Saturday, November 6, 2010

HMEG- Let's Celebrate!

Hamline Midway Environmental Group Volunteer Celebration

Please join us for a casual celebration of the many volunteers who have helped make the Hamline Midway clean and green! Stop by any time from 1:00 to 3:00 to enjoy a cup of coffee, hot cider and a treat with your fellow neighbor volunteers to reflect on the many accomplishments of the Hamline Midway Environmental Group over this past year. From our urban forest, to the community gardens, and the many community events we’ve hosted--you’ve all worked very hard and contributed so much! Also, if you are new to HMEG and/or want to learn more about the group and its recent accomplishments, you are welcome to stop by also. Let’s celebrate!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gingko’s Coffeehouse


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Taking Stock

The Hamline Midway is known for its community gardeners, library lovers, tree supporters, chicken keepers, bike enthusiasts, and such (remember the "urban petri dish"?). This year, ambitious Hamline Midway neighbors have certainly lived up to the billing. Here is a list of accomplishments that Hamline Midway Environment Group supporters have managed to pull off. We say "manage" because folks knew that the goals were high and some individuals were biting off nearly too much. However, these eco-volunteers cannot pass-up a good opportunity and many opportunities certainly presented themselves in 2010. HMEGers are not satisfied with being idle and watching unsustainable situations continue.

Mainly, HMEG folks continued their mantra to "show up" and do.

There are many individuals who contributed to these outcomes. They are not listed specifically here, but our neighborhood, city and globe say "thank you" for your energy!

2010 HMEG accomplishments

Community Gardens and Greening

  • A new community orchard was installed at Midway Greenspirit Garden. The grant application, orchard design, tool acquisition, tree ordering, installation and maintenance were completed by a wide cast of volunteers. The Orchard is sponsored by the St. Paul Garden Club who granted the money to Gardening Matters for this purpose.

  • Midway community garden sites coordinated efforts to get plant donations this year through the MN State Horticultural Society's MN Green donations. Selecting, driving, and planning happened across all gardens by volunteers.

  • A new garden leader for the Hamline-Thomas garden emerged, which continues an interesting cooperative model of rotating community garden leaders.

  • HMEG was supportive of a gateway planting installed along Snelling and Taylor Avenues. Connecting neighbors to people and resources to help breakthrough bureaucracy.

  • The Snelling Avenue planter project had a successful year due to new volunteer support and better business coordination through a switch to weekday morning events.

  • Horton Park community gardeners hosted a Girl Scout troop this season. The girls trimmed, weeded, planted all while learning a bit about native plants.

  • The Midway Greenspirit Garden hosted the 1st Annual Midway Plant Swap in October.

  • HMEG members participated in the Twin Cities wide effort to explore the creation of Local Foods Resource Hubs.

Community Events

  • HMEG members exhibited at the "Festival of Trees" event at Newell Park in May. Our table had information about the ash tree survey, Emerald Ash Borer, and more. Neighbor volunteers also helped with a bare-root tree planting of 30 trees in and near the park with the 4H kids.

  • HMEG also exhibited at Newell Park for a second back-to-back weekend in May. The Midway Folks Festival brought many neighbors by the HMEG tent to see tree/EAB information and pick-up a free organic "lawn care" sign for their yards (which were donated by the SE Como neighborhood).

  • Six Midway community gardens came together to put on the Bugs n' Bike Parade of Community Garden tour in August. Each site had bug themed activities and information.

  • HMEG hosted a bike event at the library this fall in conjunction with the 10-10-10 Global Workparty. The event included a bike drive and winter biking workshop.


  • The Tree Team acquired a $3,500 grant from Council Member Russ Stark and the COPP fund. This money was sought and used for tree distribution and information in the Midway.

  • HMEG solicited and received youth book donations about trees from Coughlan Companies. These books were donated to the St. Paul Public Library, with a set staying at the Hamline Midway branch.

  • The HMEG Tree team, supported by Metro State intern Tanner, executed a volunteer-driven residential ash tree survey determining the number of ash trees exist on private property trees. In the Midway, we have 10% ash trees on private property, which is lower than the public tree rate of 17%. This citizen science initiative is getting attention locally and nationally.

  • Tree Team held two fundraisers at Borders and 10,000 Villages to raise additional funds for the tree projects.

  • The Tree Team crew distributed over 60 FREE trees to Midway neighbors in the Fall and each recipient got mulch and tree care manual too.

Waste Reduction

  • HMEG sponsored a stint of recycling yogurt cups at Shirtz Unlimited. When Whole Foods added #5 recycling, the program transitioned to their collection.

  • HMEG published a bulletin about leaf recycling Also, volunteers worked with Hamline Hardware to offer fencing lengths that can be used to save leaves for composting/mulching.

  • HMEG continues to explore community compost & recycling maps and blogs hoping to create a waste reduction resource for our local needs.

And More...

  • A new HMEG logo was created printed on banners that were designed to be used with new event tablecloth created from reused, hand-dyed materials.

  • A leap forward in web presence with a new domain (which directs to the new HMEG Blog), a Facebook page, an updated HMC web page with fresh garden & HMEG content. The HMEG Blog came on the scene with many contributors writing about trees, energy conservation, waste reduction, community gardens and neighborhood events.

