Green Partners Environmental Education Program

Engage, educate, act and collaborate for the environment

Hennepin County provides funding and support to organizations to to actively educate, engage and motivate residents to become environmental stewards and make positive behavior changes.

We focus on actions to prevent waste, recycle, reduce household hazardous waste, conserve energy, care for trees, protect pollinators, and improve our air and water quality. 

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Environmental education grants

Proposals are being accepted now for Green Partners environmental education grants.

About the grants

Hennepin County awards two types of environmental education grants:

  • Motivating behavior change for projects that focus on motivating adults and older youth to take one or two environmentally friendly actions using behavior change strategies. See the motivating behavior change guidelines (PDF) for more information.
  • Youth environmental stewardship for projects that work with youth on developing an environmental ethic and interest in environmental stewardship using environmental education best practices. See the youth environmental stewardship grant guidelines (PDF) for more information.

Two levels of funding are awarded:

  • If you have received a Green Partners environmental education grant before, you can apply for up to $20,000 for a one-year project or up to $40,000 for a two-year project.
  • If you have never received a Green Partners environmental education grant before, you can apply for up to $10,000 for a one-year project.

Eligible organizations

  • Registered nonprofit organizations such as community groups, youth programs and congregations
  • Park districts
  • Private and public schools and school districts, including community educations programs like early childhood family education

See the Green Partners grants flyer (PDF) for a comparison of the grant options.

Applying for a grant

Application due date

Proposals are due by 4 p.m. on Friday, August 31, 2018.

You can find the application materials on the Hennepin County supplier portal. You must submit your application through the supplier portal.

Before you can submit your application, you must:

  1. Register an individual account with Hennepin County Online Services, THEN
  2. Go to the supplier portal, log in, and register your company's information or register as a new user with your organization. Learn more and get instructions.

Information meetings

Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend an information meeting or contact the program manager, Patience Caso at patience.caso@hennepin.us or 612-348-9352, for feedback on project ideas before applying.

2018 Green Partners grant information meetings will be held:

Information meetings are a chance to hear about the changes we made to the program, navigate the new county application process, learn about effective education and engagement strategies, get assistance with your application or project ideas, and network with other organizations to share ideas and discuss partnership opportunities.

Bring your laptop and your organization’s tax ID number to an information meeting to get help registering your organization with Hennepin County so you can apply for grants.

Please RSVP to patience.caso@hennepin.us or 612-348-9352. RSVP appreciated but not required.

Resources to help you complete your application

Best practices

To help organizations develop successful proposals and projects, we've compiled the best practices for grant projects (PDF). These were developed based on input received from past Green Partners grantees about how they define success and their advice for other project managers.

Sample applications

Insurance requirements

Hennepin County requires organizations to have insurance in order to conduct Green Partners environmental education projects. See the insurance requirements (PDF) to learn what is required. Some projects may require more insurance than what is listed; Hennepin County will contact you if this is the case. 

If your policy does not meet these requirements, contact the Green Partners program manager at patience.caso@hennepin.us or 612-348-9352 for more information.

Program evaluation

We recently concluded an evaluation of the grant program that allowed us to reassess goals, analyze project outcomes, check alignment with community needs and county goals, and look for efficiencies in program management.

Through the evaluation, we heard from current and past grantees, past applicants, community groups, grant managers from other programs, and Hennepin County staff.

The following changes are being implemented in 2018 based on the program evaluation:

  • Separate applications are being accepted for projects that focus on developing an environmental ethic and interest in environmental stewardship with youth and projects that motivate behavior change among older youth and adults.
  • Applications will be accepted once per year.
  • Hennepin County will now post opportunities on the supplier portal.
  • Organizations that have received a Green Partners grant in the past are eligible to apply for up to a two year grant and receive up to $20,000 per year. Organizations that have never received a Green Partners grant before are eligible to apply for a one year grant and receive up to $10,000.

Read the Green Partners evaluation: feedback report and program recommendations (PDF) for a detailed summary of the feedback we received and the corresponding program changes being recommended.

Grants for organics recycling outreach

Hennepin County is conducting a pilot project with the goal of increasing participation in residential organics recycling programs through peer-to-peer outreach. Participating organizations will receive training, funding and environmental education resources to conduct a project in their communities.

Program set up

Participating organizations will:

  • Attend two days of training to learn about organics recycling, uncover the barriers to organics recycling with their audiences, and develop a project plan. Two representatives from each organization will receive a $250 stipend for completing training, conducting barrier and benefit research with their audiences, and submitting a project plan.
  • Receive a grant of up to $10,000 and free supplies to engage their audiences in signing up for or increasing their participation in organics recycling programs.

