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:

Adult environmental action grants

These grants are for projects that focus on motivating participants to take one or two environmentally friendly actions using behavior change strategies. Read the motivating behavior change guidelines (PDF) for more information.

Youth environmental education grants

These grants are for projects that work on developing an environmental ethic and interest in environmental stewardship using environmental education best practices. Read the youth environmental stewardship grant guidelines (PDF) for more information.

Levels of funding

  • If you have received an environmental education grant before, you can apply for up to $20,000 for a one-year project or, if you meet the criteria, up to $40,000 for a two-year project.
  • If you have never received an 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

View the environmental education grants flyer (PDF) for a comparison of the grant options.

Applying for a grant

Applications are not being accepted at this time. Applications will be accepted in spring 2020. 

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

Outcomes reporting 

Environmental action projects with adults must report outcomes to demonstrate participants have made changes in their behaviors. The behavior change outcomes reporting ideas (PDF) provides ideas for applicants to use in developing their project proposals.

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 conducted an evaluation in 2018 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. 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.

Funding for organics recycling outreach in Minneapolis

Funding is available to neighborhood and community nonprofit organizations in Minneapolis to conduct outreach focused on increasing participation in the city's residential organics recycling program. Participating organizations will receive training, funding and environmental education resources to conduct a project in their communities.

Program set up and schedule

  • Organizations can apply for up to $10,000 to conduct outreach from May through December. Up to 10 organizations will receive funding.
  • Organizations will receive tips and supplies to help them carry out their select outreach activities.
  • At least two representatives from each organization will attend a one-day training on Wednesday, May 1 to learn more about organics recycling, uncover the barriers to organics recycling with their audiences, and refine their project plan.

See the organics recycling outreach funding guidelines (PDF) for more details.

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.

Apply now

Application are no longer being accepted. 

Get field trip transportation and environmental education activity supplies

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

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, and the majority of participants must be Hennepin County residents. Eligible groups and organizations include schools, nonprofit organizations, community groups, youth groups, congregations, watershed districts, environmental clubs, and cities, located within Hennepin County.

Select a field trip location and activity that aligns well with the age group and interest of your audience and your educational goals. To more easily get approved for funding, select a field trip site and activity from our pre-approved list (PDF). You can go to field trip sites not listed in this document, but you will have to provide more details about the field trip location and activities and how they align with the county’s goals for this program.

Apply for field trip transportation.

Green Partners meetings

Future network meetings

Networking meetings provide an opportunity to learn about environmental topics, share resources and project ideas and network with fellow environmental educators.

Network meetings are held about once a quarter. The network meeting for fall 2019 has not been scheduled yet.

Check back for details on future meetings or sign up for the Green Partners e-newsletter to receive updates.

Information for current grantees

The following is important information and documents for current Green Partners environmental education grantees.

Reporting documents for projects starting winter 2019

Behavior change projects

Youth projects

Budget reports for all projects

Presentations and documents from orientation

Additional resources

Recently awarded grants

Hennepin County awarded grants to 14 organizations in November 2018 to engage their audiences in taking action to protect the environment. The groups will engage more than 5,400 residents in a wide variety of environmental actions, including reducing waste, recycling, composting, conserving energy, signing up for renewable energy, adopting storm drains, planting and maintaining sustainable landscapes, installing rain barrels, and learning about ecosystems.

Projects will engage residents throughout the county. Ten projects will work with underserved and hard-to-reach communities, and nine projects will engage youth.

Grants to promote environmental stewardship with youth

Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy

Will engage 200 youth from high school green teams in climate change education and environmental leadership activities.

East Side Neighborhood Services

Will engage 150 youth in Minneapolis during out-of-school programs in learning about water protection through a project called H2 Whoa!

Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys

Will engage 200 girls in hands-on, outdoor learning through a series of "Adventure Out, Explore In" environmental stewardship events.

Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light (Congregations Caring for Creation)

Will engage 700 youth and members of faith communities in environmental education activities to encourage energy conservation and environmental stewardship.

North Hennepin Community College

Will engage 150 American Indian and Indigenous high school and college students in environmental stewardship and care for water through the Dave Larsen American Indian Immersion Experience: Nimino-bimaadiziwininaan (environmental stewardship is our way of life) and Ganawendan nibi (care for the water).

Partnership Academy

Will engage, in Richfield, 150 students in grades 4 through 6 in learning about environmental topics, using resources wisely, food, population growth, and pollinators.

Spark Youth

Will engage 250 youth from Pillsbury Elementary, Northeast Middle, and Edison High Schools in Minneapolis in waste reduction and recycling.

Grants to motivating behavior change with adults and older youth

Clean Water Fund

Will engage 150 of their members and people working in downtown Minneapolis in preventing waste through their "Rethink Disposables" campaign that focuses on reducing disposable on-the-go food packaging items.

Cleveland Neighborhood Association

Will engage 150 youth and residents of the neighborhood in picking up litter, preventing waste, recycling, and cleaning up storm drains.

Great Plains Institute for Sustainable Development

Will motivate 250 St. Louis Park residents to use renewable energy in their homes by signing up for renewable energy programs, installing solar, and/or participating in solar energy programs through a youth-led solar energy outreach initiative.

Metro Blooms

Will engage more than 2,500 people in multifamily residences in Brooklyn Park and Minneapolis in learning about green landscaping techniques and participating in activities to design, practice installing, and maintain native and water friendly landscape features.

Minneapolis Toy Library

Will engage 250 parents in preventing waste by borrowing toys for home, travel, and special events and using green cleaners.

Northside Residents Redevelopment Council

Will engage 150 residents from Willard Hay and Near North neighborhoods in water protection by hosting workshops about stormwater and providing rain barrels installation support to 20 community members.

Tree Trust

Will engage more than 200 residents in learning about and taking care of trees in Hopkins, including taking steps to treat or replace ash trees threatened by emerald ash borer.

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