Project Green finds common (green) ground between farm and city

What’s something that many people have in common with farmers? Nearly everyone loves to see the earth become green again, to feel spring springing.

Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) has joined together this spring with KARE 11, the Twin Cities’ NBC affiliate, and Great River Greening, an environmental restoration group, to raise awareness about how we can all help the environment. The project culminates in a major volunteer beautification project along two miles of roadway in Wayzata in celebration of Earth Day this Saturday.

Nearly 300 volunteers will spend the morning planting 700 trees and 900 wildflowers and shrubs along Wayzata’s Bushaway Road.

All this spring, KARE has aired fifteen second segments as part of the Project Green campaign offering practical tips: how to plant pollinator friendly plants in your yard and garden; the benefits of planting trees; and a promotion of the Earth Day planting event.

Each KARE segment has been paired with a message from MCGA about the proactive role the organization is taking in helping farmers make progressive strides to help protect water quality.

MCGA finds in Great River Greening the perfect partner to help people join in protecting Minnesota’s lakes, streams, forests and prairies. To date, Great River Greening has organized the efforts of 40,000-plus volunteers who have restored more than 17,500 acres of natural areas across the state.

For Great River Greening, the partnership has helped them raise awareness for the Wayzata event on Earth Day, according to Mary Anne Welch, communications director for Great River Greening.

“Earth Day is especially important for us because it kicks off our spring season, when we bring thousands of volunteers out to the sites we are restoring,” says Welch. “It’s a chance to learn about our land and water, to get outside, get our hands dirty, and share moments of connection with each other and nature. It’s the best way we know to inspire stewards for the future.”

Planned in 1858, Wayzata’s Bushaway Road now carries 11,000 motorists daily, making for challenges to the environment in the area. The project seeks to restore the route’s historic character and beauty by filling in the population of high canopy trees. The project comes as the culmination of a long-term city project that has added trails, an innovative stormwater management design, wetland protection and shoreline erosion control to this area.

Other partners in the event include Wayzata Yacht Club, Wayzata Sailing School and BNSF. Cargill has made the Wayzata planting event a centerpiece of its annual Earth Day celebration, and will field 75 employees and their family members to join in.

Meghan Doyle