It's not simple to improve water quality, stop invasive species, reduce waste, protect the climate, use energy more efficiently – or address a host of other issues. And our political system can make something that is already difficult seem nearly impossible.

So it’s important to take any chance we can to reflect on the good things and recognize successful efforts that protect the Minnesota we all love. For more than twenty years, Environmental Initiative, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing businesses, non-profits, governments and individuals together to solve problems, has celebrated collaborative environmental success stories from across the state at their annual awards program.

The Environmental Initiative Awards is an uplifting reminder about the tremendous passion and commitment we have for Minnesota’s lakes, lands and way of life. Through economic ups and downs and changes in political leadership, Environmental Initiative receives award-worthy projects year after year. This year is no exception.  You can learn about all the award finalist here

I hope you will join me, along with over 450 of my closest friends, to be the first to hear the winners. Winning projects in each category will be announced “Academy Award Style” at the Environmental Initiative Awards dinner and celebration on Thursday, May 21, at Nicollet Island Pavilion in Minneapolis. Roll out the Green Carpet!

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Cleaner water, more habitat, bipartisan support

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Proposed Minnesota conservation budget: A surplus of bad ideas