See St. Paul-based Great River Greening for assistance in working with volunteers, and Sentencing to Service for a court alternative that puts carefully selected, nonviolent offenders to work on community improvement projects.
Friends of the Parks in Duluth is a good example of delivering, among other benefits, cost savings to a city from the use of volunteers.
Promote or coordinate a citizen science program. Use the SciStarter project finder to find an activity that will help your community.
Create an annual event (can be in cooperation with other organizations) or ongoing 'adopt a park' effort for volunteer trash cleanup of open space, buckthorn removal, etc. for parks or selected public open space areas. Report gardens plots in city parks under BP 27.3
In addition to cleanup and removal of exotics (1 Star), engage community members in annual restoration of natural areas (replanting shoreland buffers, restoring prairie, etc.).
Create and fund an annual city-wide event for cleanup and restoration, engaging residents in most neighborhoods and creating a public promotion around the event.
Who's doing it
Bloomington - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
The Bloomington Park and Recreation Division has a volunteer coordinator on staff that works with residents in our Adopt a Park Program. Bloomington organizes an annual Buckthorn Bust event where City staff and residents work together to remove the invasive plant from park areas. Bloomington has recently coordinated tree donation and planting efforts with civic organizations like the Rotary and Lions Clubs as well as corporate groups from TORO and United Properties. In the past four years these groups have donated and planted 400 trees in Bloomington Parks.
The City of Inver Grove Heights has an Adopt-A-Park program where community members help clean up litter from a park or trail segment of their choice. Additionally, the City has created volunteer opportunities where community members can volunteer to remove invasive plants and plant native plants to restore natural areas in City parks. The City works with residents and volunteer groups such as tree trust, sentence to serve, and eagle scouts.
We have an annual Neighbors Day event in April which organizes neighbors to help each other in work around the community, at their homes, and in public spaces. We also have fostered a group of community members (including one of our own Green Team members) who have begin prairie restoration within small areas of the community.
In an effort to educate and engage community members about the problem of trash in the City, the Marshall GreenStep City Clean-up Day was established in 2013. The event occurs annually during Earth Day (week) and involves clean-up of parks, waterways and empty lots in the City of Marshall. In 2016 the event will expand beyond the clean-up of problem areas to help people recycle or properly dispose of common items in their homes (car batteries, mattresses, appliances, old paint, electronics, clothing, household items, etc.)
In 2016 868 pounds of trash were picked up in 15 problem areas in the city by 327 volunteers. Total volunteer hours equaled 8,127 hours. The trash from one lot was analyzed for content and to serve as a baseline for future years. That one lot had 7 lbs of plastic shopping bags (359 bags). Meetings were held with area businesses to determine management plans for reducing the blowing of trash in the community.
We have adopt a park options - http://www.ci.moorhead.mn.us/departments/parks-recreation/volunteering
And work with Riverkeepers (river trash cleanup) and Audubon Dakota (invasive species removal)
Organized interstate trash cleanup events in the past. Not really ‘city wide’, but Louis Ochoa in the Police Department does a lot of trash pick up with the community service program.
-The city coordinates several annual volunteer trash clean up and Buckthorn removal work days of open spaces throughout the year.
-The Parks and Recreation Commission also recently adopted a new adopt a park program designed to involve Local Businesses' and Residents in ongoing clean up efforts of City Parks and open space.
-The City of North Saint Paul formed the Southwood Park Nature Taskforce, a volunteer group focused on restoration of natural areas. The City paid for volunteers in the group to obtain their Master Naturalist Certification in exchange for Volunteering in the Park system and educating the public on removal of exotics and restoration of natural areas.
-The City Funds and coordinates an annual city-wide earth day clean-up and restoration event. Residents, Commissioners, staff, City Council, students from the local school district, JROTC, and Scout Troops participate in the annual event. Parks and Recreation Commission Members from each City Neighborhood lead volunteers to assist with the City-wide clean-up. A large volunteer appreciation lunch is provided at the local high school for volunteers.
At the beginning of 2007, two citizens came to Mayor Brede with the idea of building a trash mountain. They were interested in getting community members involved in a city-wide litter clean up effort.
The Mayor brought a team of organizations together to plan and coordinate what would become aptly named, Help Make Rochester A Litter Bit Better!
During the week of April 21-28, over 1,384 volunteers city-wide scoured ditches, parks, and boulevards to pick up over 20,000 pounds of trash! Service groups, businesses, scout troops, faith groups, and 10 Neighborhood Associations registered and participated. And now it is an annual event in the City of Rochester.
