign started dialogue with multi-family residents that will result in increased recycling and potential organics diversion in the future.
"As my Minnesota GreenCorps service has continued, I really feel that I am growing in confidence, skills, and knowledge," Blum says. "I attribute this growth to my host site supervisor, who let me be creative and encouraged me to participate in many different opportunities during my service term. This included tours, working on committee groups for the city, public speaking, taking classes like the community recycling ambassador certification series, attending volunteer activities, and developing events. I now feel that I really do have the knowledge and skills to affect change in the community. I am also seeing that community members now see me as a resource and a partner in climate action."
This year, Minnesota GreenCorps will select up to 58 sites to host full-time members across the state. Members help host organizations build capacity and community resilience for a changing climate by addressing disproportionate impacts of pollution, encouraging energy conservation and green transportation, supporting stormwater and forestry best practices, preventing waste, and providing education about eco-friendly behavior. In exchange, host organizations supervise members and support them in their community-focused environmental projects.
Eligible organizations — including local government entities, tribal nations, school districts, public education institutions, and nonprofits — can apply now through March 13 to host Minnesota GreenCorps members. Members serve for 11 months, from September 2024 to August 2025. To learn more about Minnesota GreenCorps and to apply to become a host site, visit https://www.pca.state.mn.us/mngreencorps.