Frequently Asked Questions - Gold Leaf Challenge

  1. Do you have a glossary for all of these climate change-related words? 

Find common climate change-related acronyms and a glossary (Minnesota Climate Action Framework, 2022). Or don’t hesitate to contact us with questions! 

  1. Why is local climate action important? 

Communities are already seeing impacts locally - warming temperatures (especially during winter), drier summers, more severe precipitation events, and more. Often, communities have the tools to plan for and take action on climate change. Communities that act now are better suited to withstand and build resilience against impacts over time. 

  1. How is it different from the GreenStep program? 

The Gold Leaf Challenge uses the GreenStep program as a guide for providing resources. The Challenge has narrowed down the 181 GreenStep Cities & Tribal Nations actions to create a climate action 'road map' that your community (of any type) can focus down even further based on local needs and priorities. 

Gold Leaf Challenge GreenStep Communities
Voluntary Voluntary
Focused on High-Impact Climate Actions Defines Sustainability Broadly
Open to Many Community Types Focused on Cities and Tribal Nations
No Barriers to Entry City or Tribal Council Resolution to Join
Volume of Actions Rewarded Rewarded by Step Community is on
Limited Menu of Options  Broad Menu of Options
Starts With a Green Team No Starting Best Practice 
Emphasizes New Actions Taken Rewards Past and Current Planning and Actions
  1. When will Leaves be awarded? 

Awards are based on the calendar year and will be awarded in the following year. Action reports can be submitted at any time throughout the year, ideally right after the action was completed. 

  1. When can I report Gold Leaf actions? 

Actions can be reported and formally recognized as they are completed, without any specific annual reporting period. Additionally, many actions can be repeated in multiple years to encourage growth overtime. Actions will be tallied at the end of the year to see how many “leaves” your community has accomplished. Learn more at Reporting & Recognition

  1. How often can I get recognized for the same type of Gold Leaf action? 

Each Gold Leaf action guidance document will list the annual recertification criteria that will achieve a reward. Some of these actions may take multiple years to complete. Because Gold Leaf’s goal is to drive climate action implementation, the action will be awarded once the project is completed.

  1. What are ‘integrated goals’? 

Participants can earn a gold leaf when they can document that either a local or State climate goal has been achieved. By setting and tracking goals, participants can (and are!) meet these targets. The Gold Leaf Challenge acknowledges how difficult meeting goals can be and we want to recognize your for your achievement! Learn more about Integrated Goals.