The City adopted a Volunteer policy to provide guidance and to establish a process for residents to performs work in Scandia Parks. Volunteer opportunities identified include maintenance in City parks including species mapping and removal of invasive species.
The City of South St. Paul hosts the following programs giving back to the community.
The City runs an Adopt a Street, Park and River Programs. The River is an annual community event, the street program requires 2 cleanups a year and we host park clean-ups in the spring. In addition, we have a Blooming Parks program where volunteers plant and maintain park and city entrance signs funded by the City and has a "Weed Be Goners Club, where volunteers get together and beatify areas around the City. The City also hosts an All City Clean-up Day in the spring.
The City of Bemidji has a “Park Partners” program (see uploaded brochure). Park Partners is a partnership between Bemidji Parks and Recreation and citizen volunteers to improve and maintain Bemidji’s natural environment, educate the community, and keep our parks and trails clean, green, and safe. Parks and Recreation has also utilizes community volunteers and Park Partners for special ongoing projects, such as various tree planting initiatives, the Community Tree Inventory (started in 2011), and the Cameron Park Shoreland Buffer project (begun in 2010, with additional plantings and extensions in 2011 and 2012). Volunteers from Minnesota Youth Core and Camp Rabideau Youth were also utilized in the planting of the shoreland buffer. The goal of the Cameron Park Shoreland Buffer project is to reduce run-off directly into the lake, reduce shoreline erosion, increase wildlife habitat, and reduce the amount of mowing required.
the City of Brooklyn Center organizes the yearly Great Shingle Creek Clean Up. For the past 13 years, the city had organized and run the Clean Up, resulting in multiple bags of trash being removed from Shingle Creek each year.
The City also has Adopt a Park program, Adopt a Garden, and Adopt a Bus Shelter programs
The City of Burnsville has several programs that involve community members in hands-on land restoration and stewardship projects: The city has a program to encouraging residents to remove Buckthorn from their property. Community members can apply for grants to remove buckthorn, and the city will handle the disposal of buckthorn. The city offers a rental services for residents to check out land restoration equipment from the city. The city holds a plant sale for shade tolerant native plants to replace buckthorn.
The City of Burnsville worked with Sioux Trail Elementary to restore a half acre prarie by the school.
A neighborhood initiative within Keller Park restored three acres to native prairie.
The city partners with Dakota County Conservation Districts to provide classes on how to design and build rain gardens.
The city also has given 10 $1,000 grants to community members to restore shore land through the removal of buckthorn from the property.
The City of Fergus Falls has an Adopt-A-Park program where community members and service clubs assist in park projects. Many groups have helped plant native plants and the Conservation Corps has made trail improvements throughout the town. The Beautiful Fergus Falls group has taken a special interest into the improvements around Lake Alice.
Golden Valley has been running the Adopt-a-park program since 1992. The City has since added an Adopt-an-open space, Adopt-a-pond, and Adopt-a-storm drain programs. Participants remove litter and buckthorn from their designated public natural areas and Adopt-a-pond volunteers do some work, such as laying down erosion blankets, to correct soil erosion as well. Adopt-a-storm drain participants keep their storm drain free of litter and can also stencil a “dump no waste” message near storm drains that lead to a neighborhood pond, lake, or Bassett Creek.
Profiles of the adoption program and other volunteering events are reported on in the City newsletter and on the City’s web page.
In 2016, 31 (out of 36 available) parks and nature areas had been adopted by individuals or organizations in Golden Valley through the Adopt-a-park program. 1 resident and 2 organizations participated in the Adopt-a-pond program and maintained a total of 8 ponds. 1 open space was adopted in 2016. Between May of 2014 and August of 2015, 14 areas had been stenciled for storm drains.
1,185 storm drains were stenciled in 2014, 68 additional storm drains were stenciled in 2015.
There is an organization of community members in Hastings called the Hastings Environmental Protectors (HEP) that aims to do this.
Through the City there are opportunities for the community to participate in the Annual Park Cleanup Day, Arbor Day tree planting, and Adopt-a-Park Program.
Community members are involved in restoration and stewardship efforts through multiple outreach methods including; events, presentations to LICs and natural resource committee which consists of elders and community citizens. Tribal members are also hired to execute projects.
Maplewood has a program called "Adopt-a-Park" with its community members and residents. This event has participants go out to their favorite parks and pick up trash. The event is usually held around the time of earth day. The parks department is now working with local community groups and members to set up times for small groups to go out and clean the parks on their own.
