Green digest // Grants for green projects

Grants for green projects

Clean Energy Research Teams is seeking grant proposals for community-based energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

The University of Minnesota-led statewide sustainable development partnership, also known as CERTs, aims to give a start-up boost to projects that will spark community discussions about green energy technologies and how they might produce economic and ecological benefits.

A 2010 CERTs grant provided the Bakken Museum on the southwest shore of Lake Calhoun with $2,500 to begin developing renewable energy exhibits at the museum. The grant award kicked off a feasibility study, and in the summer of 2011 the Bakken unveiled its Green Energy Art Garden of four artist-designed and science-based sculptures just in time for that year’s Minneapolis Aquatennial.

The Bakken project was one of more than 165 projects awarded a total of more than $720,000 through the CERTs grant program since it began in 2006. The grants are funded through the Minnesota Department of Commerce Division of Energy Resources.

Applications for this year’s CERTs Seed Grants are due by
4 p.m. July 2.

CERTs is offering a one-hour phone tutorial for interested applicants 10 a.m.–11 a.m. June 12. For information on how to join the call, or to answer other questions about applying for a grant, go to

Recycle your
plastic garden pots

Both the Wagners and Bachman’s garden centers will accept used plastic garden pots for recycling June 16–17 at their Southwest Minneapolis locations.

The Minnesota Landscape and Nursery Association has sponsored the annual plastic garden container recycling drive since 2006 in an effort to keep some of the containers out of landfills. To be accepted for recycling, the plastic pots, trays or baskets must be clean and free of dirt or soil, and they must have any metal hangers removed.

Another opportunity to recycle plastic garden containers will be offered Sept. 15–16 at both Wagners, 6024 Penn Ave. S., and Bachman’s, 6010 Lyndale Ave. S.

Some participating garden centers offer the recycling program all growing season, beginning April 15 and running through Oct. 1. For a full list of participating locations, go to


Barton, Burroughs reap recycling rewards

EAST HARRIET — Barton Open School was one of three Minnesota schools recognized in May for its waste-reduction efforts by an environmental education nonprofit.

The Wayzata-based Jeffers Foundation presented Barton with a Waste Reduction Awareness Program (WRAP) Award recognizing the school for having the highest recycling rate of any district school. Barton received $5,000, a plaque commemorating the award and a reusable water bottle for each student, the school reported.

Barton reportedly recycles about 46 percent of its trash, or roughly 1,000 pounds each week. Its recycling rate gets a big boost from a lunchroom organics recycling program that separates food and other organic waste from non-recyclable trash, an approach now used in more than 20 district schools.

Meanwhile, students at nearby Burroughs Community School in Lynnhurst got a lesson in composting in May.

Burroughs piloted the district’s lunchroom organics recycling program during the 2007–2008 school year, an effort that eventually led to the district’s Let’s R.O.T., or “Reduce Our Trash,” initiative now spreading to other district schools. To show the students just why they’ve been separating their uneaten sandwich crusts from their plastic straws these past four years, Burroughs Principal Tim Cadotte arranged to have 15 cubic yards of compost delivered to the school, which students then helped spread over the school’s courtyard and grounds.

“This will bring full-circle why we compost in the lunchroom,” Cadotte wrote in an email.


Know a great garden?

With growing season in full bloom, Metro Blooms is seeking nominations for its annual Minneapolis Garden Awards.

Go to to direct Metro Blooms’ trained garden evaluators to a favorite garden in your neighborhood. The Minneapolis-based nonprofit recognizes the city’s best gardens during its annual Blooms Day event, held each May. Last year’s best gardens and gardeners were recognized May 5.

The awards recognize the best gardens in each of the following categories: boulevard garden, raingarden, container or window box garden, residential garden and business garden. Awards are also presented for the best gardens planted outside religious buildings, public buildings and apartments or condominiums.

Metro Blooms also was seeking volunteer garden evaluators to investigate garden-award nominees in June.

Those who wish to volunteer should register at and plan to attend one of two training sessions at All God’s Children Church, 3100 Park Ave. S. The training sessions run 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. on June 13 and 19.

Reach Dylan Thomas at [email protected]