Celebrate Earth Day with FMR this spring

by Sophie Downey

Though this March has been wintry so far, we're looking ahead to spring, just around the corner! Join us as we return to the river gorge to celebrate Earth Day by keeping our river clean. Or mark your calendar for our other spring events!

For Earth Day

As part of the larger citywide Minneapolis Earth Day cleanup on Saturday, April 23, the river gorge cleanup has become an annual tradition. Hundreds of people from nearby neighborhoods and community groups come together to celebrate Earth Day and contribute to the health and vitality of the Mississippi River.

We can't wait to get outside with our river gorge community and celebrate spring together! After limited-registration cleanups over the past two years, we're thrilled to get back to an Earth Day cleanup that will feel a little more like the ones we hosted before the pandemic. However, our top priority is to look out for volunteer safety, and we will watch COVID-19 guidelines closely as we approach the date.

All are welcome! This is a family-friendly event providing an excellent opportunity to get outside and work together to help improve this treasured area.

Earth Day Cleanup details

To join the cleanup and experience the beauty of the river gorge, simply show up between 9:30 a.m. and noon at either location (36th St & W River Parkway or E 44th St & W River Parkway in Minneapolis) to sign in with FMR staff. We'll provide all the supplies you'll need. However, if you have your own work gloves, feel free to bring them (they may fit better). We strongly suggest wearing sturdy shoes and dressing in layers for the weather. And we suggest bringing a mask for sign-in and whenever you find yourself in close proximity to other volunteers.

If you're interested in bringing a group, please contact Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator Sophie Downey at sdowney@fmr.org or 651.222.2193 x27. We'll work with you to determine which site is a better fit for your group.

This event is supported by local neighborhood group the Longfellow Community Council, and Longfellow area residents are encouraged to attend. The event is also part of the Gorge Stewards program, which actively engages citizens throughout the Twin Cities in the stewardship of the national treasure that is the Mississippi River Gorge.

Beyond Earth Day: Spring volunteer events, stenciling and more

Can't make the river gorge cleanup? No problem! We're beginning to schedule events for spring, and we need your help. (See our full calendar of events here.)

Starting in May, we'll also start stenciling storm drains on St. Paul streets with water quality messages. Storm drain stenciling is a great activity for families, clubs, classes and groups to get outside and help the Mississippi River. We also offer kits that make it easy for groups of 20 or fewer to independently volunteer on their own. Learn more and sign up to be notified once we begin scheduling outings.

Another option to get involved this spring is through educational programs. FMR staff offer live virtual lessons to all K-12 classrooms in the greater Twin Cities metro area, and we look forward to offering in-person lessons in Minneapolis and St. Paul again once it's safe to do so.

Topics include invasive species, wetlands, watersheds, erosion and cultural landscapes. We also offer self-paced online lesson materials. Find those resources and sign up for classroom lessons on our group outings and activities page.

We hope you'll celebrate the river with us this April in whatever ways you can. Here are 25 more ideas about how you can help the river all year long. We're grateful for all you do!