  • A relationship with Experiential College EXCO and the Hamline Midway Library Association was forged with the hope that classes on sustainable living are offered.

  • Promotion of a series Home Energy Workshops by Metro CERTS for the Hamline Midway neighborhood, that included Home Energy Squad visits to outfit homes with bulbs, weather stripping, thermostats, and more.

  • HMEG members were interviewed for film documentary called the 350 Solutions Revolution.

  • HMEG member was appointed to the Energy Cents Coalition board, an organization that promotes affordable utility service for low and fixed income people, works to ensure the basic necessity of energy to all citizens, and encourages the participation of low and fixed income citizens in energy issues and energy related decision-making.

Support given to these projects came from Hamline Midway Coalition, Extension Service Master Gardeners & Tree Care Advisors, Home Energy Squad, Hamline University, EXCO, Sibley Bike Depot, Metro CERTS, St. Paul Forestry, Frogtown Gardeners, Metro State, Girl Scouts, Gardening Mattes, CM Russ Stark, St. Paul Garden Club, Hamline Hardware, Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply, Coughlan Companies, Borders, 10,000 Villages,, Sibley Bike Depot, Bike/Walk Ambassadors, 350 Solutions Revolution, SECIA, Hamline Midway Library Association

Other green actions this year happened in the Midway too. HMEG celebrates these occurrences too:
  • A groundbreaking residential boulevard rain garden with curbcut installed on Hubbard Ave - unique for the city. Project success is being shared to various departments and organizations to encourage boulevard rain gardens as a more routine practice.
  • An new Urban Farm Store, Egg|Plant, was opened by Midway-ites Bob and Audrey.
  • The Hamline United Methodist Church raingarden was dedicated this year and is now known as the Maxine Smith Raingarden. A new mosaic garden sign was made and installed this year.
  • A more pedestrian friendly crossing was planned for Peirce Butler Ave at Hamline Ave. This will allow Midway bikers to travel north more safely and avoiding Snelling Avenue's freeway style interchanges.
  • HMEG's own Diane Dodge was appointed to the Saint Paul Ramsey County Food Commission. Diane will bring and excellent food justice perspective to the commission, and will help ensure the intersection of food and race are not ignored.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Residential Ash Tree Inventory and 2010 Tree Distribution is Completed!

HMEG's 2010 Residential Ash Tree Inventory  has long been completed, but we want to share the final reporting on the project.  Over 25 neighbor volunteers (including a 4-year old, 6-year old, and 2 dogs) counted trees on residential properties and identified how many of those are ash. There are over 6,700 trees and approximately 680 ash trees making our residential ash population about 10% as compared to the public (boulevard, park) ash population of 17%. Also collected were how many properties had space for tree plantings and these addresses were given first chance at HMEG shade tree distributions.  No other neighborhood in St. Paul has conducted this kind of survey and it could not have happened without the efforts of neighbors Tanner Larsen (as part of an internship) and Barb Spears.  Thanks to all volunteers!

To see a full write-up of the project, see an e-copy of the Shade Tree Advocate Winter 2011 issue:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Help Wanted Hamline Midway Recycles Blogmaster

Help Wanted
Hamline Midway Recycles

The Hamline Midway Environmental Group identified a need for a information source for our neighborhood. There is a lot of information about recycle, reuse, or reduce on the internet but where are the LOCAL drop off places so we can also save energy? We began to build to fill this need. We now need to find a neighbor who is passionate about recycling who will continue this site development and get the word out to our neighbors.
Take a look at what we have done so far and contact to find out more. Thank you for your help. HMEG

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rain Fall Summer 2010 at the Midway Green Spirit Community Garden

HMEGer and community gardener, Everett, set-up a rain gauge this season at the Midway Green Spirit Community Garden. The rain gauge is located inside the bee hive enclosure. This is a table of the weekly rain fall for 2010 as measured each Sunday for the previous week.

  • 6/27 - 3.75"
  • 7/4 - 0.25"
  • 7/11 - 1.50"
  • 7/18 - 1.50"
  • 7/25 - 0 .75"
  • 8/1 - 0.4"
  • 8/8 - 0.4"
  • 8/15 - 4.4"
  • 8-15-9/12 - 1.25"
  • 9/19 - 1"
  • 9/24 - 3"
  • 9/24-10/17 - 0"
Average about 1.1"/week during prime growing season.

Thanks Everett for your diligence in collecting this data. For comparison, or more climate data (this year and historical) the University on Minnesota has collected measures on this page.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Climate change bike ride: Send-off the 350 Solutions Revolution bikers on Oct 16th

350 Solutions Revolution is a bicycle journey across America filming the story of local communities’ working to solve the climate crisis. They started biking from Portland, Oregon to Washington, D.C. and along the way, they are filming a documentary of local communities’ solutions to the climate crisis. On November 16, they will meet with senators in D.C. to share the homegrown solutions with them. Then they will take a train to Florida and sail to Cancun, Mexico for the United Nations Climate Change Conference November 29 – December 10, 2010.

