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 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

Applications 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

In August 2019, grants were awarded to 16 organizations. The environmental education grants will focus on motivating adult participants to take environmentally friendly actions,  and youth environmental education grants will focus on developing an interest in environmental stewardship. In total, these projects will engage more than 10,500 adults and youth.

Environmental action grants

  • Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy will engage 150 residents of Minneapolis in taking action to save energy and reduce their climate footprint.
  • Freshwater Society will engage 250 county residents in protecting water by piloting a version of the Master Water Stewards program geared to engage local artists in creating art to engage the public.
  • Jordan Area Community Council will engage 150 residents in North Minneapolis in recycling and waste prevention in partnership with Minneapolis Climate Action and Off the Blue Couch and their mascot, Rusty the Recycler.
  • Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota in Minneapolis will engage 150 members of the Southeast Asian community (primarily Lao and Hmong) in learning about how to properly dispose of and reduce household hazardous waste.
  • Minnesota State Colleges & Universities will engage 2,250 students in preventing waste and composting organics during student events on the Minneapolis Community and Technical College campus.
  • Move Minneapolis will engage 2,500 residents who work downtown Minneapolis in altering their commute by incorporating more public transit, bicycling, and rideshare trips.

Youth environmental education grants

  • Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities will engage 1,625 youth in learning about natural ecosystems and recycling their lunch waste in Minneapolis clubs and at the Voyageur Environmental Center camp in Mound.
  • Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis will engage 175 youth from Burroughs Community School and Nellie Stone Johnson School in learning about water.
  • Midwest Food Connection in Minneapolis will engage 750 students in learning about natural ecosystems, pollinators, and waste utilizing garden based curriculum at Seward Montessori and Barton Elementary schools.
  • MIGIZI Communications in Minneapolis will engage 250 community members and American Indian youth in learning and teaching others about ecosystems, renewable energy, and traditional American Indian sustainability practices.
  • Minneapolis Public Schools will support student green team members in raising awareness and engaging more than 1,000 fellow students in taking action to protect the environment by recycling, reducing waste, and supporting the green team at Patrick Henry High School.
  • Spark-Y will engage 500 youth in learning about ecosystems, water, energy, and waste at Edison High, Roosevelt High, and Northeast Middle Schools in Minneapolis.
  • St. Anthony-New Brighton Independent School District 282 will engage 150 high school students and community members in curriculum and service learning projects to learn about climate change and solar energy.
  • Three Rivers Park District will engage 180 middle school youth in outdoor recreation and environmental education through after-school Explorer Clubs at Brooklyn Center, Robbinsdale, Sandburg, and Plymouth middle schools and FAIR school in Crystal.
  • University of Minnesota’s 4-H will engage 150 youth from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center and two additional Minneapolis parks in learning about ecosystems and waste.
  • Urban Strategies Inc. will engage more than 300 youth from the Heritage Park community in Minneapolis to prevent waste and teach others what they have learned and implemented in their own business, the Green Garden Bakery.
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