May is Biodiversity Month at Minneapolis College
Minneapolis College’s Sustainability Committee is dedicating the month of May to Biodiversity, in recognition of the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22. Variety is not only the spice of life—variations within ecosystems, among species (animals, insects, plants, single-cell organisms), and even within our genes are essential for robust, healthy, interconnected natural systems.
Minneapolis College has made landscaping choices that foster biological diversity on campus, including establishing a rain garden with native plantings in the plaza just outside of the T Building. Rain gardens are depressed areas in a landscape that collect run-off storm water and allow it to soak into the ground instead of entering storm sewer systems. Run-off is a big problem in the city where ever-present asphalt makes it difficult for storm water to seep into the ground.
Reducing run-off prevents erosion and lessens pollution in our watershed. Native plants help with this as well, as they do not require the fertilizers and pesticides needed by exotic plants, and their extensive root systems filter pollutants from storm water before it reaches ground water. Grasses and plants indigenous to Minnesota also provide a habitat and food source for native animals and insects, including birds and pollinators essential for our food system and the diversity of life throughout the world.
Take a walk and see how many different types of trees, plants, birds, insects and other interesting creatures live in Twin Cities neighborhoods.
Next month the Sustainability Committee will be focusing on composting.
Learn more about biological diversity:
- Metro Blooms is a Minneapolis non-profit that has helped establish rain gardens in many neighborhoods all over Minneapolis. They also host workshops on how to build your own rain garden.
- University of Minnesota Extension provides tips on pollinator-friendly landscaping.
- Friends of the Mississippi has a listing of cost-sharing programs throughout the Twin Cities that provide grants and funding for the installation of rain gardens, native gardens, permeable pavers, and other storm water management practices.