Creek cleanup turns 10

Plus: Upcoming organics recycling training sessions and garden networks recruiting new members

Volunteers search for litter around Lake Hiawatha during the annual Minnehaha Creek Cleanup. File photo

The annual Minnehaha Creek Cleanup turns 10 this year, and registration for the July 24 event is now open.

Minnehaha Creek Watershed District is recruiting volunteers to pick up litter all along the 22-mile creek, from Gray’s Bay Dam on Lake Minnetonka to Minnehaha Falls in South Minneapolis. The district’s goal is to collect four tons of trash.

As usual, cleanup volunteers will be rewarded with a free barbeque lunch at Lake Hiawatha Park featuring music, activities and prizes for volunteers of all ages. Adults aged 21 and older even get up to two free beers courtesy cleanup co-sponsor Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing.

Volunteers also get a free T-shirt and water bottle. Gloves and trash bags are provided.

Last year, about 1,600 people joined the cleanup, setting a record for the event. That was a big turnaround from 2014, when flooding forced organizers to reschedule twice. Only about 1,000 people turned out for an early-September cleanup that year, but they still ended up collecting three tons of trash.

This year’s cleanup locations include Lake Hiawatha Park, Ice Arena B in Minnetonka and the Knollwood SuperTarget in St. Louis Park. Buses at each location will transport volunteers to various sites along the creek and shuttle volunteers back and forth to the barbeque.

Sturdy shoes or boots are recommended for volunteers who plan to take on the more rugged terrain around the Knollwood SuperTarget site. At Lake Hiawatha, volunteers can bring their own paddleboards, canoes or kayaks to pick up trash around the shoreline.

Wai Nani Surf & Paddle plans to make a limited number of paddleboards available for the cleanup at Lake Harriet. They can be claimed by experienced paddlers 18 years old and older on a first-come, first-served basis.

Wai Nani also plans to offer paddleboard demonstrations until noon following the cleanup.

In addition to Leinenkugel, other event sponsors include Metro Blooms, Freshwater Society and Target. For more information, or to register as a volunteer, go to


Get organics recycling questions answered

With the rollout of organics recycling entering its second and final phase in Minneapolis, the city is offering two training sessions April 9 to help residents prepare for the new service.

City staff will answer questions and offer tips about organics recycling at two sessions planned for parks in North and Southwest Minneapolis. Both sessions will include hands-on learning and demonstrations; presentations from city, county and recycling facility staff; and information on the city’s new Recycling Block Leader program.

Each attendee gets one free kitchen organics collection container and can also take home a lawn sign promoting the new recycling service. Refreshments will be served at the training sessions.

Session one runs 9 a.m.–11 a.m. at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 4055 Nicollet Ave. S., and session two runs 1 p.m.–3 p.m. at Folwell Park, 1615 Dowling Ave. N.

As of mid-March, a little over one-third of Minneapolis residential recycling customers had signed up for organics recycling collection. Delivery of organics recycling carts to phase-two areas begins March 28 and is expected to continue through June.

There is no new charge for the service; a fee has already been added to Solid Waste and Recycling bills. For more information, including a map of phase-two rollout areas, go to


Gardening Matters recruiting new members

With a new growing season just about to sprout, local nonprofit Gardening Matters is recruiting new members to its Neighborhood Garden Networks.

The local gardening nonprofit claimed about 800 members in 2015 who formed four networks in Minneapolis and three in St. Paul. Network members meet throughout the growing season in gardening socials where they swap tips on growing, cooking and preserving fruits and vegetables.

Members also go home with seed packets and seedlings when they kick off the growing season at one of Gardening Matters’ spring distribution events. Garden Networks host separate events to distribute seed packets to members through late April, and all members are invited to pick up seedlings during a May 14 plant distribution event at a location to be announced.

Go to for more information on membership benefits. Individual memberships start at $40 or just $10 plus two hours of workshare.