Monday, November 22, 2010

The activities of HMEG

I am proud to be a part of the energized neighbors of the Hamline Midway neighborhood who "show-up". Here is a list of the outcomes achieved by Hamline Midway Environment Group (HMEG) folks over the past year. It was a busy, a fast paced year that was done in a flash. As fall came, we added up the HMEG activities and were wowed. This group is all volunteer, without regular organizational support. We are opportunistic and unwilling to pass up on doable actions. HMEG folks, you are a remarkable people!

2010 HMEG accomplishments

Community Gardens and Greening

  • A new community orchard was installed at Midway Greenspirit Garden. The grant application, orchard design, tool acquisition, tree ordering, installation and maintenance were completed by a wide cast of volunteers. The Orchard is sponsored by the St. Paul Garden Club who granted the money to Gardening Matters for this purpose.

  • Midway community garden sites coordinated efforts to get plant donations this year through the MN State Horticultural Society's MN Green donations. Selecting, driving, and planning happened across all gardens by volunteers.

  • A new garden leader for the Hamline-Thomas garden emerged, which continues an interesting cooperative model of rotating community garden leaders.

  • HMEG was supportive of a gateway planting installed along Snelling and Taylor Avenues. Connecting neighbors to people and resources to help breakthrough bureaucracy.

  • The Snelling Avenue planter project had a successful year due to new volunteer support and better business coordination through a switch to weekday morning events.

  • Horton Park community gardeners hosted a Girl Scout troop this season. The girls trimmed, weeded, planted all while learning a bit about native plants.

  • The Midway Greenspirit Garden hosted the 1st Annual Midway Plant Swap in October.

  • HMEG members participated in the Twin Cities wide effort to explore the creation of Local Foods Resource Hubs.

Community Events

  • HMEG members exhibited at the "Festival of Trees" event at Newell Park in May. Our table had information about the ash tree survey, Emerald Ash Borer, and more. Neighbor volunteers also helped with a bare-root tree planting of 30 trees in and near the park with the 4H kids.

  • HMEG also exhibited at Newell Park for a second back-to-back weekend in May. The Midway Folks Festival brought many neighbors by the HMEG tent to see tree/EAB information and pick-up a free organic "lawn care" sign for their yards (which were donated by the SE Como neighborhood).

  • Six Midway community gardens came together to put on the Bugs n' Bike Parade of Community Garden tour in August. Each site had bug themed activities and information.

  • HMEG hosted a bike event at the library this fall in conjunction with the 10-10-10 Global Workparty. The event included a bike drive and winter biking workshop.


  • The Tree Team acquired a $3,500 grant from Council Member Russ Stark and the COPP fund. This money was sought and used for tree distribution and information in the Midway.

  • HMEG solicited and received youth book donations about trees from Coughlan Companies. These books were donated to the St. Paul Public Library, with a set staying at the Hamline Midway branch.

  • The HMEG Tree team, supported by Metro State intern Tanner, executed a volunteer-driven residential ash tree survey determining the number of ash trees exist on private property trees. In the Midway, we have 10% ash trees on private property, which is lower than the public tree rate of 17%. This citizen science initiative is getting attention locally and nationally.

  • Tree Team held two fundraisers at Borders and 10,000 Villages to raise additional funds for the tree projects.

  • The Tree Team crew distributed over 60 FREE trees to Midway neighbors in the Fall and each recipient got mulch and tree care manual too.

Waste Reduction

  • HMEG sponsored a stint of recycling yogurt cups at Shirtz Unlimited. When Whole Foods added #5 recycling, the program transitioned to their collection.

  • HMEG published a bulletin about leaf recycling Also, volunteers worked with Hamline Hardware to offer fencing lengths that can be used to save leaves for composting/mulching.

  • HMEG continues to explore community compost & recycling maps and blogs hoping to create a waste reduction resource for our local needs.

And More...

  • A new HMEG logo was created printed on banners that were designed to be used with new event tablecloth created from reused, hand-dyed materials.

  • A leap forward in web presence with a new domain (which directs to the new HMEG Blog), a Facebook page, an updated HMC web page with fresh garden & HMEG content. The HMEG Blog came on the scene with many contributors writing about trees, energy conservation, waste reduction, community gardens and neighborhood events.

  • A relationship with Experiential College EXCO and the Hamline Midway Library Association was forged with the hope that classes on sustainable living are offered.

  • Promotion of a series Home Energy Workshops by Metro CERTS for the Hamline Midway neighborhood, that included Home Energy Squad visits to outfit homes with bulbs, weather stripping, thermostats, and more.

  • HMEG members were interviewed for film documentary called the 350 Solutions Revolution.

Support given to these projects came from Hamline Midway Coalition, Extension Service Master Gardeners & Tree Care Advisors, Home Energy Squad, Hamline University, EXCO, Sibley Bike Depot, Metro CERTS, St. Paul Forestry, Frogtown Gardeners, Metro State, Girl Scouts, Gardening Mattes, CM Russ Stark, St. Paul Garden Club, Hamline Hardware, Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply, Coughlan Companies, Borders, 10,000 Villages,, Sibley Bike Depot, Bike/Walk Ambassadors, 350 Solutions Revolution, SECIA, Hamline Midway Library Association