Tag Archives: Environtal education

Community to Explore Greening the Holland Neighborhood

Jackson Square Park in Northeast is absolutely the perfect site for intentional planning of the neighborhood’s green spaces.  On Thursday August 4 6:30-8:00 p.m. representatives of the City, Minneapolis Public Schools and Minneapolis Park & Rec will meet with Holland neighbors and others to discuss ideas for greening the landscape and improving water quality in the community.  One impetus for the discussion is the recent designation of the neighborhood school Thomas Edison High School, as a GREEN school.  Students, staff and teachers are at the ready to “green” the neighborhood!

Meeting attendees will want to take time to enjoy Jackson Square Park itself. The newest, and possibly the most notable, is “In Flux”, a spherical sculpture made of steel plates, sculptured glass and light.  The work builds on the connection between the arts community of which the park is an integral part, and the Holland neighborhood.  Surrounding the sculpture are benches and cast iron text excerpts generated during meetings with community residents and Edison High School art students during the artwork development.

On the Waterfront – From Brando to Revival of the Nation’s Riverfronts

Peter Hendee Brown knows waterfront development and is willing to share what he knows.  He’ll be speaking on Thursday, July 26, 5:00-7:00, at Minneapolis Park & Recreation Headquarters, 2117 West River Road.


Whether you are concerned or just confused you probably are wondering just what is going on with the mighty Mississippi – the river ebbs and flows, bridges fall and rise again, traffic patterns of rivercraft are inscrutable, and what is all that cargo being anyway.  And then there are the hundreds of new dwellings and businesses edging ever closer to the mighty waterway that divides our city and shapes our lives.


Planner and architect Peter Hendee Brown teaches private sector development at the U of M.  He is also author of America’s Waterfront Revival, a study of four very different waterfronts – the Tampa Port Authority, the Port of San Francisco, the Port of San Diego, and the Delaware River Port Authority.   Promotional materials from the publisher, the University of Pennsylvania Press, focus on the nub of the author’s message:


Despite their unique histories, markets, and geographic locations, these four ports have many similarities.  Most important, as globalization and technological change led to declines in shipping, they all evolved from single purpose maritime cargo-handling operations into diversified business organizations focused on waterfront revitalization.  All four ports became deeply involved in real estate development in support of nontraditional maritime and nonmaritime public and commercial uses.


That takes change on many fronts – legislation, regulation, finances, organizational dynamics, land use and more.


All are welcome to attend this free and open event.  Take time for a fresh look at the Mississippi which everyone knows, you can from the front porch of Park & Rec….







History, the Stevens House and Kid Power Featured at July 17 Environmental Fair

“Gerda Pulls Harder then the Horses” is the intriguing title of a story to be told by Larry Johnson as one of many features of the Environmental Fair at the July 17 celebration of Colonel John and Helen Stevens, pioneer environmentalists who helped to shape the profile of Minneapolis.  The house that the Stevens built in the  mid-19th Century still lives – just not where it was built.

John and Helen Stevens were early settlers along the downtown side of the Mississippi where they built the first house West of the river in 1849.  In their spare time the Stevens helped to organize the city itself, the first Minneapolis school and the first association to help growing and agriculture in Minnesota.  They earned the land on which that first home was built by offering a free ferry from the West bank (now downtown) to St. Anthony Village (now St. Anthony Main.)

In the late 1800’s historic preservation called for the Stevens House to be moved to Minnehaha Park, a block south of the Falls, where it proudly stands to this day.  Over the years its served the community in a mix of ways including years as a public library, now the John H. Stevens is designated as an historic site open to the public for tours.

So how does one move a house in 1896?  That’s where Gerda comes in!  On May 28, 1896, 7000 Minneapolis school children actually pulled the house from the West Bank downtown to Minnehaha Falls.  That’s the story Larry Johnson will tell at the Stevens House at 1:30 on Sunday, July 17.   During the storytelling session children will enjoy a chance to calculate their own horsepower and to play with old time toys that do not leak mercury into the environment.

Storytelling is just part of the Environmental Fair at the Stevens’ House from Noon to 4:00 p.m.  At 2:30 Jerry Foley will talk about natural plant medicines and the Stevens’ role in promoting early growing in the state.  Throughout the afternoon the yard of the Stevens House will be dotted with tables for current environmental groups including Gardening Matters, Transit for Livable Communities, the Bioneers and others.

The Environmental Fair is free;  tours of the Stevens’ House are $3 for adults or $1 for children.  The John H. Stevens House is at 4901 Minnehaha, right in Minnehaha Park.