Join us for Earth Day 2021 and beyond

Volunteers at the 2019 Earth Day cleanup

We're planning a busy spring of trash cleanups, garlic mustard pulls and more. Sign up for spring events today!

Last year, we celebrated Earth Month apart from each other. This year, you can volunteer to clean up trash on your own again, as so many did in 2020, logging 200 hours across the Twin Cities. We're also thrilled to bring back one of our favorite traditions, modified for the pandemic: the River Gorge Earth Day cleanup in Minneapolis (now full and no longer accepting registrations).

Whether you can join us on Earth Day at the river gorge or not, we've got ways for everyone to get involved this spring from plastic tracking to independent cleanups, spring volunteer events to stenciling. Together, let's make this a great Earth Month!

Minnesota Earth Day Green Gathering

Minnesota's environmental organizations are teaming up to bring you the first-ever Earth Day Green Gathering, a virtual happy hour where people who care about our environment can connect, hang out, and celebrate our planet.

Everyone is welcome. This event will take place on the Gather platform in a 2D virtual space. Learn more about the gathering and register on Eventbrite.

Independent trash cleanups

Even if you're not able to join us for our scheduled Earth Day cleanup, we encourage you to pick up trash on your own. Though riverbank trash cleanups are important and impactful, it's just as necessary to keep trash out of our streets and storm drains. Any trash that ends up in a storm drain will eventually make its way to the Mississippi, and you can prevent it at the source! 

If you're organizing your own cleanup, or just picking up trash as you walk around your neighborhood, we want to hear about it! Please fill out our brief form to earn volunteer hours that will count towards your SuperVolunteer status for 2021.

The Mississippi River Plastic Pollution Initiative

This year, you can also support a nationwide debris tracking project. FMR is partnering with the Mississippi River Plastic Pollution Initiative, which relies on community science and volunteers to create a plastic pollution map of the Mississippi River. The map will help us better understand how trash along the river is affecting marine health and will ultimately help policymakers take action to reduce pollution.

Our Twin Cities metro is a key location for the project, along with Baton Rouge and St. Louis. Learn more about the project and how you can get started: Download the debris tracker app, select the MRCTI list, and start logging trash you collect — it doesn't even have to be on a riverbank! Whether you're attending our Earth Day cleanup or picking up trash on your own, using the debris tracker app is a simple way to have an even bigger impact, for our river and our oceans.

Spring volunteer events

Of course, the work doesn't end with Earth Day. We're planning a busy spring full of garlic mustard removal, as well as tackling other invasives and planting native species at habitat restoration sites from Minneapolis to Hastings.

Check out our events calendar, then register with me, Sophie Downey at sdowney@fmr.org or 651.222.2193 x27. Please include your name, address (or just city and zip code) and the name of the event(s) you'd like to sign up for.

Late spring and summer stenciling outings

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.

Volunteers mark drains with messages about how the drains connect to the Mississippi. They also distribute related educational materials to neighborhood residents. A typical stenciling outing lasts 1.5-2 hours and needs to take place when the streets are dry. We're now scheduling these outings for late spring and summer 2021.

Learn more or schedule your outing today. 
• If you have a group of 20 or more, you can arrange a stenciling outing led by FMR staff by filling out our stenciling request form or contacting Youth Coordinator Ashley O'Neill Prado at aprado@fmr.org.
• If you have fewer than 20 people, we can help you coordinate your own outing with the FMR storm drain stenciling kit.

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 and erosion. We also offer self-paced online lesson materials. Find those resources and sign up for classroom lessons on our group outings and activities page.

Earth Day and beyond...

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!