ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATiVE AWARDS:
2012 Finalists & WINNERS

Congratulations to the finalists and winners of the 2012 Environmental Initiative Awards. Read more about them below.

Business and Environment

Winner

Mattress Recycling
Representatives from government agencies, hospitality, mattress retailers and waste haulers developed and implemented a plan to collect and recycle mattresses in Duluth. The partners created a business plan, established mattress collection sites and obtained equipment to deconstruct mattresses. Today, Goodwill Industries employs 5 workers and recycles around 19,000 mattresses a year.

Finalists

Appliance Packaging Recycling Initiative
Warners’ Stellian worked in partnership with their staff, Waste Management, Environmental Recycling and Merrick, Inc to recycle appliances and appliance packaging. Last year, 16,000 appliances, 310 tons of scrap metal and cardboard and over 60 tons of Styrofoam were recycled. Warners’ Stellian now recycles 85% of the waste
they generate.

Solar District Energy Project
District Energy St. Paul developed and commissioned the Midwest’s largest solar thermal (solar hot water) project. The 21,000 square foot installation produces over 1.2 MW peak of thermal energy and contributes domestic hot water and heat to the Saint Paul RiverCentre and to the District Energy system that serves 80% of downtown Saint Paul.

Energy and Climate Protection

Winner

Edina Emerald Energy Program
In 2011, the City of Edina adopted the Edina Emerald Energy Program making it the first Minnesota city to take advantage of Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) legislation. The legislation is designed to help finance clean energy projects. The Edina Emerald Energy Program allows commercial and residential property owners to install renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades at minimal upfront cost. The city has also created documents to help other cities establish similar programs.

Finalists

Energy Innovation Corridor
Xcel Energy, along with 20 other local stakeholders, have created a sustainable energy and transportation showcase along the Central Corridor light rail transit route. Project goals include energy efficiency savings, renewable energy supplied or generated, developing electric vehicles and infrastructure and increasing community involvement in energy programs . The first 24 months of the partnership resulted in over 500 million pounds of carbon avoided and over $13 million in economic impacts.

Faribault Woolen Mill Energy and Water Recovery and Production Capacity Increase
Fairbault Woolen Mills was established in 1865 and is an integrated wool processing facility that washes, dyes, dries, spins, weaves and sews wool blankets. The mill is currently undergoing a variety of upgrades to reduce energy for production and heating, save water and eliminate waste. Once complete, Faribault Woolen Mills will have the most efficient dying, finished wool washing, and drying facility in the world.

Environmental Education

Winner

Minnesota’s Changing Climate: Engaging Students in Environmental Stewardship
The Will Steger Foundation’s Minnesota’s Changing Climate program was created to build awareness and interest in Minnesota’s natural environment and the impact of climate change.  The program includes a 6-lesson module for grades 3-8 and 9-12, an online classroom, educator professional development, outdoor exploration tools and ongoing support for teachers.

Finalists

GEMS in Partnership with Dodge Nature Center
Garlough Environmental Magnet School (GEMS) is a public school in District 197 that has partnered with Dodge Nature Center over the past seven years to collaborate in developing a nationally recognized model for elementary environmental education. The school has increased diversity, overall enrollment and has been named a Magnet School of Excellence in 2009, 2010, and 2011.

Minnesota Master Naturalist
The Minnesota Master Naturalist Program trains volunteers about the natural and cultural history of the three major biomes of Minnesota. Each volunteer receives 40 hours of training and is then expected to provide 40 hours of volunteer service in the natural resource field each calendar year to remain active. Minnesota Master Naturalists has served as a model for other states wishing to adopt similar programs.

Natural Resource Protection and Restoration

Winner

A Grassroots Effort to Bring Back the Fulda Lakes
First and Second Fulda Lakes, in southwestern Minnesota, were in need of drawdown and reclamation due to severe algae blooms, loss of aquatic vegetation, loss of migratory waterfowl, and other challenges. Project partners worked collaboratively to improve water quality and increase citizen awareness of the problems facing the Fulda Lakes, resulting in significant improvements.

Finalists

Crow Wing County – Zoning Ordinance Revision
Crow Wing County is Minnesota’s premier lake vacation destination with more than 400 lakes comprising 15% percent of the counties’ total area. Demographic shifts prompted the county to update the land use ordinance in order to protect vital natural resources. Through a highly collaborative process, Crow Wing County overhauled its land use ordinance in 2011, touted as one of the most progressive in the state.

Improving Lake Pepin – A New Approach to Watershed-Based Civic Engagement – The “Friendship Tour” Approach
Clean Up the River Environment (CURE), the Minnesota River Watershed Alliance and several other organizations have worked together to create a new approach to watershed-based civic engagement. This new model is focused on civil discussions, sharing food and drink, tours and alternative facilitation techniques. The “Friendship Tour” engaged urban and rural participants, environmental nonprofits and farm advocacy groups to identify and support locally led projects that would result in cleaner water.

Sustainable Communities

Winner

GreenStep Cities
GreenStep Cities is a voluntary challenge, assistance and recognition program to help all Minnesota cities achieve their sustainability goals through implementation of 28 best practices. The program takes the guesswork out of sustainability, helping all Minnesota cities implement actions to achieve their sustainability goals. As of mid-February, 39 cities have signed city council participation resolutions.

Finalists

East Calhoun Waste Watchers
East Calhoun Waste Watchers employed a variety of strategies to engage more residents in organics recycling and single sort recycling programs piloted in their Minneapolis neighborhood. As a result of the group’s efforts, 44% of residents participated in the organics-recycling pilot and thanks to the introduction of the single-sort recycling pilot, East Calhoun’s recycling has increased by over 30%.

RNeighborwoods Community Tree Plantings
RNeighborWoods works to empower the community to grow a sustainable urban forest through volunteerism, investment and advocacy in Rochester. Over 3,500 boulevard trees have been planted with help from over 3,000 volunteers. Neighbors, politicians, children, teens, and families of all colors, cultures, and beliefs work together to achieve a diverse and lush sustainable urban forest, one tree at a time.

PARTNERSHIP OF THE YEAR

Winner

GreenStep Cities
GreenStep Cities is a voluntary challenge, assistance and recognition program to help all Minnesota cities achieve their sustainability goals through implementation of 28 best practices. The program takes the guesswork out of sustainability, helping all Minnesota cities implement actions to achieve their sustainability goals. As of mid-February, 39 cities have signed city council participation resolutions.

Past Finalists and Winners

2015 Awards Finalists and Winners »

2014 Awards Finalists and Winners »

2013 Awards Finalists and Winners »

2012 Awards Finalists and Winners »

2011 Awards Finalists and Winners »

2010 Awards Finalists and Winners »

2009 Awards Finalists and Winners »

RELATED INFORMATION

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About the Awards »

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Awards Guidelines & Eligibility »

Awards Judging »

Awards Sponsorships »

Presenting Sponsors

Environmental Lay Group

Great River Energy

25th Anniversary Sponsor

CATEGORY SPONSORS

Community Action

Critical Collaborator

Stoel Rives LLP

Emerging Leader

Aveda

Energy and Climate

The Weidt Group

Natural Resources

Sustainable Business

Supporting Sponsors


Minnesota Power



partner SPONSORs

WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff

In-kind sponsor

AFFILIATE SPONSOR

Rochester Public Utilities

Associate Sponsors

G & K Services

Bremer Bank