Everyone is welcome to join! You are invited to ride for a day or the whole way. The next ride is on:

Participation Pedal: Sendoff Bike Ride – Oct. 16, 10am @ Walker Sculpture Park
Further, there is a Reception and Fundraiser on October 13, 5-8pm
Celebrate the halfway mark of our journey! Minneapolis, Minnesota! Riders Alec Neal, Katherine Ball, and Malkolm Boothroyd will share stories, solutions, photos and videos about the journey thus far. We will also have art for sale and light refreshments provided by the fabulous pastry chef and author Zoe Francois (
This reception is also a fundraiser, but their is no obligation to contribute.
Please RSVP: 313.605.2924,
Wednesday, Oct. 13, 5-8pm
Home of Craig and Patricia Neal, 3600 Zenith Avenue S. #101, Minneapolis, MN 55410

What does the number 350 mean?

350 is the most important number in the world—it’s what scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Right now we’re at 387 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere. We need to get below 350ppm to stabilize the climate and prevent complete disaster. Our friends at are supporting this ride and working to get our leaders to craft policies that will put the world on track to 350. Visit for more information on the science behind 350.
“The Solutions Revolution: Here’s a team that’s spreading the most important number in the world–350–one mile at a time across the middle of the nation. The ride is waking up a country that needs waking up, because our Congress holds one of the keys to solving the climate conundrum!”

- Bill McKibben, Founder of

Free Home Energy Efficiency Workshop for St. Paul Residents

Saturday, October 16, 2010 from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

St. Paul residents are saving money and energy by participating in Neighborhood Energy Service. The program, a joint effort by Metro CERT and the Neighborhood Energy Connection, educates residents about energy use and then sends a crew to their home to install basic energy saving materials. Once doors have been weather stripped, light bulbs changed, and thermostats replaced average participants have been saving an average of $192 per year on their energy bills. Participants will receive personal energy reports in the mail after their home visit and are eligible for additional rebates up to $400 for air sealing/insulating and up to $250 for a new furnace/boiler.

Materials installed may include:

  • Door weather stripping
  • Compact Flourescent Light (CFL) bulbs
  • Low flow showerheads
  • Faucet aerators
  • Hot water heater blanket
  • Programmable thermostat

Must attend workshop to qualify for discount and rebates. Program only available to St. Paul residents (renters are welcome!)

Program sponsored by the Environment and Natural Resource Trust Fund. Other partners include Center for Energy and Environment, Xcel Energy, City of St. Paul, and Minnesota Conservation Corps.

Event is FREE, RSVP at

Central High School Auditorium
275 Lexington Pkwy
Saint Paul, MN 55104

Can't attend on Oct 16th? Check out

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

HMEG Bulletin: Fall Leaf Recycling for Mulch and Compost

The Hamline Midway Environment Group has adapted information from the MPCA, Master Gardeners and from their own experience to get the word out that your autumn leaves are a valuable resource. Autumn leaves have nutrients or can fulfill function that is required by your lawn, compost pile, chicken run, or gardens. Sure, you can always take the material to the county yard waste compost site, but here are several eco-smart options that will benefit you for 12 months until the next fall:

  • If you have a backyard compost bin, or plan to start one, save your dry leaves to use as a carbon source, or "browns". "Browns" are essential to non-smelly, active compost and must be added to vegetable scraps (aka "greens") for compost success. You cannot avoid finding a "browns" source while composting, so why not use what falls onto your yard?
  • Create free and convenient garden mulch from your leaves by collecting your autumn leaves in a hoop of wire or plastic fencing. They will breakdown partly over the winter and come next summer, you will have a valuable mulch to use in your garden beds. Leaf mulch (sometimes called leaf mold) works especially well in vegetable gardens because it breaks down quickly in one season. If these leaves are mowed first they will fit into a smaller hoop, but this step is not necessary.
  • Use a mower to break leaves into tiny pieces and leave them on your lawn. A leaf layer that is thin enough to still see some grass is fine for lawns and returns valuable nutrients back to the grass plants.
  • If you have pets, or backyard chickens, dried leaves are a source of free and sustainable bedding. By storing bagged leaves in a sheltered location, you can omit the need to purchase and transport animal bedding.
  • Whether you compost your own leaves or take them to the county compost site, it's important to make sure that you are not raking up dog waste. Dog and cat waste can carry disease and need to be disposed of properly.

You can also help keep our water and air clean by what you don't do with that pile of leaves:

  • Don't throw yard waste in the trash. Mixing yard and tree waste with your trash is illegal in Minnesota.
  • Don't rake leaves onto a city street or sidewalk. It washes too many leaves, and therefore nutrients, into the Mississippi River via the stormwater sewers.
  • And last, don't burn large piles of leaves. Burning of twigs and yard debris releases large amounts of air pollution in to the atmosphere.
Click here if you would like a printable copy of this flyer (pdf)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Some labels for your plant swap transplants

This Saturday is the Hamline Midway Plant Swap! Have you started collecting some plant divisions and seeds for trade? To facilitate swapping, we have a pre-made label for you. Try to fill out as much as possible, but its OK if there is missing information.

To download a pdf sheet of 6 labels go here:

We will see you at the swap!

First Annual Hamline Midway Plant Swap
Sat, October 2, 10am – 2pm

At the Hamline Park Building (SE corner of Snelling & Lafond)

Sunday, September 26, 2010 Community Biking Event @Hamline Midway Library: Bike drive, workshops, & kid's activities

Community members in the Midway are joining the Global Work Party organized by campaign! Be a part of the world wide action day by participating in the FREE community biking event at the Hamline Midway Library. The joy of biking need not end when the snow starts to fly!

