Green Digest: All aglow on the greenway

Plus: Prizes for foregoing a solo drive; BLEND awards; and green field trip funding

Riders gather on the Midtown Greenway for the Greenway Glow. Credit: Submitted image

There’s still time to register for the June 14 Greenway Glow, a nighttime bicycle ride and annual fundraiser for the Midtown Greenway Coalition.

At the start of June the nonprofit was about two-thirds of the way to its $30,000 goal for the Greenway Glow. The fundraiser supports coalition programs like the Trail Watch safety patrol and greenway cleanup events.

The ride runs 9:01 p.m.–1 a.m., and during that time cyclists cover a 5-, 7- or 10-mile route at their own speed. They bring their own glow, too, since there’s a prize for the “most creative” bicycle lighting scheme.

Prizes also go to the largest team, best costumes and the riders who raise the most money. In addition to the entry fee ($30 as of June 1), each participant agrees to raise at least $50 in pledges or donations for the coalition. This year’s top fundraisers were on track to bring in at least 10 times that amount.

It’s bound to be a night full of activity on the greenway. This year’s Greenway Glow once again takes place on the same night as Northern Spark, the dusk-to-dawn citywide art crawl that’s returning to Minneapolis after last year’s shift to St. Paul.

“It’s kind of like we’re organizing two events in one,” said Soren Jensen, executive director of the Midtown Greenway Coalition. “It’ll be the busiest night on the greenway of the summer.”

The coalition served as curator for that night’s art events along the greenway, which is shaping up to be a major destination during Northern Spark. More than a dozen art installations are scheduled to for locations on or near the 5.5-mile greenway.

The Greenway Glow takes place rain or shine. Jensen expected a clear night could draw thousands of cyclists to the greenway as they pedal to and from Northern Spark art installations.

“Northern Spark is really designed to be a bicycle-friendly event,” he said. “… It’s not something you drive around to in your car.”

For more information on the Greenway Glow, or to register, go to


Switch a trip, win a prize

MetroTransit wants to reward drivers who pledge to switch to a different transportation mode for one trip they’d normally make alone in a car.

Those who plan to walk, bike, carpool or telecommute instead of driving solo for even one trip and tell MetroTransit about it will be entered into a random drawing for prizes. Participants are encouraged to share their decision not to make a single-person car trip on social media by using the hashtag #SwitchMyTrip.

Prizes include gift cards to local restaurants, cafes and grocery stores and household memberships to the Minnesota Zoo, Minnesota History Center and other local institutions.

A full list of prizes and instructions on how to pledge can be found on the Switch My Trip website, Register by June 30 to be eligible for a prize.


Recognizing positive redevelopment

Organizers of the annual BLEND and EcoBLEND Awards, recognizing Minneapolis redevelopment that respects its surroundings and the environment, are seeking submissions for their 2014 contest.

BLEND stands for Buildings and Landscapes Enhancing the Neighborhood through Design, and since 2007 the awards have honored the residential and commercial projects that best blend in with their neighborhoods. There are award categories for new construction, recent remodels or additions and landscaping projects.

The EcoBLEND Awards, launched in 2012, recognize sustainable, environmentally friendly design in both new construction and remodeling projects. Nominees will be evaluated on their use of resources, energy efficiency, water conservation and indoor environmental quality.

To be nominated for a 2014 award, construction on the project must have been completed by July 1, 2009. The deadline to submit a project for either award is July 31.

This year’s award ceremony is scheduled for Sept. 29 at Fulton Brewery. For more information, or to submit a project for consideration, go to


Grants for green field trips

Planning a summer field trip? There’s a grant for that.

Hennepin County offers free transportation via charter bus for field trips that focus on environmental education. Eligible sites within the county include facilities that process organic waste and recyclables, nature centers and museums.

To be eligible for funding, field trip organizers must first complete a Green Partners Seed Group Action Plan grant application. Grants are available to groups of 25 or more participants age 7 and above.

For more information and a suggested list of field trip destinations go to