 Participating organizations

The following community groups are receiving funding in 2018 to engage their audiences in learning about and participating in organics recycling programs:

  • Cleveland Neighborhood Association will engage 500 residents in the Cleveland, Folwell and Jordan Neighborhoods, focusing their outreach to people of color, renters and youth. They will table at events, conduct workshops for the block leaders and do monthly door-knocking.
  • Field Regina Northrop Neighborhood Group will engage 500 neighbors by training block leaders on residential curbside organics collection, participating in the annual neighborhood celebration and holding composting cafés. They will also engage youth in making a video on organics recycling and promote their activities through social media.
  • Kingfield Neighborhood Association will engage 390 residents in the Kingfield neighborhood. They will focus on training block leaders who will lead engagement on the block-level as well as at community events. They will have home-based events, outdoor events and three workshops to train the block leaders.
  • Linden Hills Power and Light will engage 300 residents in project activities in Linden Hills and four neighborhoods in Northeast Minneapolis – Bottineau, Holland, Logan Park and Sheridan. Building on past efforts and success in Linden Hills, they will apply the same outreach model in Northeast Minneapolis by recruiting block leaders established through city programs. They will train block leaders through a workshop and table at events to encourage sign-ups for residential organics recycling.
  • Lyndale Neighborhood Association will engage 750 residents in project activities in the Lyndale and Bryant neighborhoods through peer-to-peer mentorship, an organics resource fair, and learning labs. They will also conduct outreach to the Somali and Latino communities.
  • Northside Residents Redevelopment Council will engage 150 residents in the Near North and Willard Hay neighborhoods through workshops, youth engagement and block leaders. They will have some outreach focused specifically on reaching Hispanic and Somali communities.
  • Recycling Association of Minnesota will engage 150 residents in project activities in St. Louis Park. They will provide residents with information, education, tools and resources through neighborhood and community events and follow up workshops.

Applications

Applications are not being accepted at this time.

Learn more

See the Green Partners Grow flyer (PDF) to learn more about program guidelines and requirements. If you have questions, contact Jessica Arika at jessica.arika@hennepin.us or 612-348-3025.

Get field trip transportation and supplies through the Seed group

About the Seed Group

Groups can receive transportation funding for an environmental education field trip and supplies for environmental education activities. Apply for these resources at any time (see specific guidelines regarding timing below).

Participants in the Seed Group are looking for support and resources to plant the seed of environmental awareness and action in their community. They are looking to collaborate with Hennepin County in a flexible partnership that requires minimal reporting and evaluation.

Eligible groups include any organization that serves Hennepin County residents, except businesses and political groups.

Activity supplies

Receive free activity supplies to engage people in environmental education activities. Available supplies include spray bottles to make homemade, green cleaners, and reusable bags.

Order supplies.

Please plan ahead when ordering supplies. Your order will be postmarked within five business days, and it will take another two to three days for the post office to deliver your order. If you need your supplies sooner, pick up at the 701 Building (701 4th Avenue South, Suite 700, Minneapolis) is an option. Pick-up orders are ready within 2 to 3 business days.

Remember, you can find activity ideas in our environmental education toolkits and reserve environmental education learning trunks. See environmental education resources for more information.

Field trip transportation

Take an environmental education field trip with a county-provided bus service. To be eligible for the field trip, groups must have at least 25 participants age 7 and above.

Field trip destinations must be located in Hennepin County unless you’ve received special permission from the program manager. For ideas, see the list of Recommended Field Trip Locations (PDF). To ensure we can fulfill your request, please apply for field trip transportation between two to eight weeks before your field trip. Field trips must address one of the following environmental issues: reducing waste, recycling, reducing and safely disposing of hazardous waste, reducing climate change and air quality pollution, protecting land and water, understanding ecosystems.

Apply for field trip transportation.

Best practices guidelines

See our Best Practices Guide for Environmental Education Projects (PDF), developed from research and past grantees, to learn how to develop a successful program.

Green Partners meetings

Green Partners networking meetings

Food justice

Date: Thursday, August 16, 2018
Time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (lunch provided)
LocationNorth Regional Library, 1315 Lowry Avenue North, Minneapolis 

Join us for a community meal and learn from community leaders about food justice work in the community.

Bonus: stay for the Green Partners environmental education grants information meeting from 1 to 3 p.m. to learn about current funding opportunities for projects to motivate environmental stewardship and behavior change (or come to the first information meeting on August 1. See the environmental education grants tab for more information).

Aquatic invasive species, water quality, and habitat

Date: Thursday, August 23, 2018
Time: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (lunch provided)
Location: Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol, 4141 Shoreline Dr., Spring Park (map)

Join the Hennepin County’s Green Partners Network at Lake Minnetonka to learn about aquatic invasive species, water quality, and habitat protection. Learn what you can do as a resident and an educator to stop the spread of invasive species in our water. Hear from Hennepin County staff and partners about education and outreach efforts and resources to reach residents and those who enjoy our lakes.