Our Free Winter Biking Workshop and Community Bike Drive takes place on Saturday, October 9, 12:30-4 pm. Learn some tips for your winter riding, AND contribute to a used bike drive to collect unwanted bikes to help power Sibley Bike Depot's community bicycling programs.

Here is the schedule line-up:
  • donate used, unwanted bikes to Sibley Bike Depot, a suggested donation of $10 to cover bike repairs/parts is requested if possible. Used bikes power Sibley Bike Depot's great community programs. No bike turned away! (12:30-2:00pm)
  • chat with Smart Trips and Bike/Walk Ambassadors about year-round bike resources (1:00 - 1:30pm),
  • attend the winter commuting workshop (1:30-3:00pm),
  • attend the “How to Fix a Flat (Bike) Tire” workshop (3:00-4:00pm).
  • Kids' activities and treats available.

To pre-register, or for more information, contact Carrie at carriepomeroy (at) All are welcome to attend even if you don't sign up ahead of time, but pre-registering would be helpful for planning purposes.

The next day, we also have the chance to join our efforts with the larger Twin Cities communities at two exciting events on Sun., 10/10/2010: 1) a 10-mile group bike ride starting at Como Park and ending near the Stone Arch Bridge, and 2) a celebration at the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis to gather together the many people working on climate change in our communities and to share stories and information.

Why 350? Scientists say that 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity. The thing is, we are presently at 390 ppm. Global Work Parties address the fact that communities need to keep trying to reduce their carbon emissions.

This event is co-sponsored by Sibley Bike Depot, Hamline Midway Environment Group, Hamline Midway Library Association,, Twin Cities Bike/Walk Ambassadors, and St. Paul Smart Trips.

About the photo: Was taken at the 350 Bicycle Ride in Mumbai, India. Students in Mumbai, India hosted a bike ride and formed a human 350 in celebration of the International Day of Climate Action in 2009. This was one of 5,200 creative demonstrations that happened around the world.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

First Annual Hamline Midway Plant Swap Set For October 2nd

All plant loving neighborhood residents are invited to the First Annual Hamline Midway Plant Swap, 10:00am - 2:00pm, Saturday, October 2 at the Hamline Park Building (SE corner of Snelling & Lafond). Bring perennial plants (or seeds) to trade or give away.

The swap will be simple, bring plants to give away or trade. If you don't have any plant to give away, come anyway as I am sure there will be someone who has more than they need of a particular plant.

The plant swap is sponsored by the Midway Greenspirit Community Garden and will coincide with the Hamline Midway Tree Team free tree give-away at the same location. We hope there will be synergy between these two events. See for details on the tree event or email treeteam (at)

See you there.

Stephen Mitrione
Garden Coordinator
Midway Greenspirit Garden
St. Paul, MN
smitrione (at)

Monday, September 6, 2010

You’re Invited to Get a FREE TREE From the Hamline Midway Tree Team!

As a community, we are facing losing all of our ash trees due to the Emerald ash borer. Neighbor volunteers have surveyed the Hamline Midway neighborhood this summer to identify ash trees and tree planting spaces on residential properties. Further, the Hamline Midway Tree Team has secured sponsorship to distribute free trees and we want to give one to YOU!

Most of the trees come from Outback Nursery, a native plant nursery in Hastings whose owner has a connection to the neighborhood. Others have been donated. Trees are offered first-come, first- served based on availability, limited to one tree per property and cannot be planted on the boulevard. See your choices below.

Available Tree Species

American Basswood, Tilia americana. Zone 3-6. 5-gallon container. Ht. 50-60' W 30-40'. Full sun to partial shade. Shade tolerant. Golden yellow fall color. Fragrant flower clusters.

Black Walnut, Juglans nigra. Zone 4-7. (Donated - native). Approx. 2-gallon container. Ht. 50-75' W 50-75'. Tolerates drought. Full sun. Golden yellow fall color. Edible nuts. Large nuts.Allelopathic.

European hornbeam, Carpinus betulus. Zone 4-7. (Donated – non-native). 1-gallon container. Ht. 50-60’ W 40’-60’. Dense dark green foliage. Yellow fall color. Ribbed nutlet. Fluted bark.

Hackberry, Celtis occidentalis. Zone 3-5. 7-gallon container. Ht. 50-75' W 50-75'. Full sun to part shade. Tolerates dry polluted conditions. Persistent small, purplish berries. Yellow fall color. Very high wildlife value.

Red Pine, Pinus resinosa. Zone 2-4. 2-gallon container. Ht. 75' W 35-55'. Full sun. Minnesota State Tree. Also called Norway Pine. Long dark green needles. Reddish bark. Canopy becomes open and flat-topped with age.

Swamp White Oak, Quercus bicolor. Zone 4-5. 5-gallon container. Ht. 50-60' W 40-50'. Tolerates most soils. Requires wet to moist acidic soil. Flood tolerant. Exfoliating two-tone bark. Yellow orange fall color. Persistent leaves in winter. Fibrous root system. Resistant to salt and soil compaction. Very high wildlife value.