The goal of Maplewood's Adopt-A-Park Program is to provide an opportunity to interested parties to take part in maintaining or park system.
By providing this opportunity it not only encourages and promotes community involvement but also allows us to beautify and improve our parks. All Adopt-A-Park projects should aim towards benefiting the majority of park users.
Maplewood's Nature Center has volunteer programs for adults, youth and groups.
The city also covers the hauling cost during the annual buckthorn removal day. Maplewood coordinates an annual free buckthorn pick-up for registered homeowners who remove large volumes of buckthorn. Pick-up is scheduled for only one day each year, typically in early November.
Marine Mill Site Committee: An on-going program (started in 2010) where community volunteers maintain the Historic Marine Mill, a 6-acre natural area/Minnesota Historical Society site within the downtown district. Actions = removal of invasive species, planting of 100 native trees, planting of native prairie and woodland species; and continued maintenance of vegetation and interpretive trails. Collaboration with NPS to install interpretive signage for St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.
Tree survival rate near 95%. Attendance counter shows 4,500 annual visitors to the Historic Marine Mill Site.
City works in collaboration with community members/associations/business such as North Branch Area Athletics, North Banch Area Community Education, Williams Parks Community Garden, Monarch Pollinators, Minnesota Design Team and others in providing hands on land restoration and stewarship projects.
The Friends of the Bluffs, the Sustainability Commission, and Live Healthy Red Wing are all community programs that have done some work in land restoration and stewardship - buckthorn removal at parks, for example. Live Healthy Red Wing is working with the Red Wing Area Fund on a restoration effort for Memorial Park - repairing rock steps, removing non-native vegetation, replanting trees, etc. The city has collaborated with the MN Land Trust on a number of open space preservation projects that resulted in a number of conservation easements and natural resource management plans.
Annual Earth Day/Arbor Day Celebration at Wood Lake Nature Center includes volunteer opportunities to remove buckthorn, restore native vegetation, plant trees, pick up trash and then make eco-crafts to recycle the trash, as well as working on converting failed prairie to a sugar bush. Around 20-35 people participate every year.
The 2030 Comprehensive Plan includes a requirement that the city re-evaluate, update and the parks plan to reflect community changes. Citizens would be involved in this review.
The city engages citizens in annual restoration of natural areas including plantings along shorelands etc. The city hosts events to remove invasive species, including a buckthorn removal event during November 2013. Other events are hosted to involve citizens in park maintenance, cleanup and removal of exotic species.
The city's parks and recreation department has a program for ongoing review and removal of invasive species including buckthorn. Volunteer groups participate in park cleanup ever spring, and an "adopt a park" program has been in place for several years. A restoration program for parks and natural areas is ongoing.
City promotes all types of land stewardship and this attachment is one example, using hundreds of volunteers to pick up litter in our parks and city. This action item is just one of many in our Beautify the Park annual campaign/program.
number of volunteers participating
number of garbage bags collected
weight of garbage collected
Operations/Natural Resources has had an ongoing Volunteerm program for four years that has steadily improved and expanded its outreach. Curently, Volunteer Resources and Environmental Services are currently in the process of developing the EcoStewards volunteer program, which will be piloted in the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom in Como Regional Park in 2015. EcoSteward volunteers will adopt natural areas to help with habitat restoration and develop their own interests and knowledge while increasing their feeling of ownership of their park.
-W-A-O high school has established a Riverwatch program which encourages student-led projects with assistance from adult volunteers to pursue hands-on restoration projects as well as stewardship projects
- River restoration project and opening of access points within the city
2-Star: In addition to cleanup and removal of exotics, the city works with the county to engage community members in annual restoration of natural areas.
In June 2015, the Parks Committee initiated an "Adopt a Park/Trail" program. The City received applications for each of its park and newly constructed bike/walking trail.
The adopters have taken an active role to be a watchful eye on vandalism, picking up trash and reporting areas that need attention to City staff. Several adopters have inquired on taking over the mowing and maintaining the trail. One adopter has inquired on painting/rehabing playground equipment. We have a very active adoption group!
Coon Rapids operates an ongoing "Adopt-A-Park" and "Adopt-A-Trail" program throughout the city to encourage residents to become engaged and invested in their local parks and trails. City staff provides resources to those interested in adopting parks and trails. Additionally in 2013, an Eagle Scout planted apple trees in the city's community garden as part of a stewardship project.
