Green digest // Clean-up results

Clean Up results are in

More than 7.5 tons of trash were collected April 18 during the 15th annual Earth Day Watershed Clean Up, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board reported.

About 2,500 volunteers spent the Saturday morning before Earth Day at one of 41 Clean Up locations in parks and watersheds across the city. The annual spring cleaning aims to keep at least a bit of the trash littering streets and green areas from ending up in local lakes and rivers.

The next day, more than 400 runners showed up for the 2nd annual Recycle Run around Lake Harriet. The event, which includes a 5-kilometer race for adults and a half-mile run for kids, raises money for future Earth Day Watershed Clean Up events.

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City tree-planting effort honored

A major tree-planting event last spring earned the city and the Park Board an award from the National Arbor Day Foundation at its annual banquet in Nebraska City, Neb., April 25.

The Park Board’s 2008 anniversary event, “125 Trees for 125 Years,” was recognized by the foundation with its Celebration Award, honoring school, community and state programs that exemplify the spirit of Arbor Day. The city and Park Board, honored together, were among 20 organizations and individuals to win a 2009 Arbor Day Award.

More than 900 Minneapolis Public Schools students participated in the 2008 Arbor Day event on the north end of Lake of the Isles. They joined with community volunteers to plant 125 trees along the lake’s shoreline, one of the last steps in a years-long restoration of Lake of the Isles.

This year’s Park Board Arbor Day celebration was set for May 20 at Waite Park and Waite Park Community School, 1800 34th Ave. NE. Volunteers will plant 100 trees of 17 different varieties, the Park Board reported

Tree planting was scheduled to begin at 10:45 a.m., with a dedication ceremony and student performances starting at 11:30 a.m. The event is open to the public.

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New checklist for green remodeling

It just got a little easier to remodel your home to Minnesota GreenStar standards.

The nonprofit green building certification program in April introduced an updated version of its green remodeling checklist and manual. The new checklist incorporated feedback and suggestions from early GreenStar participants to be more functional and user-friendly.

Minnesota GreenStar Executive Director Mike Williams described the electronic checklist as “an Excel database on steriods,” referring to the popular spreadsheet program.

The checklist was designed to guide homeowners and professional builders toward making sustainable and environmentally friendly changes to existing residential properties. Updates to the checklist should make it easier to document green remodeling practices and to track the project’s progress toward certification, Williams said.

To learn more about the checklist or download Version 2.0, visit the GreenStar website (www.mngreenstar.org).

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Organics recycling pilot to expand

ECCO — Expansion of the curbside composting pilot program won City Council approval April 10, paving the way for ECCO residents to join the pilot later this year.

The organic materials recycling program was rolled-out in the Linden Hills neighborhood last September. Between then and mid-March, about 106 tons of organics were collected for composting, said Susan Young, director of Solid Waste and Recycling Services.

“In that area about 43 percent of the people opted-in,” Young said. “Of those, between 60 and 70 percent of them put out organics … on any given week.”

She said residents in ECCO and several other neighborhoods would receive a letter this month detailing the program and offering them a chance to opt-in.

Those who sign up are given an organics cart to separate food scraps and compostable materials from other trash. Organics are collected weekly.

Young said her staff would select residents on one or more of the city-operated trash routes to join the program, in addition to ECCO. City crews collect trash on the eastern half of the city and south of Minnehaha Creek, while a contractor is responsible for collections in other parts of the city, including most of Southwest.