25 Fun Green Actions

We have a list of 25 Fun Green Actions you can take with your neighbors to share at your national night-out gathering tonight – including adopt a storm drain, a zero waste challenge, and becoming a pollinator friendly certified neighborhood. (Download PDF)



beefriendlyPollinator Friendly Blocks

  1. Work with neighbors to plant clover and other pollinator friendly plants on our boulevards www.metroblooms.org
  2. Make sure to buy bee safe plants that have no neo-nics http://www.pollinatemn.org/

Improve Habitat on your Block

  1. Certify your yard, block or neighborhood as a Wildlife Habitat
  2. Help Remove Exotic Plants – Buckthorn Bust Neighborhood Guide
  3. Landscape Alleys to Prevent Graffiti – Report Graffiti, cover it as soon as possible, and use the following plant list to prevent graffiti from re-occurring.

1. Staghorn, 6-8′ H, or Smooth Sumac, 10′ H + – Rhus typhina & Rhus glabra (colonizer)

2. Hop Tree – Ptelea trifoliata

3. Common Ninebark, 8’+ – Physocarpus opulifolius

4. Choke Cherry, up to 20′ H – Prunus virginiana

5. American & Beaked Hazel, 6′ H + – Corylus americana

6. Wild (Meadow) Rose, 3-6′ H  – Rosa blanda (colonizer)

7. Wild raspberry and blackberry – Rubus allegheniensis



6. Be a good neighbor with backyard fires

When you’re planning to have a recreational fire, these simple suggestions could help make sure you’re being a considerate neighbor:

  • Postponing a fire when Minneapolis is under an air pollution advisory or alert. Fires release fine particles that contribute to air pollution and can aggravate a number of health problems, including asthma. Sign up for air quality alerts.
  • Letting neighbors know when planning a fire.
  • Postponing a fire when smoke will blow directly at a neighbor’s house or when still weather conditions prevent smoke from moving away at all.
  1. Get the MPCA APP for email air pollution alerts – On days when air pollution exceeds safe levels, the MPCA issues alerts suggesting ways we can protect our environment and our health.
  2. Stop idling your car, even at stop lights, especially during the summer.  Reduce idling whenever possible. If your car is turned off for as little as 30 seconds and then restarted it saves fuel and pollution.



Mulch, water, and put guards up for new trees planted by the city. Find more info at www.minneapolisparks.org and www.ci.stpaul.mn.us/depts/park.

10.  Plant a Tree

11.  Watering Trees – Brewing a Better Forest

Newly planted trees need water in the Spring before the leaves are fully out. You can start … Trees also need a moist root system to get through winter in good shape. Trees can be watered until the ground is frozen. Adopt a boulevard tree to water and receive a coupon for a beer.

12.  Emerald Ash Borer Awareness

Your block club can tie Green ribbons around the ash trees on your boulevard to raise awareness among neighbors about the benefits the trees give us and to plan ahead for tree replacement

Ash Tree Replacement Request: Complete this online form to have one of our arborists determine whether we can replace the tree. This free service is part of our ash canopy replacement plan for publicly owned ash trees.

Emerald ash borer (EAB) A quarantine has been placed on Ramsey, Hennepin, Houston, and Winona counties to help slow the spread of EAB to other areas.



13.   Slash your trash – join the Zero Waste Challenge

If you’ve ever wanted to reduce the amount of waste you create, Hennepin County’s new Zero Waste Challenge is a great way to learn more and get hands-on help.  Hennepin County Environment and Energy is looking for 50 households to take a year-long look at the goods we buy and the waste we create to uncover opportunities and challenges to increasing recycling and reducing waste.

Participating households will:

  • Get customized coaching and hands-on help from staff and trained volunteers to make low-waste lifestyle changes.
  • Have access to workshops and classes on a variety of waste reduction topics.
  • Track and report the amount of waste their household generates weekly for a year.
  • Make their best attempt to take action to reduce the amount of waste they create.

The program starts September 15, 2016, and ends September 15, 2017. For their efforts, participating households will receive a $350 stipend. Apply to participate by August 26 at www.hennepin.us/zerowastechallenge .

14.  Sign Up for Curbside Organics Recycling Pick Up

15.  Start Back Yard Composting

Your everyday kitchen food scraps, leaves, and garden debris are a great source of natural fertilizer for your garden. And turning them into nutrient-rich compost is easy. Learn how at: www.pca.state.mn.us/living-green/start-composting-your-backyard



16. Keep a healthy, pollinator-friendly lawn Mow high 2 ½, to 3 inches, for deeper roots to soak in more rain.

  • Sweep Clean keep your grass clippings of the street & hard surfaces
  • Lawns need only 1 inch of water per week, only water when needed
  • Try fescue grass seed  (deeper roots, drought tolerant)
  • Pollinator friendly buy plants with no neo-nics
  • Sweep Clean – Keep leaves &  grass off street.

17.  Adopt your Storm Drain

18. Community Clean Ups for Water Quality  Organize neighbors to rake the leaves, sticks and trash off your street, (before it rains or snows) Free leaf bags are available for your event from the Alliance.

19.  Plant a Rain Garden

20. Ask for a home visit by a Master Water Steward to plan a Rain Garden, Buy a Rain Barrel, or point down spouts toward the grass.



21. Join the Lake Street Energy Challenge

22. Sign Up for a Home Energy Squad Visit

23.  Sign up for Wind Source

mnCSnorthfield24. Join Our Community Solar Garden

  • Help MN move toward a future with 100% renewable electricity!
  • Save 10% on your monthly electricty bills
  • Partner with us! Your community group will receive a $50 donation for each household that joins our solar gardens through our landing page.

Sign up today to begin reserving your spot in our Solar Garden!

MN Community Solar is great local company that helped develop our State’s Solar Legislation that is committed to the pollinator pledge and diverse job training & placement and received Good Neighbor and Community Leader in the Consumer-Friendly Guide.

The Alliance is also partnering with the Lake Street Energy Challenge and neighborhoods & congregations along Lake Street to sign up 500 households!


25. GET INVOLVED with your CITY’s Comprehensive Plan Update!

Join our Sustainable Communities Network (free) to meet volunteers from 50 communities in our 7 county metro area helping their city plan for climate resilience and equity.

Minneapolis 2040 – thriving, climate resilient & equitable! In 2016 and 2017, let’s help our city create a City Wide Vision and Plan for 2040 and work with our neighbors and faith communities to make our vision a reality!

100% Clean Energy – Racial Equity – Healthy Food – Vibrant Economy – Transit, Walk & Bike Friendly – Healthy Lakes & Streams – Zero Waste


Sign up to host a Place Making or Village Building Project this Summer with your neighborhood, block club or faith community!cityrepair

This summer or fall the Alliance for Sustainability, On the Commons and the Permaculture Research Institute are hosting the Twin Cities visit of Mark Lakeman & Sarah Michaelson from the City Repair Project in Portland, OR.

We are looking for enthusiastic block clubs, neighborhood and faith communities or transition towns who would like to host a Place Making/Village Building Project this summer to bring neighbors together through a fun hands on project. Examples of projects include:

  • Planting pollinator friendly boulevards
  • Building raised bed veggie gardens or little free libraries
  • Painting street murals
  • Building an outdoor kitchen
  • And more!

We will invite metro volunteers to help with your project. Learn more and sign up to host a project by contacting Sean at 612-250-0389 or sean@afors.org or by filling out our quick survey at http://goo.gl/forms/qHfeiUkPXs.