Polk County Health has been a key player in developing and running programs to get kids outside. The event "Kids at Castle" has all local, natural elements to get families interacting with the land. Castle Park itself is meant to introduce families to outdoor activity and experience nature in the most natural setting possible. These family events take place monthly. To keep Castle Park and the nature trails surrounding it clean, Castle Park Clean Up days also take place.
A proposal to build an rv park at the Castle Park location emerged and quickly sparked a city wide debate. In the end, the rv park was voted down by city counsel because of the push back from citizens who cared for Castle Park as a natural space. http://www.grandforksherald.com/content/uproar-over-plans-beloved-crookston-park
Eagan has implemented a Park Volunteer Program where residents and community volunteers complete many park maintenance activities. Additionally, each year Buckthorn, once identified by the City, is removed by residents from over a 100 private properties and picked up by the City as part of the Residential Buckthorn Removal Program.
The City also operates Holz Farm, which includes annual plantings and harvesting of crops.
Every year the Parks and Recreation Department hosts the following spring events:
Arbor Day Walk
Celebrate Eden Prairie’s designation as a “Tree City USA” while enjoying a scenic walk around Staring Lake. Held at the end of April or beginning of May each year.
Last year residents received free tree seedlings
Kids participated in the following activities: Storytelling, Land Sculptures, Living Seed Necklaces, Discovery Walk, Nature Print
And residents receive free tree care information .
Park Clean-Up Day
Typically held in April each year, Park Clean-Up Day is a great opportunity for service organizations, youth organizations and neighborhood groups to do their park in keeping Eden Prairie’ parks and trail systems clean
Edina has community involvement in land restoration and stewardship in the form of community initiated buckthorn busts. When a group volunteers to remove buckthorn, the City Forester gives them a presentation on how to do it. The City provides the roundup and tools such as weed wrenches and hand saws. The City hauls the buckthorn to the city brush dump. From there the City of St Paul District Energy comes to chip it up and, for a low fee, haul it to St Paul to be burned for energy.
The City has an Adopt a Park volunteer program that enables groups and individuals to assist in the general care and maintenance of neighborhood parks, green spaces, trails and athletic fields. Elk River Parks and Recreation welcomes many different organizations, including neighborhood associations, school groups, community groups, seniors, religious groups, businesses, youth groups and individuals to join our efforts to clean up and maintain our Elk River Parks system.
The City's public school was involved in a public space tree planting project responsible for planting at least six hardwood trees in strategic areas by accepting the help of eager students to plant and learn about the acquired trees. The City has celebrated Arbor Day with the school District for the past 5 years.
Each year, the City works with a local conservation group to cleanup the City's Stormwater Drainage Ponds
In anticipation of the Emerald Ash Borer, the City has conducted a study of ash tress worth preserving and made information on the disease to homeowners
The Parks Commission, with the help of the Bluebird Recovery Program and Troop 325, has constructed bluebird houses in Windrose Park
Since 2016, the City of Fridley Parks and Recreation department has coordinated two buckthorn removal events per year at Innsbruck Nature Center. These volunteer events are attended by local residents, students from Totino Grace High School, and volunteers from local employers such as Medtronic.
Established as a subcommited under the Economic Developement Commitee the Mississippi River Front Commitee was establishe in January of 2010.The group is responsible for the clean up of trash along the banks of the Mississippi with in the city limits of Grand Rapids.
As a result of this comittee we now have clean river banks.
Cleanup at Elk Lake beach and campground. The local HEDA board and Hoffman Lions Club are collaborating to come up with a projects list that would be used on a priority basis to improve this community.
The City of Hopkins had volunteers clean up various parts of the city to commemorate Earth Day 2010. Numerous volunteers picked up several miles of trails and roadsides, cleaned parks, and planted trees. This event will be held annually around Earth Day.
Mankato promotes and uses volunteers through "Volunteer Corps" program, with "adopt-a-park" option for ongoing park clean-up and maintenance. These are often done in coordination with established Neighborhood Associations.
New Brighton as had an adopt a park program for a number of years now. Our parks staff coordinates with ambitious volunteers to keep our parks clean and aesthetically pleasing for all.
We work with local organizations on buckthorn removal, as well as perform education for the public.
The Adopt-a-Park Program is designed to encourage partnerships between citizen
groups and the City of New Brighton to help maintain and enhance parks and
open space. This program is intended to be fun, educational and worthwhile. By
participating, groups and individuals can take an active role in the beautification of
The city's "Adopt a Park" program enables volunteers to assist the city in keeping its parks clean and beautiful. It is open to community groups, civic organizations, churches, businesses, and individuals. Activities include litter pick up, flower and tree planting, and painting park signs. City staff has adopted Dorothy Mary Park and assists with maintenance. Other community groups that assist with projects include the Garden Club, Eagle Scouts, Shingle Creek Watershed clean-up group, and various church groups.
