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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Great River Greening

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Environment, Environmental Beautification, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection, Zoos & Aquariums

Mission: Great River Greening inspires, engages and leads local communities in conserving and caring for the land and water that enrich our lives.

Target demographics: communities, youth, environmental conservation and restoration

Geographic areas served: Minnesota

Programs: Volunteer: Each spring and fall, Great River Greening (GRG) hosts 6-8 large events on Saturdays throughout the Twin Cities metro area. Youth: Field Learning for Teens creates opportunities for students to learn about local natural areas and careers in the conservation field. TC Metro Conservation: Opportunities are available to a large variety of Metro Area communities who work in parks and local natural areas to improve the ecological health of the land and water, and enhance recreational experiences. Anoka Sandplain: GRG leads a partnership of conservation stakeholders to preserve this unique and valuable ecological treasure in east-central Minnesota that provides critical drinking water, unparalleled recreational opportunities, and essential habitat for nearly 100 rare plants and animals. Minnesota River: Working at a subwatershed scale to positively impact agricultural watersheds, this program takes a collaborative, solution-oriented approach to facilitate local-scale action.

Community Stories

30 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Fit S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Great River Greening since 2008. I have been a supervisor since 2010. Great River Greening is an organization that actually gets things done. They engage the community through volunteer opportunities for all. I look forward to working with them in the future.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great River Greening is an excellent organization committed to community-based restoration of natural areas. I became a volunteer with Great River Greening when I heard that they were assisting in restoring the natural habitat in a Scientific and Natural Area near my home. I was impressed with the commitment to improving the natural environment in my community. I went through the Great River Greening training to become a volunteer supervisor; a volunteer assisting other community individuals or groups as they participate in organized events focused on natural area restoration. After three years of volunteering with Great River Greening and working with numerous volunteers, I can say without reservation that this organization is unsurpassed in quality and results, in their mission of restoring natural areas in Minnesota. What works with Great River Greening? The staff is well organized and skilled in both human relations and the natural ecosystems associated with restoring natural areas. Events happen as advertized. The volunteers (supervisors and community members) are welcomed, trained, provided the tools and the background information needed to accomplish the assigned task, are given positive feedback during and after the event, and leave with a sense of completion and accomplishment. The volunteers understand that they have invested in and can take ownership in making their community a better place for themselves and for the natural world. Great River Greening enables all that to happen. Without Great River Greening, our communities would be less inviting and our natural areas would be less robust and diverse. I support Great River Greening and their mission of community-based restoration of natural area.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a new Board member, I am impressed by the many community and volunteer-based activities GRG organizes, as well as the outstanding commitment to ecological restoration. GRG is an outstanding organization that emphasizes grassroots efforts. One of my favorite programs is the Science Area Teens Network, where teenagers volunteer a part of a Saturday to work on a restoration project and learn about the importance of maintaining the well-being of their natural environment.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have worked with Great River Greening for over 5 years and have been a Board member for the past two years. I love that we work collaboratively in partnerships across communities to acheive tangible improvements for key habitat areas and waterways in Minnesota. And, at the end of any project, we can look back at the work and see our dirty hands and the clear progress for the environment. Go Greening!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great River Greening has been one of my favorite non-profits to partner up with because I work for a non-profit organization myself. The great things we've done together isn't forgotten but will strengthen our partnership and organization as a whole. I thank you.

Marie O.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Employees from the Braun Intertec Bloomington office got their hands dirty to help restore the Conservation Corridor in Woodbury, Minnesota. Braun Intertec volunteers spent several strenuous hours removing invasive species and hauling non-native brush to preserve the habitat for rare birds and species including the bobolink, meadow lark and Henslow’s sparrow. The work done will help to ensure the prairie is allowed to thrive for generations to come!

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been long impressed with Great River Greening's ability to mobilize volunteers for large scale restoration projects. I've participated in some projects and am always impressed with volunteers' commitment and enthusiasm for planting native species and removing buckthorn and other invasives. Volunteers know they are making a tangible, long lasting difference. Great River Greening is very strategic and looks for opportunities to stay relevant. Recent campaigns have involved planting a million acorns and now they are focusing on restoring land habitat for better water quality and protection. Great River has also been involved in protecting and preserving a sacred native American site in Mendota Heights.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for years with Great River Greening. They are an outstanding organization and employee some of the most intelligent people when it comes to conservation, restoration, etc. They really understand various ecosystems such as wellands, rivers, forests, prairies, farmland, etc. Not only does Greening understand the science behind how all these ecosystem work and interelate, they take the time to teach us layman about these systems and how they benefit not only the environment but the communities we live in. I have been so impressed with my experience as a volunteer with Greening that I became a board member last year. My involvement with Greening has been extremely fullfilling. I have been involvde with them on several projects that involved hundreds of volunteers and thousands of trees and shrubs. Not once have I ever been disappointed with the level of service, care, involvement, and educating that Greening provides.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Great River Greening is a top notch organization that has the unique ability to preserve prairies, forests, and waters by coordinating the talents, efforts and resources of the various communities it serves as well as large corporations.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I teach Environmental Science at an urban community college. Since 1998, I have worked at Great River Greening events with groups of my students almost every semester. I offer these events to my students for extra credit and as a way for them to gain experience in hands-on ecological restoration work, while also studying about habitat loss and fragmentation in class. The events are well organized and planned by staff with extensive ecological knowledge and expertise. I have had more than 400 students participate in these events throughout the years, and many have benefitted greatly from what they learned and experienced. Some have even brought friends or family back to the sites to see what they have done. Many of our students have never done this sort of work before or had a direct connection with making a difference in the natural environments of their community. I am grateful to the staff of Great River Greening for providing this opportunity for my students and me.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I am an intern with Great River Greening. I find their cause to be an ideal one in the environmental field, since it both helps the environment and engages and educates the community-- their team of professionals determines what needs to be done to restore natural areas, and they engage the community in doing so. I've also found their staff to be friendly and welcoming, and their events to be an enjoyable experience.

