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Great River Greening

Who We Are

The story of Great River Greening started in Saint Paul with people’s desire to improve the Mississippi riverfront and bring people back after decades of neglect: one volunteer, one tree, one acre at a time. Together, the efforts added up and expanded to other communities, guided by leadership and conservation expertise. Nearly 40,000 volunteers have planted over 132,000 trees and restored 17,000 acres throughout the Twin Cities and beyond. But it all started with one volunteer or family signing up on a single Saturday morning to come to a particular site where they worked alongside others planting vegetation, laying erosion fabric, or hauling away branches of invasive species, with a picture in their mind of beauty restored. 

We are results-oriented, measuring our success in acres restored, trees planted, volunteers engaged, and pollution reduced. Our team of ecologists have a combined 60-year experience in restoration, and they are skilled in both science and community involvement. They work with contractors and our own field crew, as well as volunteers. Through on-the-ground projects, volunteer events, and trainings, we together are making a big difference in caring for our natural resources.



What We Do

Great River Greening offers opportunities for all ages and abilities. No prior experience necessary.

Each Spring and Fall, Great River Greening hosts 4-8 volunteer events on Saturdays throughout the Twin Cities metro area. Projects range from planting trees and wildflowers to removing invasive species to surveying bumble bee populations! We require no prior experience or equipment to participate; all you need to do is show up ready to work hard, get a little dirty, and restore our natural areas. Typically, a light breakfast, snacks, and lunch are provided.  

Individuals and families; corporations and businesses; youth and adult groups; environmental and outdoor clubs; community and service organizations; faith-based groups, and college, high school, and middle school students all participate in our events. We only require that children under 12 are accompanied by an adult.

How you can join us:

  1. Restoration Volunteer
    - Help restore our native landscape and secure the legacy of Minnesota land and waters. Activities may include planting, invasive removal, seed collection, and more.
  2. Volunteer Supervisor
    - Great River Greening’s Volunteer Supervisors are the gears of our events. They are the motivators and initiators leading work groups at restoration events. Supervisors provide direction to work groups consisting of 5-15 restoration volunteers. In addition, Volunteer Supervisors may lead smaller projects throughout the year and educate community groups on issues related to ecological conservation and restoration.
  3. Set-up/Registration Volunteer
    - Help Great River Greening set-up for the volunteer event and check volunteers in for the day as they arrive. Great for individuals or groups who are unable to participate in the restoration activities.
  4. Lunch/Clean-up Volunteer
    - Help serve lunch to the hard working volunteers and clean-up from the volunteer event. Great for individuals or groups who are unable to participate in the restoration activities.
  5. Volunteer Photographer