Beautiful, well maintained greening elements soften the edges of our downtown making it feel more human in scale, promoting way-finding, and connecting the many highlights and neighborhoods of our city. DID looks for opportunities to advocate for greening at the policy level, provide sustainable greening in the public right of way and encourage greening on private properties. It aligns with the Intersections: The Downtown 2025 Plan goal to enhance the greening and public realm of downtown through various projects by the year 2025.
Downtown Mpls has been the donut hole in the city's tree canopy for generations. Not enough trees have been planted, and too many of the trees that have been planted haven't survived or matured. This has serious implications for public health, the urban heat island effect, our natural environment, and the beauty of our public realm. Fortunately, there is a rising tide of support and investment to change that.
Starting in 2017, the DID has been working on a series of street tree pilot projects with the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, Green Minneapolis, the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, and downtown neighborhood associations.
Minnesota GreenCorps, coordinated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, is an AmeriCorps program that aims to preserve Minnesota's environment while training a new generation of environmental professionals. There are approximately fifty MN GreenCorps members serving at various host sites throughout the state. Currently, the Minnesota Downtown Improvement District is hosting one MN GreenCorps member whose project focuses on green infrastructure improvement.
Our MN GreenCorps member, Ella Graham, is working on her MN GreenCorps project in which she analyzes street tree data to improve our maintenance practices. She also plans community outreach surrounding greening in downtown Minneapolis, fosters and maintains relationships with neighborhood associations and other partner organizations, celebrates community members and organizations following a green model, and implements new greening events and initiatives. For more information about the MN GreenCorps program, tree tags, the tree census, or downtown greening initiatives, contact Ella at [email protected] or 612.656.3844.
Climate Impact Corps is an AmeriCorps program organized by the non-profit, Ampact. Their Community Forestry Initiative is a state-wide project to engage AmeriCorps members in the preservation and revitalization of Minnesota's forest. There is one member of the Community Forestry Initiative serving the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District.
Our Community Forestry Member, Eli Marriott, is an AmeriCorps member working with the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District to help support and grow our urban forest, foster community engagement, build strong relationships with the downtown neighborhood associations, and create a greener downtown. For more information regarding trees, volunteer opportunities, or downtown greening initiatives, contact Eli at [email protected] or 608.738.1528.
With more financial support, our weekly watering program could expand to serve more of downtown's neighborhoods. Please contact [email protected] for more information about the adopt a tree program.
When you see a tree tag downtown, give that tree a shout out! Text 612.913.4800, learn more about the tree, and use the hashtag #greeninglab to raise awareness that our plucky young trees are part of our growing downtown forest!
If you care about this too, we want to hear from you! There are lots of opportunities to improve the downtown forest and many ways to contribute. Send a note to [email protected], or check out the calendar below, to get more information about how you can get involved.