There's a sense of peace waiting to be discovered in the outdoors that I've been spoiled by—that throughout my travels has become this miraculous anywhere-kind-of home. Sometimes that peace is the silence that drifts in right before a rainstorm: easy to miss when plugged into social networks of the 21st century but impossible to avoid when wading with my crew through the prairie while the horizon is gathering purple and green.
August has been exciting for the Metro Crew: rather than maintaining rain gardens, we finally had the opportunity to build them! For a week and a half we worked alongside a landscape architect from the nonprofit Metro Blooms. They worked with the neighborhood group in Prospect Park Minneapolis to give grants for rain gardens to be placed on thirteen homeowners’ properties, and we were there to help install them.
Though flowering rush produces beautiful flower heads in the summer, a unique strain of this invasive species has been rapidly overtaking the shoreline of Forest Lake and causing headaches for lakeshore homeowners. As three Central crews removed the plants in late July, they were warmly greeted by landowners who were happy to see the immediate results of the work.
The 13th annual Project AWARE river cleanup set several participation records as hundreds of people paddled all or part of the Wapsipinicon River between the cities of Independence and Olin in Iowa, cleaning up trash along the way.
In late July, two youth crews kicked off the first week of their month-long Summer Youth Corps session by leading over 100 volunteers in cleaning up the historic St. Croix Boom Site near Stillwater. During two half-day events, volunteers from Andersen Corporation and the community raked the beach to remove trash and broken glass, scrubbed cave walls of graffiti, weeded parking lots and a historical marker and cleared invasive species from beautiful overlooks.