Bridget R.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I worked for Great River Green as an intern for almost a year. They are a wonderful nonprofit organization with an endless drive to make our Minnesota communities a little greener each day. The employees are tireless workers and the volunteers have amazing spirit. The work environment is very comfortable and you always feel welcome as soon as you walk in!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I've volunteered for Great River Greening for 3 years, and really enjoy the events that they host. The restoration events are well thought, the right amount of work, and definitely get work done. I have volunteered for other ecosystem restoration nonprofits and the difference that is seen immediately when you show up to a site; somebody is there to greet and show you to the registration booth, maybe grab a coffee or water, and then converse with your group supervisor until everyone shows up. I also like that volunteers are shown why a certain exotic species is bad; not just that it has to be removed.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great River Greening is a local non-profit organization working to restore the metro Minneapolis-St. Paul community, by removing invasive species and re-introducing native species to the area. This organization is dedicated to encouraging local citizen to support the local community through environmental volunteer efforts.
I have enjoyed my volunteer time with Great River Greening. It is always a pleasure working outside to improve the environment no matter what the weather conditions are. I have volunteer with Great River Greening on days where it is only 1 degree outside and snowing, to thunderstorms, to beautiful sunny days. The Great River Greening staff is helpful and friendly.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love volunteering with Greening. The outdoor events not only are completing a needed ecological service, but allow people from different communities to interact. Plus you get some sunshine and exercise. It's an overall great experience and I love the energy at the events.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for Great River Greening for the past three years. Great River Greening is very well organized and offers fun and interesting volunteer projects. The staff is extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and welcoming. I've always felt appreciated by the organization. Some of the projects I've worked on include restoring native habitat, planting trees, clearing out invasive plants, restoring shoreline, making a rain garden, collecting seeds, and more. One can also volunteer in public relations projects such as staffing booths at various events like the Living Green Expo; a wonderful opportunity to network with other Green organizations and meet other volunteers. They also serve a nice lunch after the project is complete! This is especially appreciated after working hard in the fresh air. A top notch organization to volunteer for!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great River Greening has been the best organization to volunteer for my far. The management is very organized and has the site set up for volunteers so that their is no confusion upon arrival. The day is planned to the minute so that volunteer time is not wasted. Most events include a brief discussion of the history of the area in order to provide a broader context for the project and give volunteers a sense of ownership in the work they are doing because they feel a part of the area. At the conclusion of the event, GRG does a presentation which sums up the accomplishments of the day. Overall, great leadership, great events, and great fun with GRG!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've worked with Great River Greening for about a decade. I love the organization! I've worked as a volunteer, and a volunteer supervisor.

Greening works with the government organizations, and corporations to find sites around the metro area to restore to native vegetation.

They organize volunteers into work groups and then depending on the task of the day we clear invasive species, plant natives, build rain gardens or anything necessary to restore the site.

Greening visits sites over the years, so I've had the pleasure of working at two sites over the years that are very special. The Flint Hills Resource site has changed from a buckthorn choked mess to a lovely oak savanna.

I have also worked at the Mendota Bridge site over the years, this sacred area had been urbanized, and then fallen into disrepair. When the community was discussing how to use the site, developers were interested in building condominiums, but through an effort by the community, environmental groups, and the native American tribe in the area, the open space was preserved for habitat and again as a sacred site.

The mission of the organization is outstanding - bringing habitat to area's around the river. Also, the volunteer work is very satisfying, it's good physical labor, and you can see the fruits of your work in a day, and over the years.

I love Greening.

