If there’s one thing I’ve learned from talking to hundreds of people in my position as Conservation Minnesota’s community coordinator for the west metro area it’s that water quality is very important to Minnesotans. Folks might talk about why they love Lake Minnetonka; a certain wetland in their neighborhood; or their favorite stretch of Minnehaha Creek, but the theme I hear again and again is how important working to preserve our waters is to people all over the west metro area.
The good news is that all this concern means that people are more than ready and willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work. I saw this first hand back on Sunday July 24th when I attended the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District’s 9th annual creek clean up which was a huge success. Over 2,000 volunteers participated in the event working out of three separate staging areas in Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, and Minnetonka. Collectively we were able to pick up five tons (yes tons) of trash from Minnehaha Creek and surrounding lakes.
The trash picked ranged from things such as a wallet containing a Dayton’s Department Store credit card dated 1983 to a flat screen TV in the creek. I personally didn’t find any TVs but I did find a lot of candy wrappers and cigarette butts that had accumulated over the last year, and I unfortunately learned first hand that there is a lot more garbage in our creeks and lakes than there should be.
My own personal take away from the whole experience was that volunteers are incredibly important in the work organizations like Conservation Minnesota and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District do every day. There are just not enough hours in the day for any one individual to be able to take care of the lakes, wetlands, and creeks they love. This is why we all have to work together when it comes to preserving our waters.
The good news is that ordinary Minnesotans are more than willing to roll up their sleeves and help out. If this sounds like you, please contact me at Johna@conservationminnesota.org and I can hopefully find something for you to participate in throughout the west metro, or perhaps, in your own community.