• March 18, 2015
  • |
  • Andrea Robbins

This is one of my favorite blog posts to write each year! Congratulations to the outstanding projects and partnerships selected as the 2015 Environmental Initiative Award finalists.

Earlier this week a group of seventeen judges from business, government, and nonprofit organizations met to discuss project nominations from all over the state. They selected three finalist projects in each category (and one winner). Winners will be announced “Academy Award Style” on Thursday, May 21 at Nicollet Island Pavilion in Minneapolis. Check out this year’s group of inspiring projects below:


  • Hennepin County Master Recycler/Composter Program
  • Morris Engaged: Planning & Action for Climate Resilience
  • University District Pack and Give Back

Judges: Tracy Babler-Nordquist, Tracy Babler & Associates; Katie Galloway, Aveda Corporation; Jason Willett, Metropolitan Council


  • Clean Energy and Economic Development Initiative
  • Minnesota B3/SB 2030 Programs and Tools
  • Project Standing Sun

Judges: Annie Perkins, Andersen Corporation; Anu Ramaswami, University of Minnesota


  • Hennepin County Green Partners Program
  • Making 3Rs Childs Play in Scott County
  • Master Water Stewards

Judges: Sam Hanson, Minnesota Waste Wise; Shri Ramaswamy, University of Minnesota; Lark Weller, National Park Service


  • Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council
  • Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program
  • Phosphorous Reduction by Cover Crop

Judges: Christina Nicholson, Mississippi Market; Julie Mackenzie, Mindsailing, Farmer; Emily Torgrimson, Eat for Equity


  • Empire Wastewater Treatment Plant – Natural Resource Sustainability
  • Manston Slough Restoration
  • Sax-Zim Bog Conservation and Restoration

Judges: Mark Lundgren, MSA Professional Services; Joe Otte, Wenck Associates; John Pearson, Minnesota Public Radio


  • Science Museum of Minnesota: Project No Waste
  • Sustainability Hat Trick
  • Tiny Diner

Judges: Sarah Braman, Dakota County; Thaddeus Owen, Herman Miller; Bob Warner, Warners’ Stellian

Congratulations to this outstanding group of finalists! Thanks to the judges who shared their time with us. I would also like to thank Medtronic for hosting our judging event, as they have for many, many years. Thank you, Medtronic!

Finally, I hope you will join more than 450 environmental leaders for networking, dinner, and a celebration of Minnesota’s most innovative and collaborative success stories of the year. The big party is on Thursday, May 21st. Full tables (seating 10) and individual tickets are on sale now – Friday, May 8. Don’t miss it!