Gordon H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The work of Great River Greening transforms both people and places. People are transformed as they see their efforts make a meaningful difference in their community. Places are transformed with native plantings that restore the lands to their natural beauty. Imagine neglected lands overrun with invasive, non-native plants. Then imagine a weed patch turning into a wildflower prairie. Or a forgotten property becoming a reborn oak savanna. Or a threatened woodland evolving back into a healthy maple and basswood forest. That is the work of Great River Greening. And that's why I keep coming back as a volunteer.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great River Greening is by far one of the best organizations I have volunteered with. They really appreciate and value their volunteers, and get you up and working quick. It never feels like they are wasting your time, there is always important, vital work to be done.
They help to restore native plant communities, and the health of the soil and water in important and vulnerable natural areas along the Mississippi, Minnesota, and St Croix rivers.
They are able to attract and manage a large number of volunteers. It is very encouraging to see such a vast number of volunteers showing up on a weekend to help save a portion of the planet.
Normally we are cutting out buckthorn, and hauling brush. It's a very good workout, and you get a visceral understanding of the unique environment of the site - true "hands on learning".
Working in a crew, you get to meet like-minded people, and everyone has a unique perspective or factoid to share. I love how community is created while at the same time "real" work is being accomplished - invasive plant species are ripped out, native plants and wildlife habitat is allowed to flourish, and at the end of the day, everyone knows they did something good.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Have helped in the office and in the field putting together items etc for fund raising functions sponsored by GRG

5

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a board member we direct the executive director and advise on all matters of business and purpose. We are project workers, Greening promoters and fund raisers. I have worked on several projects and events and have seen the contagious enthusiasm of the staff and the great results and satisfaction from volunteer projects.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great River Greening not only leads and supports community based initiatives for the preservation and restoration of natural areas, it brings together business, education, enviromental professionals and community action in sustainable partnerships to foster long term interest in ecological stewardhip. All of my experiences have been professional, well managed and their passion shows.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience at the planting events has been very good. The events are very well organized, and volunteers are treated very well. Coordinators and staff provide excellent directions and instructions. Planting events provide a great experience for everyone, particularly families.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with Great River Greening for over three years. This organization does important ecological restoration work. They involve people from the local community in restoring prairie ecosystems. The volunteers work hard, but always have fun, and by the end of the work session, two things always happen: lunch is served, and awareness is raised in the community. The events are well-organized. The staff is knowledgable, helpful, and fun. Great River Greening events always seem to bring out the best in the group of volunteers, and that kind of consistent experience must be attributed to the organization's staff. Because I usually bring a group of students from the two-year college that I teach at, and I require that those students write about their experiences, I know that Great River Greening's work changes lives in addition to restoring ecosystems.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization has provided a great opportunity for me to get involved with like minded people. It's helped me to have a positive impact on the physical environment. Plus on people new to issues impacting quality and richness of life. I worked with inner city kids that had their first experience with planting a tree. It's been deeply rewarding to me to see their interest in the natural world come to life. I would not have had this without Great River Greening.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Greening is a great place for volunteers interested in making a tangible difference in the metro's natural areas. They engage all kinds of volunteers in projects that bring a richer understanding of conservation and natural resource management. One of the best things about Greening is the way they strive to bring in the local community on projects. I am lucky to have had a wonderful internship experience as well as acting as volunteer supervisor at a few events. Greening allows volunteers to take on a lot of responsibility, which allows for greater learning and growth as well as a better sense of stewardship for the land.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love volunteering with Great River Greening for it is extremely well organized fills a need in our metro area. They help foster community and a sense of respect for nature and living things, for after helping to restore an area, one tends to claim it as one's own and want to protect it. I especially like Great River Greening's work with less affluent teens, both in the field and the classroom, planting the seeds for leadership and future work in ecology. At events, Great River Greening does a good deal of informal teaching, not just about invasive/exotic plants but how removal of those plants can have an effect on that area. Having gotten into Great River Greening, I find Great River Greening has gotten into me and my flower garden is now one of native plants.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a top notch environmental volunteerism organization. I've worked with them for several years, doing invasive species removal and site clean-up and planting, on helping their management to plan education initiaives for volunteers, and on supervising volunteers on work sites (working alongside them all the while). Independently and by conicidence, my place of work screened many volunteer organizations for an Earth Day initiative we started last year, and found this one to be the most professional they came across. They are well deserving of my praise, and of your precious time and money.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I first volunteered with GRG, I helped remove invasive buckthorn in a park near the twin cities. It was a wonderful experience and I was extremely impressed by how smoothly the project went especially considering there were hundred of volunteers. At all the events I have volunteered at over the last five years, GRG has done an amazing job of getting the community involved in restoration work. I have been involved in projects that range from building rain gardens to removing invasive species and helping with erosion control. As an ecologist, I appreciate the work that GRG does at promoting native plants and wildlife and improving water quality in the region. GRG also does an amazing job at reaching out to the community and people who have never been involved in restoration work. After I volunteered a few times with GRG, I became a volunteer supervisor and helped lead groups of volunteers at the events. Being a supervisor really showed me the impact that GRG has on the local community. I have had the opportunity to hear the stories of dozens of volunteers including those of elementary school students who can’t wait to show their friend the rain garden they helped plant, those of employees of businesses located across the street from a restoration event, who are excited about going on walks in the newly restored area during their lunch breaks, and those of teenagers who had never thought twice about the parks next door. By making the tasks at each volunteer event straight forward and having the work broken down into tangible units, GRG allows people with any background to make a significant impact on the environment and to feel a connection with and a sense of ownership of their public lands.