Tamarack, Larix laricina. Zone 2-5. (Donated - native). 1-gallon container. Ht. 50-75’ W 15’-30’. Midsize tree. Soft needles turn straw yellow in fall before dropping, medium to fast growth rate; prefers full to partial sun.

Yellow Birch, Betula alleghaniensis. Zone 2-4. 5-gallon container. Ht. 60-70' W 30'. Full sun to part shade. Yellowish-bronze, exfoliating bark. Beautiful yellow fall color. Resistant to
birch borer. Very high wildlife value.

Recipients MUST pick up their tree on October 2 at the Hamline Midway Coalition parking lot between 8:00am –12:00N. Tree care experts will be on hand with information and free advice. FREE mulch available – bring your own container. Assistance with delivery and tree planting may be available upon request.

Reserve your FREE tree by September 26!

or call Barb at

Be sure to call Gopher One before you dig: (651) 454-0002

We Take Donations! If you can offset your free tree with $10, $15 or more, your investment will go right back into the tree fund for future plantings. Checks can be made to HMC. Thanks!

Major funding from the Community Organization Partnership Program and McKnight Foundation via the Hamline Midway Coalition.

A project of the Hamline Midway Environmental Group


Sunday, September 5, 2010

An observant son, a winter biking workshop, and community action with the campaign in the Midway

by Carrie Pomeroy
On Saturday, October 9, 12:30-4 pm, there's going to be a winter biking workshop and community used bike drive at the Hamline Midway Library, co-sponsored by community partners HMEG, the Hamline Midway Library Association, Sibley Bike Depot, and St. Paul Smart Trips. There will be workshops on winter bike commuting and how to fix a flat tire (I'm especially looking forward to that one!), as well as children's activities and a bike drive to collect used bikes for Sibley Bike Depot's many great community programs. This event is one of 1200+ locally organized climate work days in 110+ countries, inspired by the international group, and aimed at lowering carbon emission through local community actions. You can find more information on the event on the website or on Facebook.

I wanted to tell you a little bit about what motivated me to reach out to all these great community partners and basically say, "Hey kids, let's put on a show!" I've long been aware of climate change and the need to live simply and conserve energy, but this summer, the need to make some big changes really hit home for me. The images from the Gulf oil spill profoundly troubled me, as they did so many others. I did some pretty sobering reading, including Thomas J. Friedman's "Hot, Flat, and Crowded" and Sharon Astyk's "Depletion and Abundance" and "A Nation of Farmers." One day, my son and I were talking about how the world would probably look very different when he was my age. He nodded and said, "Things are either going to be a lot better or a lot worse."

I decided I really needed to start living, as Sharon Astyk puts it, as if I actually do love my children--in other words, to take responsibility for how my actions affect the world our children live in and will inherit. One of the baby steps I took this summer was to get involved with, a worldwide movement led by author and activist Bill McKibben. 350 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere is the level many scientists believe is the level we need to be at in order to maintain a livable planet and stave off some of the worst impacts of climate change. We're now at 392 parts per million and rising. This year, 350's theme is "Get to Work," and as part of that theme, they're sponsoring thousands of climate work days all over the world. People are planting trees, installing solar panels, caulking cracks in buildings, picking up trash. One trio I've gotten to know is biking across the country from Portland, OR to Washington, DC, then taking a train and a boat to Mexico for the next big climate change conference in Cancun. All along the way, they'll be filming local climate change solutions around the country. You can find out more about them at

Inspired by the 350 Solutions Revolution cross-country journey, my own love of biking, and the love of biking I see in our neighborhood, I decided a winter biking event would be a fun way to take action here in the Midway. Planning this event, I've gotten to know folks in HMEG and been inspired by all the good, pro-active work they're already doing to lower carbon emissions and point our neighborhood toward a more sustainable future. From the Greenspirit Community Garden to this summer's Tree Team effort to document residential ash trees and offer trees to neighbors in danger of losing trees to emerald ash borers, from the Sunday barter market to the Bikes 'n' Bugs garden tour, they are building community and solutions in exactly the way our world so desperately needs.

As Bill McKibben has put it, cheap energy has given us independence and convenience, but it's also made us less reliant on our neighbors--and there's been a spiritual and emotional price for that, as well as an ecological one. Our future is undoubtedly challenging, but it may also point us back to a happier, more connected way of life.

We could use lots of help with the biking event on October 9, so if you'd like to volunteer, please let me know by emailing carriepomeroy (at) . Or just attend and get inspired to gear up for safe, fun winter biking!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

HMEG has a new look!

This posting has been waiting to shine for some time. If you had not noticed, the HMEG logo got a significant upgrade this year. Much of the credit for the new logo goes to Midway-ite Mona Toft, who re-designed the HMEG logo . Mona added the color scheme, tree seedling and a border, bringing the former logo to the prime-time.

In our preparations for HMEG spring events, the group wanted to take the snazzy new logo on the road to both the Arbor Day/Festival of Trees, and the Midway Folk Festival.

Christina Jenson and Erin Pavlica collaborated on the the hand-dyed tablecloth, made of reused fabric. Mona arranged for our fabric banners to be printed by Christi Michaels-Flaherty, owner of T-Shirt Lady.Biz, Digital Garment & Fabric Printing.

