Spring growth: Northside Safety NET interns learn, plant, and create

photo of a collage showing Mississippi River

During the month of March, Environmental Initiative staff and students of Northside Safety NET participated in a handful of projects.

To start the month out on the right foot we had an exclusive tour of the Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL). As part of the tour, interns listened and asked questions to a panel of graduate students from various University of Minnesota colleges whose research is based out of SAFL. We also got an understanding of some of the day-to-day duties of the laboratory staff and what their day looks like and consists of.

Next, we met with our project partner Alyssa Armstrong, and threw a “plant potting extravaganza” where she was able to share her vast knowledge of all things Aloe Vera and Spider plants with our interns. We also painted small terracotta pots before transferring our Aloe Vera and Spider plants into them. Some of the plants went with the interns and staff home and other plants stayed back at the office to get adopted. The Environmental initiative staff have taken up the responsibility to look after the plants until they find the perfect forever home.

Lastly, we worked on an art project that consisted of envisioning how to design the Mississippi River and converting the group’s idea to an image. We started off wanting to convert the river to its previous look and keep somewhat of an “S” shape. We also wanted a more inclusive river that had activities to would welcome all different types of diverse people. We want the river to be more natural and cleaner. One way we went about establishing this concept was by removing all the businesses on the river that contribute to its pollution. When we finally converted our idea into an image, we decided to use a half collage and half drawing for originality and to add a blend that is appealing to the eyes.

What are the interns planning in April and May?
In April, the interns started a project with Urban Boat Builders to build a skin-on-frame canoe and visited the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. In May, the interns will finish their boat build and take it out on the Mississippi for its first voyage. They will be leading a workshop at the Green Zones Environmental Summit during the Community Connections Conference. Lastly, they will join the Environmental Initiative staff for the upcoming Awards celebration.