ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATiVE AWARDS: 2014 Finalists & Winners
Congratulations to the finalists and winners of the 2014 Environmental Initiative Awards. Read more about them below.
Project Sweetie Pie
Project Sweetie Pie has led a revitalization of North Minneapolis’ food system, health, environment, economy, and consciousness through the power of growing food for the people. The organization is working to build community gardens, connect with residents through social media, and develop training opportunities for urban agriculture, food production, and the culinary arts. The effort has grown from 5 gardens with 25 civic partners in 2011 to its current 25 gardens with 145 civic organizations as partners.
Frogtown Park and Farm
Frogtown Park and Farm, The Trust for Public Land, the City of Saint Paul, and local residents are working together to design, acquire, and develop a 13-acre public park in the Frogtown community of Saint Paul. An estimated 5,200 children who currently lack access to nearby nature will be able to walk or ride their bike to the Frogtown Park and Farm. When complete in 2015, this park will provide a space where members of the community can play, learn, and grow food.
Maplewood Living Streets Policy and Demonstration Project
Living Streets is a movement to bring livability and safety back into our local street system. This approach balances the need for vehicle movements with the need to safely accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, address stormwater, as well as reduce street reconstruction costs. The City of Maplewood has successfully developed and adopted a Living Streets policy framework that will be applied to all future street reconstruction projects.
Energy and Climate
Twin Cities Habitat Net Zero Energy Home
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and its partners built an affordable, net-zero energy house at 424 31st Avenue North in the Hawthorne EcoVillage in North Minneapolis. Net zero houses – homes that are designed to be highly energy-efficient and rely on solar electric and thermal systems to produce as much energy as they use – are few and far between, making this project one of only a handful of net zero homes in the state.
LEDs: Energy Savings in Minnesota Poultry Facilities
Given current business models, reducing electricity consumption by the use of energy efficient lighting is one way farmers can maintain profitability. The Minnesota Project worked with LED lighting manufacturer, ONCE Innovations, to install LED lights in 16 poultry barns. This reduced energy consumption by approximately 70% with simple paybacks for farmers of 3 years or less.
MAC's Sustainable STAR Solar PV and LED Lighting Project
The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) in collaboration with GreenMark and Amersco, are working to implement an iconic solar photovoltaic (PV) and LED lighting project at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Combined, these two projects will produce emission reductions equivalent to approximately 2,400 passenger vehicles annually.
State of the River Report
The State of the River Report was developed in partnership with more than 30 scientific and technical advisors representing public and educational institutions from a range of scientific disciplines. The report highlights 13 key indicators of the health of the metro Mississippi River. By distilling broad, complex, and dynamic information into simple terms that non-scientists can understand, the State of the River Report arms citizens with information they need to make informed decisions about our shared water resources.
A Green Schools Model at Prior Lake - Savage Area Schools
Through partnerships with many organizations, the Prior Lake - Savage Area School District (PLSAS) has become one of the finest examples in the country of integrating environmental and outdoor education throughout the curriculum of a traditional public school. Located in a fast-growing suburban area southwest of Minneapolis, PLSAS is one of only 14 school districts in the nation to date to be awarded as an honoree in the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools program.
Youth Environmental Activists Minnesota
Youth Environmental Activists Minnesota (YEA! MN) connects youth across the Twin Cities metro to facilitate shared skills and strategies and to take coordinated action towards climate change solutions. Students have institutionalized recycling and composting in their schools, raised solar panels on their school roofs, and facilitated school-wide programming on climate literacy. Over 2,500 high school youth have been directly reached since the launch of the program in 2008.
Fruits of the City
This innovative program addresses the issue of lack of access to fresh, healthy fruit for the economically disenfranchised by coordinating teams of volunteers and fruit tree owners. Fruits of the City has harvested and delivered over 230,000 pounds of fruit to over 30 area food shelves since 2009. The program has also enlisted the help of over 1,100 volunteers and has partnered with over 200 homeowners and 22 orchards.
Midwest Food Connection
Midwest Food Connection envisions a society in which all people can consume healthful foods and support sustainable producers. Founded by Mississippi Market and Wedge Community Co-op, the co-ops saw a need to encourage food education among Minnesota’s youth, and thus pooled their resources to hire a part-time educator. Since then, three additional co-ops have joined the coalition to support four educators teaching over 900 lessons in the 2012-2013 school year.
Roots for the Home Team
Roots for the Home Team puts the fun of healthful foods back on forks while creating life-enhancing, influential opportunities for youth. The organization partners with youth garden programs in ethnically diverse areas of the Twin Cities. Using their produce grown as ingredients, and their inventive nature to help develop the recipes, Roots for the Home Team sells delicious salads at Target Field on Minnesota Twins’ weekend home games.
Clearwater River Targeted Fertilizer Application
The Clearwater River Watershed District formed a unique partnership with local agricultural co-ops and implemented a pilot project to test whether cost share would motivate farmers to optimize their use of fertilizer. The pilot study found that participants applied less fertilizer, saved money, had increased crop yield, and reduced nutrients exported to local waters. The results were so promising the District expanded the program from the 1,000 pilot acres to 16,000 additional acres.
Maplewood Mall Stormwater Retrofit
In 2009, the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District partnered with Simon Property Group, the owner of Maplewood Mall, to launch a multi-year project to improve the water quality in a downstream lake. The project involved outfitting the mall’s 35-acre parking lot with stormwater treatment features. Designed to capture and treat runoff from 90 percent of the parking lot, the system emphasizes aesthetics through attractive plantings and artistic design without eliminating parking spaces.
St. Louis River Area of Concern Remedial Action Plan
The St. Louis River Area of Concern (AOC) was designated in 1987 as one of 43 AOCs across the Great Lakes. AOCs represent the most severely impacted areas around the Great Lakes Basin. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, coordinated the development of a bi-state, stakeholder vetted St. Louis River Area of Concern Remedial Action Plan. The successful implementation of this bold and aggressive plan will restore the St. Louis River Estuary by 2025.
The Saint Paul Hotel Organics Recycling Project
Working in partnership with the Ramsey/Washington County Resource Recovery Project, the Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, and Troje’s Trash and Recycling, The Saint Paul Hotel launched a very successful organics recycling program. As of January 31, 2014, more than 350,000 pounds of food waste and other compostable materials has been diverted from the waste stream and delivered to a composting site in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
Advanced Wastewater Treatment Commercilization
Many of Minnesota’s wastewater facilities will need to be renovated or replaced in the next 20 years. This project advanced the commercialization of an innovative clean technology for wastewater treatment, resulting in significant environmental and economic benefits. A completely integrated wastewater treatment solution has been designed from the ground up to address big picture issues in a sustainable and actionable way.
Point-to-Point Car Sharing in Minneapolis
The City of Minneapolis is partnering with car2go Minneapolis to help facilitate car-sharing by allowing car2go Minneapolis to operate a free-floating, point-to-point car sharing model within the city limits. Car2go provides the ability for users to make one-way trips, often in conjunction with public transit, walking, or biking. In the first five months of operations, car2go has over 6,000 members throughout Minneapolis and the surrounding area.
Past Finalists and Winners
25th Anniversary Sponsors
Energy and Climate
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