Adopt a River is a new Freshwater program in the works for Spring 2022. It’s our take on a great idea that originated with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in the 1980s, when the program evolved out of the environmental concerns and aimed to empower Minnesotans as stewards and ambassadors of the state’s public waters.
Adopt a River is an invitation to families, clubs, teams, or any group of people who want to spend time outdoors together, near water, picking up trash and debris to keep water healthy. We are currently working on funding this program and designing materials for a fall pilot and evaluation to be ready for spring cleanups in 2022. Interested in participating in the program? Consider cleanups starting next spring! In the meantime, we hope you still feel empowered to clean up your neighborhood, community spaces, and waterways. If you do organize a cleanup, you can report it on this page to be recorded.
If you’d like to help us get this program up and running, consider a gift of support.
Adopt a River history
Managed by the DNR until 2016 and Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa after that, the program focused on engaging people in community-led and organized clean-up events, coordination for annual events like the Mississippi Riverboat Cleanup, and found objects (“trash”) sculptures displayed at the Minnesota State Fair and around the metro area. Since 1989, cleanups supported by Adopt a River have collectively resulted in over 6.5 million pounds of trash removed from 11,000 miles of shoreline along rivers, lakes, streams, and other natural areas! You can read more about the program’s history in this post.
Green Corps member
Freshwater is excited that we’ve been selected as a Minnesota GreenCorps (MNGC) host site! MNGC is an AmeriCorps program that aims to preserve and protect Minnesota’s environment while training a new generation of environmental professionals. Starting in September 2021, our GreenCorps member will focus their year of service on Adopt a River. This member hasn’t been assigned yet, so if you’re interested or know someone who might be, we encourage you to apply or help spread the word!