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5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Week

Scott County residents are emerging from the long Minnesota winter to a bright and warm spring in 2021, and believe it or not, it's Earth Day this week already! This Earth Week, discover new, clever ways to recognize the day. Communities are coming together to support not only themselves, but also the environment around them. Here are some safe and impactful activities you and your family can do this Earth Week.

Adopt a Stormdrain.

One way to protect your local water quality this Earth Day is by adopting a nearby storm drain. All it takes is fifteen minutes twice a month to check on and keep your neighborhood storm drains clear of debris. Debris includes things like trash, grass clippings, dead leaves, and other organic pollutants. The only thing that should be going down your storm drain is storm water.

Storm drains flow directly into local water bodies like lakes, rivers, and streams. Water that drops into the drain does not go through a treatment plant for cleaning like the water flowing out of our houses does. That's why it's important to keep our drains clean and clear. Visit Adopt-A-Drain to find an adoptable storm drain in your neighborhood. Once you do, you'll go out to clean the drain twice a month, record the amount of debris you've collected, and log it onto Adopt-A-Drain's website. As you collect, you'll be able to keep track of exactly how much trash you're keeping out of the water channel. You can make a big difference in the water quality of your neighborhood!

Scoop the Poop!

Taking walks with your furry friend and watching them frolic over grassy hills is one if the best joys of pet parenthood. But after the fun is had, it's important to clean up after they do their business. Doing so will keep harmful bacteria like E. coli out of our surface waters.

The connection might not be obvious, but there is a direct pathway from pet waste in residential yards to E. coli in our lakes, rivers, and streams. The storm drains on your streets flow right into nearby waterbodies. So when it rains in your yard or along city sidewalks, the bacteria from your pet's waste flows directly into the nearest river or lake without any treatment or filtration.

If you have accumulated poo in your yard from the winter months, take some time this week to clean up the remains. This will make your yard much easier to frolic around in AND prevent harmful runoff. Additionally, always be prepared on walks with a couple doggie bags! For more information, check out our full article on pet waste misconceptions.

Plant Some Trees!

The Scott SWCD Native Tree sale is closed for the year, but those who have placed their pre-orders can pick up their bare-root tree saplings next Friday, April 30th at the Scott County Fairgrounds. As they grow, the tree seedlings will bring beauty, wildlife, and stability to your property.

Each tree that is planted in Scott County plays a role in conserving soil and water by holding soil in place and allowing storm water to seep into the ground. At last year’s tree sale, residents purchased 29,000 tree and shrub seedlings to plant for wildlife habitat, property borders, and landscaping. If you didn't get a chance to order trees this year, subscribe to our tree website for updates and openings for our 2022 sale.

For additional information regarding this year’s sale, or if you didnt get a chance to order trees this year and would like to be notified for our 2022 sale, call the Scott SWCD office in Jordan, (952) 492-5425, or subscribe to our tree website.

Identify Native Plants.

Spring has sprung! If you've looked outside recently, the trees and bushes are budding. And each new bud reveals a key identification factor for a plant, shrub, or flower. Can you name any of the plants in your backyard?

One of the great positives of sheltering in place is the free time that people have to learn new skills or hobbies. Why not add a little bit of plant identification to your skill set? Learning about the natural world around you is a fantastic way to feel more connected to it. It gives you even more reason to want to protect it and watch it thrive!

To help start your process, it's helpful to learn the parts of a plant that differentiate it from others. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has fact sheets and general information on their website.

Other helpful tools include free apps you can download that will identify plants for you in real-time. Some of the more notable apps include iNaturalist, and MinnesotaWildflower. These apps will take a photo of a plant in front of you, and based on other user's discoveries and the anatomy of the photo, it will provide you with a list of potential species. Both are available in the App Store.

Get Outside!

It may seem obvious, but this is the perfect time to explore the hidden gems around your neighborhood. Is there a walking path you haven't explored yet? A strange landmark you've wanted to take a closer look at? Now's the time! Whether its going for a walk, having a bonfire, or even just sitting outside listening to the world go on, getting outside is a great way to refresh your brain and body.

Stay curious, and do a little something to help the planet this week!


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