Reporting & Recognition for the Gold Leaf Challenge


When you first join Gold Leaf, you’ll receive a workplan with all 44 Gold Leaf Challenge actions in a spreadsheet. The workplan is an optional tool to help you plan out what actions the community is interested in, currently working on, or finished with. In addition, you may be interested to use the workplan in the following ways: 

  • Helps you think through how you’ll accomplish a Gold Leaf Challenge action. 
  • Provides a space to list out the integrated goals you are ultimately aiming to accomplish. The Minnesota Climate Action Framework goals are listed in the Gold Leaf guidance documents and workplan already. However, you will need to list out your own community’s goals on the workplan. 

Screenshot of Gold Leaf Workplan

Staff will ask you to send us a copy of your workplan yearly (or whatever document you use as an alternative), which will allow for updates to the Community Projects Spreadsheet

Community Projects Spreadsheet:Screenshot of Gold Leaf Community Project Spreadsheet

All participants have a column on their workplans that is meant to update the Community Projects Spreadsheet. Program staff will update the spreadsheet for you! Use the spreadsheet to:

  • see how other communities are accomplishing Gold Leaf actions and gain inspiration from them,
  • identify which actions there is potential to partner with other communities on, 
  • find relevant Gold Leaf Actions by filtering participant communities by region, population size, and community type, and 
  • find contact information for peer-to-peer learning.

This spreadsheet is visible to other participants and the public. Please let us know if you would like to remove any information from it.  

Reporting Gold Leaf actions and integrated goals: 

Once a Gold Leaf action is completed or a goal is met and is ready to report, use the following tools. The basic reporting methods are listed below. If you would like more options for sharing your actions, check out Gold Leaf Reporting Options

For current GreenStep participants

  • Who: For current GreenStep Cities and Tribal Nations with an online account. Typically, the GreenStep Coordinator writes and submits an action report.

  • What: 
    • Report a new Gold Leaf action under a Best Practice Action on the GreenStep website. Using the Gold Leaf action guidance, identify the best GreenStep actions to report your efforts. Provide a detailed summary, date, contact, partners, documents, links, and any metrics or outcomes. 
      • Make sure to check the “Request Gold Leaf Challenge Review” button right above “Save” on the bottom of the form.
    • Update a previously entered GreenStep Best Practice Action so it will be considered for The Gold Leaf Challenge as well. To do so, click the action you’d like to update and go to “Edit.” Add to or edit the content in the GreenStep action to reflect your Gold Leaf action. 
      • Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click the “Request Gold Leaf Challenge Review” button right above “Save.”

  • Where: Use the GreenStep Cities and Tribal Nations website to report actions. Refer to the Website How-To guide if needed. 

  • When: At any time following the completion of a Gold Leaf action or when an integrated goal is met. Remember, only new Gold Leaf Challenge actions accomplished within the current reporting year will be considered. 

  • Why: This is a great way to document your ongoing efforts in an already shareable format. Your reported actions and goal achievements also serve as a great tool for peer communities interested in learning about best practice actions! 

For non-GreenStep participants

  • Who: For any communities that do not have GreenStep program account. Anyone who was involved in implementing the action can fill out the form. This could include staff and interns, decision makers, community members.  

  • What: Summarize the efforts taken to implement the Gold Leaf action or integrated goal. Details should include a brief overview of the action, the timeline, engagement, and any outcomes to date. For goals, if you believe you have hit the goal, provide any evidence (i.e. metrics, narrative, etc.). 

  • Where: Google Form (if you cannot access this, contact us at  

  • When: At any time following the completion of a Gold Leaf action or when an integrated goal is met.

  • Why: This is an easy way to document your efforts and receive credit. Information used may be added as examples in the Gold Leaf and/or GreenStep programs later. 


The Gold Leaf Challenge is open to many different community types with diverse needs and types of governments. Because of this, each of the Gold Leaf action has a section addressing potential modifications various community types could make to ensure the action fits their community. Please contact program staff if you think an improvement could be made so that Gold Leaf actions and goals fit your community best. This is a purposefully flexible program so it is responsive to the participants, and staff will continuously take feedback into account to improve the program for all our participants.


  • First year participants will receive a custom award display for leaves and gold leaves, following the report of a Gold Leaf action or integrated goal. 
  • Annually, participants will receive ‘leaves’ based on the Gold Leaf annual reporting criteria or integrated goals. 
  • Gold Leaf staff will prepare a statewide press release and provide press release templates for you to share with local media. 
  • Annual peer recognition at events. 
  • Your accomplishments will be visible on the GreenStep website, the most comprehensive website in Minnesota devoted to community sustainability.
  • TIP: You can count the same action for both GreenStep and Gold Leaf programs!