The result of these efforts were brilliant. The HMEG booth was sharp. Kudos to all involved, your service is greatly appreciated.

The photo above shows Mona next to the banner in May at Newell Park.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Contribute to HMEG's tree fund by buying books on 8/21 and 8/22 at Borders

For a printable pdf of this voucher, click this link.

Shop at Midway Borders in-store and bring this bar code with you. Or, shop online and enter the Borders online code. A percentage of the net sales raised from this coupon will be donated to the Hamline Midway Tree Project to buy more trees for the neighborhood! Its Border's
Benefit Days – their way of giving back! Click to learn more about the HMEG Tree Team.

Hamline Midway Neighborhood Tree Project 8-21-10 to 8-22-10

Valid 08/21/10 – 08/22/10 at the Midway-St. Paul Store Only or Online using Borders Online Code: HMTP8212W for use at

Excludes previous purchases, gift cards, newspapers, magazines, coupon books, digital downloads, comics, special orders, video games, Smartbox products, Rosetta Stone software, and shipping. Void where prohibited by law. Any other use constitutes fraud. Cash value .01¢. Not redeemable for cash. Valid on 8/21/10 - 8/22/10.

Cashiers: Ring items, select S3, select S4, scan or enter barcode #, select S1, enter $0.01, and Total. Note: if a customer presents a Total Purchase coupon, such as "$5 off Total Purchase" or "10% off Total Purchase", use this barcode to ring that discount. Follow the instructions on the original coupon, but scan the barcode on the Benefits Day voucher. The register will only accept one barcode for Total Purchase coupons.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hamline Midway Bugs n' Bikes Community Garden Tour

Spend the day biking between Hamline Midway gardens, participating in activities, eating wonderful food, and having a great time at the:

Hamline Midway Bugs n' Bikes Community Garden Tour Saturday, August 21st, 10 am – 2 pm

Part of the Gardening Matters “Parade of Community Gardens”

Here is the list of the SIX community gardens participating in Hamline Midway neighborhood and the exciting activities and events each site is planning. This day will celebrate these sites and the people who volunteer to make them happen. Lots of fun to be had right in the Midway!

Pump up those bike tires and chart your course:

41. Snelling Planters
755 Snelling Ave N

::Bug hat activity
::Composting information/demonstrations
::Sidewalk sale & free popcorn at Hamline Hardware

at Mosaic on a Stick
595 Snelling Avenue N

::Free community mosaic on a stick project 12-2pm

42. SPROUT Garden
1514 W Englewood Ave

::Bike check-ups, tune-ups, and education with Terri from Now Bikes and Fitness
::Bike Activity with Scott and Carrie from the Hamline Church
::Crafting project for kids!

43. Maxine Smith Rain Garden
Hamline Church-W Minnehaha Ave & N Simpson St.

::Rain garden information
::Capitol Region Watershed District staff present to answer questions on managing rain water runoff
::Face painting and cargo bike demonstration.

44. Midway GreenSpirit
W Pierce Butler Route & Hamline Ave N

::Check out the new orchard!
::Eat honey sweetened treats
::Ask Master Gardeners and beekeepers everything you ever wanted to know
::Beehive Demo at 1 pm; kids activities

45. Horton Park Gardens
W Minnehaha Ave & Hamline Ave N

::View beautiful native plant gardens
::Get questions about tree growing & emerald ash borer answered by experts
::Learn about the neighborhood tree inventory and how to get a free or low cost tree for your yard
::Refreshments and activities

46. Hamline Thomas Garden
Hamline Ave N & W Thomas Ave

::Information on monarch butterflies
::Learn the history of the garden – from decay to beauty!
::Come at 1:00 for a 15 minute lively and informative stuffed animal show by playwright, ::performer, and teacher Leslye Orr of Dreamland Arts.

Note: the numbers on the map correspond to the numbers above, which correspond to the listings posted at, which will correspond to the bright orange directional signs you will see on the Parade day. A poster/flier for the Bugs n' Bike Tour for printing can be found here.

This map can also be accessed online at Google Maps

Thursday, July 29, 2010

HMEG's own Diane Dodge to serve on Saint Paul Ramsey County Food Commission

HMEG's own Diane Dodge is stepping up to the plate again. This time for the Saint Paul Ramsey County Food Commission formed, their first meeting is on August 2nd. As we HMEGers know, Diane will bring and excellent food justice perspective to the commission, and will ensure the intersection of food and race are not ignored. Go Diane!

Article from

St. Paul, Ramsey County form high-powered commission on food and nutrition

By Joe Kimball | Published Tue, Jun 15 2010 10:08 am

A new 14-member commission will look at the operation of local food systems in Ramsey County and St. Paul.

Its mission:

To suggest policies, share information and develop strategies to increase access to affordable and nutritious foods. The Commission will create an action plan for a sustainable system that increases production, distribution and consumption of healthy, local food.

Topics ripe for discussion include: hunger, nutrition, food-related illness, community and backyard gardening, farmers' markets, culturally specific food availability, transportation for distributing and obtaining food, food access and security and environmental concerns related to food systems.