The Oakdale Environmental Management Commission has held an annual volunteer cleanup event at Tanner's Lake each spring since 2010. Crews work in and around Tanner's Lake to remove trash, leaves, and other large items that have been dumped illegally in the lake. The commission, local residents, youth groups, church groups, watershed districts, and non-profit organizations have all participated in the event.
The City of Oakdale also has a longstanding volunteer buckthorn removal event each fall, as well as curbside pickup of buckthorn available for residents who register. The volunteer event focuses on a different city park each year. The curbside event is available to residents at no charge.
From 2010-2012 the Tanner's Lake Cleanup has removed 4500 pounds of trash and debris from the lake and surrounding areas.
The City of Royalton is a Tree City USA city and has an active Tree Board. The board is establishing a tree nursery at our sewer ponds and are working with the Splash Park committee to landscape the area for the Splash Park
The city has an Adopt-A-park program when many community members and citizens have became engaged in hands on volunteer efforts in land restoration and stewardship.
Most recently high school studenst have created a native plant buffer around Lake George and Master Gardners have created rain gardens along the Mississippi River to take up rail run off of municipal strutures and parking areas.
The City of St. Paul Park promotes its Adopt-A-Park Program on the City's website. The program is a public service initiative that encourages volunteers, with the assistance of the Parks and Recreation Commission, to adopt a park for regular maintenance and cleanups, including picking up litter and planting flowers.
Volunteers identify safety hazards and freely communicate other issues associated with their desiganted park. The program is suitable for community groups, churches, scout and 4-H groups, students, individual citizens, etc.
A group of dedicated Shoreview residents volunteer many hours each year to maintain City-owned facilities, such as a rain garden at the Fire Station and a large native plant buffer outside of City Hall and the Community Center. These volunteers remove buckthorn, trash, and other invasives and plant native plants from their own gardens. They add mulch annually and work with City staff to continuously maintain these public spaces.
Musser Park in the City of Sunfish Lake is managed as a "wild" natural area. It has a rustic trail that is mowed up to twice per year and fallen branches are cleared from the trail as needed. In October, 2011, a Green Futures Tree Planting event coordinated by the Tree Trust and the City planted 43 trees (American elm, hackberry, serviceberry, bur oak, Kentucky coffeetree, white spruce). There were 36 volunteers plus 4 Tree Trust staff working together to complete the project. All trees survived and were growing 5 years later.
All new trees are visible from the main street of the City. More than one resident commented, following participation in the project, that there should be a City-wide potluck in the park next spring.
There will be a community clean-up day for Two Harbors' Sonju Trail, the walking path between Burlington Bay and Agate Bay, as well as the forest area around the trail and at Lighthouse Point. Groups of community members will meet to pick up any trash and clear debris from the trails
The cleaning of the trails in the spring will prepare them for the high traffic in the summer. A clean trail and surrounding area will create an inviting atmosphere for residents and tourists alike.
Arbor Day is a very active day in White Bear Lake. Dozens and dozens of residents come out and help plant trees, and clean up the city parks.
Over the years, several groups of volunteers have been involved in maintaining the rain gardens within the City.
The city hosts an annual Buckthorn Busting Event each October where volunteers gather to remove buckthorn from a city park. Although the even has continued for several years, in 2011, Woodbury initiated a partnership with Great River Greening to utilize the organizational capacity and volunteers offered through a Great River Greening event. The annual event is publicized in the city’s Parks and Recreation brochure, as well as on the city website and its newsletters. Promotion of the event is expanded to motivate residents to borrow city-owned weed wrenches and remove buckthorn from their private property as well. In 2012, approximately 130 volunteers participated in the annual event.
In addition to the annual event, buckthorn is removed from city parks by staff and local service groups on a regular basis.
The city hosts an Adopt-A-Park program that encourages volunteers, with assistance from the Parks and Recreation Department, to adopt a lake or park in Woodbury for regular maintenance and cleanups, including picking up litter and planting flowers. As of February 2013, twenty-four of the city’s parks are adopted.
Woodbury also has a Spring Cleanup Week that takes place in early spring. The purpose is to clean up litter from the city parks, trails and schools. Garbage bags are supplied for trash, and filled bags can be deposited near the trash receptacles for pickup by parks maintenance staff.