Getting there:
We encourage public transit, bicycling, and walking. Limited parking is available. A bus will pick up passengers at 11 a.m. from Folwell Park in Minneapolis (1615 North Dowling Avenue) and at 11:20 a.m. at the Louisiana Avenue Park and Ride in St. Louis Park (1300 Louisiana Avenue). We will arrive in Spring Park around 11:45 a.m. Spring Park can be reached by Metro Transit bus route 645 from downtown Minneapolis. 

Bring a refillable beverage container:
Please bring your own beverage container. We will have a 5-gallon water dispenser so you can refill your water container.

RSVP
Networking meetings are open to the public. RSVP to Patience Caso at patience.caso@hennepin.us or 612-348-9352. Please indicate which bus stop you will meet us at and if you have any dietary restrictions.

Future networking meetings

Networking meetings provide an opportunity to learn about environmental topics, share resources and project ideas and network with fellow environmental educators. Networking meetings are held about once a quarter. Check back for details on future meetings or sign up for the Green Partners e-newsletter to receive updates.

Information for current Branch and Root grantees

The following is important information and documents for current Green Partners Branch and Root grantees.

Reports and materials for projects starting fall 2017

Reporting documents

Surveys

Presentations and documents from orientation

Reports and materials for projects starting spring 2017

Reporting documents

Surveys

Presentations and documents from orientation

Additional information

Recently awarded grants

Hennepin County awarded grants to 11 organizations in August 2017 to engage their audiences in taking action to protect the environment. The groups will engage more than 3,700 residents in reducing waste, recycling, organics recycling, composting, conserving energy, improving air and water quality, and protecting pollinators. 

Branch group awards

  • Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy: $20,000 to engaged 1,000 youth from high school green teams in Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins and Minneapolis in developing projects at their schools to reduce waste, improve recycling, conserve energy, protect pollinators and improve air quality.
  • Congregations Caring for Creation/Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light: $20,000 to engage 700 youth from congregations in Brooklyn Park, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Plymouth amd Osseo to promote waste reduction, recycling, energy conservation, and water protection in their congregations.
  • Freshwater Society: $20,000 to engage 160 residents in northern and western Hennepin County in protecting water by training and supporting Master Water Stewards in four watersheds that are not currently involved in the Master Water Stewards program.
  • Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota: $19,900 to engage 150 southeast Asian immigrants, refugees, and youth in Minneapolis and the surrounding suburbs in recycling and reducing household hazardous waste through a train-the-trainer program.
  • Minneapolis Area Synod: $20,000 to engage 200 middle and high school youth, college students, and congregation members in Bloomington, Maple Grove, Minneapolis and Plymouth to learn about a variety of environmental issues. 
  • Robbinsdale Early Childhood Family Education Program: $8,000 to engage 600 families in waste reduction, recycling, and household hazardous waste reduction activities.
  • Spark Youth: $18,000 to work with 210 youth from Northeast Middle School in Minneapolis in waste reduction, recycling, composting, and water and pollinator protection activities.

Root group awards

  • Minneapolis Public Schools: $7,100 to work with 150 students at Roosevelt High School in reducing waste and protecting water and pollinators through their urban farming program.
  • Move Minneapolis: $7,800 to engage 150 employees of a medium-to-large downtown Minneapolis workplaces in protecting air quality and conserving energy by mentoring downtown commuters in making changes to their routines and increase the use of transit, bicycling, and walking.
  • Orono Public Schools: $4,700 to engage 285 sixth grade math students, their families, and 35 high school environmental science students in researching, analyzing, and improving recycling and reducing waste at school and at home.
  • Twin Cities Public Television: $8,000 to pilot a summer Sci-Girls program at Hennepin County libraries that will engage 150 educators and 8 to 12 year old youth from Minneapolis in waste reduction, recycling, and environmental education.

Green Partners newsletter

Green Partners is a bi-monthly e-newsletter that provides updates about resources, tools, programs, grants and events to our environmental education partners.

Latest issue

July 2018

In this issue

  • Apply now for Green Partners environmental education grants 
  • Bag something awesome: Choose to Reuse
  • Zero Waste Challenge helps participants slash their trash
  • NAAEE call for award nominations now open
  • New environmental education programs and resources
    • Follow the adventures of Recyclo at Hennepin County libraries
    • Preventing food waste events and resources
    • Resources to make your National Night Out celebration eco-friendly
  • Events and training opportunities
    • Green Partners networking meetings
    • Making Connections: Minnesota Association for Environmental Education annual conference
    • Tree stewards class
  • Green Partners GROW project highlights
     

2018

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