Seven members appointed by the City of St. Paul are:

  • Metric Giles, an urban gardener and member of the Rondo community.
  • Berne Hesse, a union organizer for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 789.
  • Becky Meyer, a community developer focusing on food issues with the East Side Neighborhood Development Co.
  • Helene Murray, director of the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture.
  • Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of public radio’s “The Splendid Table,” cooking teacher and cookbook author.
  • Leonard Russo, proprietor of Heartland Restaurant.
  • Hai Truong, proprietor of Ngon Vietnamese Bistro.

The members appointed by Ramsey County are:

  • Diane Dodge, founding member of the Minnesota Food and Justice Alliance and Growing Food and Justice.
  • Nadja Berneche, an urban farmer and community service learning coordinator for Metropolitan State University.
  • Linda Litrell, founding member of the Sustainable Agriculture Study Group at the University of Minnesota.
  • Katie Koecher, a scientific relations professional for the University of Minnesota’s Food Science and Nutrition department.
  • Seth Kuhl-Stennes, a volunteer with the Minnesota Project’s Fruit of the City program, Celeste’s Dream Community Garden and Gardening Matters.
  • Colleen Schlieper, an urban farmer focusing on vegetable and egg production.
  • Robert Schuneman, chief operating officer for Swanson Meats.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Six Hamline-Midway Community Gardens participating in the 5th Annual Parade of Community Gardens!

Bike, walk, run, skate, drive if need be to explore and celebrate a variety of green spaces and the bugs that help them grow on the Hamline-Midway Bugs n’ Bikes Community Garden Tour! Saturday, August 21 10am-2pm, six Hamline-Midway community gardens will offer fun, educational, and creative activities and treats for all ages as part of the 5th annual Parade of Community Gardens. Stop by any location to start your tour and pick up a map and schedule of events. Locations include:
  • Hamline-Thomas Community Garden at Hamline and Thomas Avenues
  • Hamline United Methodist Church at 1514 Englewood Ave
  • SPROUTS Community Gardens at 1514 Englewood Ave
  • Horton Park at Minnehaha and Hamline Avenues
  • Midway GreenSpirit Community Garden off of Pierce Butler between Hamline Avenue and Albert Street
  • Snelling Avenue Planters at Hamline Hardware at 755 Snelling Ave N

For further information or to get involved with these Midway garden sites and their events, please email

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ten Thousand Villages Helping the HMEG Tree Team Buy More Trees for the Neighborhood!

Here is a fun opportunity to support the Hamline Midway Tree Team in raising money to buy more trees for residents in the Hamline Midway neighborhood. Simply shop at Ten Thousand Villages this Thursday evening, July 22, from 5-8:00 pm! Barb from HMEG's Tree Team, will be on hand with info on this project and the Emerald Ash borer and greet customers.

Ten Thousand Villages St. Paul is a non-profit, fair trade gift shop whose mission is to provide vital, fair income to Third World people by offering home decor, jewelry and personal accessories, books, cookbooks, coffee and chocolate from over 38 countries around the world. They recognize the importance of trees and green spaces to a healthy, vibrant community so they are supporting our effort by providing a Benefit Shopping Night. You can do your part - it's easy!

Simply stop by the store on July 22, 2010 between 5:00 and 8:00pm. For every purchase made that evening, 20% of the proceeds go to the HMEG Tree Team. The store is located at 867 Grand Avenue (at Victoria Crossing West). Visit to learn more!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Rain Garden at Hamline Church dedicated to Maxine Smith

The Maxine Smith Rain Garden was dedicated at the Hamline United Methodist Church last Sunday. The rain garden was created with the leadership of Hamline Midway resident Amy Schultz, church members and neighborhood volunteers through a grant from the Capitol Region Watershed District. The rain garden was established to conserve rain water that previously ran off the parking lots into the street. After three years, the rain garden is now a beautiful and flourishing addition to the Hamline Church grounds. The rain garden is dedicated to Maxine Smith, a long time church member and Midway resident who died of cancer. Maxine was the "ray of sunshine" that helped establish and maintain the gardens that surround the church and elsewhere in the neighborhood. When you pass the Maxine Smith Rain Garden, think of the many gifts that Maxine shared with our community and celebrate this great lady of gardens.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What's Blooming in the Horton Park Native Plant Gardens?

Early summer is a beautiful time in oak savannas and prairies. The oak savanna garden in Horton Park has many plants blooming right now. Purples and oranges are especially vivid. For purples, leadplant (pictured under the pollinators blog entry)and harebells are in full bloom and attracting insect pollinators. Butterfly milkweed is its gorgeous orange self, preening to attract monarch butterflies. Other blooming plants are

Grab a wildflower book and visit the park to identify and enjoy these beauties!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Home Energy Squad knocking on doors

Home Energy Squad Street Teams Arriving in Hamline Midway

Energy Bill Savings are coming to your doorstep! The Neighborhood Energy Connection, a local nonprofit group, will be door-knocking in Hamline-Midway during the weeks of June 28 and July 5 to sign up residents for their Home Energy Squad program. A visit from the Home Energy Squad is the easiest, fastest, and most effective way to start saving on utility bills. The Squads will install key energy-saving products in your home, such as exterior door weather stripping, a programmable thermostat, a great new showerhead, and bathroom and kitchen faucet aerators. Residents who schedule a Home Energy Squad appointment will receive a discounted Home Energy Squad visit as well as a gift certificate to a great neighborhood business. It’s a win-win: save money on your bills and save energy resources for the planet! For more information on the Home Energy Squads and the Neighborhood Energy Connection, or to sign up to join the door-to-door campaign as a Street Team volunteer, visit or call (651) 221-4462 ext. 111. Watch the campaign roll out on the Neighborhood Energy Connection’s Facebook page!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

HMEG is Talking Trees!

