Minnehaha Creek Cleanup grows in eighth year

Volunteers gather for food and prizes after the 2013 Minnehaha Creek Cleanup. Credit: Submitted image.

UPDATE: This year’s Minnehaha Creek Cleanup has been rescheduled to Sunday, July 27 due to dangerous high water conditions on the creek.

So many have volunteered in recent years — about 1,200 in 2013 — that the watershed district is expanding from one to three separate locations for this year’s eighth-annual cleanup. Volunteers will scout for trash along almost the entire length of the creek, which flows 22 miles from Lake Minnetonka to the Mississippi river, and around several area lakes.

The goal is to collect 3 tons of litter. Last year’s total hit 2 tons.

“We are expanding our locations this year not only because of the wonderful community response that we’ve gotten but also because we want to up our ante and collect even more trash,” said Telly Mamayek, spokesperson for the watershed district. “… [Last year] was our biggest-ever turnout and we are looking to break that record this year.”

As usual, the is cleanup headquartered at Lake Hiawatha Park in South Minneapolis, where all volunteers will be treated to a free barbeque lunch and celebration at the end of the event. But there also will be satellite locations at Cedar Lake and in St. Louis Park, with shuttle buses to move volunteers between cleanup sites and the party.

The watershed district also plans to bus some of the volunteers who show up at Lake Hiawatha Park to cleanup sites at Lake Nokomis and Minnehaha Park. The goal is to attract 2,000 volunteers in total, Mamayek said.

Sponsors include local rain gardens nonprofit Metro Blooms and Leinenkugel’s. As usual, the brewer provides up to two free beers for adults at the after-party.

For more information, or to RSVP, go to minnehahacreek.org/CleanUp. Registration times vary by location, so check the site in advance.

All volunteers get a free T-shirt and water bottle, plus trash bags and gloves to pick up trash. They’ll also compete for prizes, including one for collecting the most candy wrappers.

“It gives our littlest volunteers a special mission,” Mamayek said. “They’re closest to the ground and able to pick up with their little hands the candy wrappers and gum wrappers.” 

A pedal-powered tour of Minneapolis’ green roofs

A group that promotes green roofs for their environmental benefits is leading a bicycle tour noon–5 p.m. June 22 of Minneapolis’ green and grassy rooftops.

The first-ever Minnesota Green Roofs Council Bike Tour will stop at five prominent green roofs, starting with the Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum. Designed by local firm HGA Architects and Engineers, the 24,500-square-foot structure was recognized by the American Institute of Architects with a 2014 AIA Honor Award.

From there, riders will visit the American Swedish Institute, a rooftop tamarack bog installation at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, City Hall and Minneapolis Central Library.

With the exception of the bog, participants will get to walk around and explore the green roofs along the way, said tour leader Lucas Alm, an MGRC board member, architect and principal of ALM Design Studio in St. Paul. Alm also plans talks at each stop with someone involved with in the projects, whether an installer, designer or engineer.

The council promotes green roofs as a way to help control storm-water runoff, add wildlife habitat and reduce the urban heat-island effect. According to the council, green roofs also have a longer lifespan than conventional roofing materials and they can help to cool buildings in the summer, reducing energy bills.

“They’re also beautiful,” Alm added. “When you have a building and you’re looking out onto a roof-scape, I think people would much rather look at some greenery.”

The best-known green roof in Minneapolis may be the one atop Target Center, now five years old. At 2.5 acres, the prairie-like expanse was the country’s fifth-largest green roof when it was designed.

“Unfortunately,” Alm said, that roof isn’t open to the public. “That would be a great one to see.”

There certainly are more green roofs to explore in Minneapolis. Based on the strong interest this year, Alm is already thinking about a second tour in the future.

Space is limited to about 30 riders, so go to mngreenroofs.org to reserve a spot. The suggested donation is $15, and all riders will get a free tour T-shirt.

Drop-off event in Southwest

KENNY — Hennepin County plans a household hazardous waste drop-off event 9 a.m.–4 p.m. June 26–28 at Susan B. Anthony Middle School, 5757 Irving Ave. S.

Don’t bring business waste or electronics; they won’t be accepted. Do bring a driver’s license or other proof of county residence, and be prepared to wait during peak drop-off times, the county advises.

Household and garden chemicals, paint, fuel and other liquids should be in secure containers. The county will also collect mercury-containing florescent light bulbs, thermometers and thermostats, among other materials.

For a full list of acceptable items, or for more information about future drop-off events, go to hennepin.us/collectionevents or call 348-3777.