Hamline Midway Ash Tree Inventory Underway!
The Hamline Midway Environmental Group Tree Team has recruited 18 neighbor volunteers to help count the number of ash trees in our neighborhood. We want to know how the residential ash population compares to the known public (boulevard, park) ash population of about 17%. This will help us identify areas in the neighborhood that are more susceptible to ash tree loss due to the Emerald ash borer (EAB). We could still use volunteers (of all ages) and would be happy to teach you how to identify ash trees and conduct a very simple inventory by August 1! If you'd like to help, please contact the Tree Team at treeteam@hmeg.or or Tanner at 651-917-1248.
Trees for the Hamline Midway Neighborhood!

Fall Tree Planting
In conjunction with the ash tree inventory, the Hamline Midway Environmental Group Tree Team will be offering trees this fall to neighborhood residents to plant in their yards. Funding is provided by Councilman Russ Stark from the Community Organization Partnership Program (COPP) and the HMC Board from the McKnight Foundation. This summer, the Tree Team will be determining the species of trees to be offered and developing the project. If you are interested in a tree, please contact the Tree Team at or Barb at 651-646-5568 to get your name on the list. More info to come!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The importance of native pollinators

The importance of native pollinators as posted on MidPoint Green

The Midway community gardens are hatching a plan for the August event called the Parade of Community gardens on 8/21/2010. Its too soon to let you know about all the fun details, but it will involve six Midway community garden sites, and will give visitors a peek at pollinators. Even in our urban area, pollinators are vital. In this photo, my Leadplant is being visited by bees. at the Midway Greenspirit garden, the beehive there are increasing yields of tomatoes, peppers, blueberries, strawberries, , raspberries, apples, melons, sunflowers, pumpkins, plums, and squash both in the garden and for miles around. Native pollinators can be even more efficient at the job, such as bumblebees increasing yields even more. The Xerces Society is an organization looking into the importance of invertebrates. Below is some quality information from Xerces on how to encourage native pollinators which were developed for roadsides. While a small residential urban yard may need to be selective from this list of practices, most are applicable for our cities too. I see it in my own yard and in my community gardens regularly. Xerces research show that using native plants in a landscape can double the number of bee counts and increase the types of bees found there by 35%. So you want to get the most out of your food production gardens? Plant for the bees too!

From Xerces:

Eighty-seven of the world’s 124 most commonly cultivated crops are insect/animal pollinated. Between 60 to 80% of the world’s 250,000 flowering plants depend on animals for pollination.
In the United States, the National Research Council (2007) reported noteworthy losses of both managed and wild pollinators. Habitat loss, pesticide use, diseases, parasites, and the spread of invasive species are the major causes of pollinator decline. Threats to pollinator communities affect not only pollinators themselves but also natural ecosystems and agricultural productivity.

Key design factors & practices to enhance flower diversity for bee habitat around farms, gardens or roadsides include:

Planting choices
1) Use native wildflowers and grasses, with high densities of flowers.
2) Plant a minimum of 3 blooming plant species during each season.
3) Aim for season-long blooming plants, early and late season blooming plants are especially important.
4) Plant a range of wildflowers of varying colors and shapes. Bees mainly visit blue, white, yellow, and purple flowers.
5) Plant flowers in single species clumps for best results.

Providing Nest Sites
6) Warm season, clump-forming grasses provide bumble bee nest sites.
7) Have a mix of forbs and shrubs.
8) Don’t mow or hay entire grassy meadows or roadsides, leave some for pollinators.
9) Conserve habitat for rabbit burrows and groundhog burrows for bee nesting sites.
10) Reduce tillage and avoid plastic sheeting for ground nesting bees.

Reducing the Impact of Mowing and Spraying
11) Intensive mowing or grazing impacts abundance of bees.
12) Avoid or minimize the use of insecticides.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Time to garden this weekend at Horton

Time to garden this weekend at Horton. Paul and Steph will be poking around our plants, sniffing out undesirables and planting a few grass and shade plant donations from the Friends School Plant Sale. Our butterfly weed may be making an appearance along with harebells and bedstraw. We welcome you to join us. Tools, gloves and light refreshments will be on hand as usual.

Second Sunday at Horton Park
Sun, June 13, 12pm – 2pm

Further, we are excited to preview a second June session, this time with a little twist! We are hosting a Happy Hour time at a midway backyard prairie that will occur after spreading woodchip around our park gardens. Community gardening isn't just about the plants! The date is Friday June 25th, in the early evening. We will send more details as the date approaches, but please make note.

Note on the picture: Paul is being helped by a Girl Scout Daisy as they root out weeds during the May session at Horton Park. The Daisy's attended the May session at Horton and had a great time weeding, watering, clipping and planting! We planted a few large flowered beardtongue and saw columbine, prairie smoke, pussytoes, downy violet and wild phlox in bloom.