Search Results | "naturescape"

Monarch Mile will connect Gateway Gardens with Naturescape

Posted on 25 July 2017 by calvin

The East Nokomis neighborhood has two outstanding native plant habitats: the Gateway Gardens at the NW corner of E. 50th St. and Hiawatha Ave., and the Nokomis Naturescape just a mile away at 5001 E. Nokomis Pkwy. These two native plant habitats will soon be connected by a series of gardens along E. 50th St. called the Monarch Mile.

Monarch Mile 14Photo right: Gateway Gardens volunteer Linda Wogstad (left) and Nokomis Naturescape volunteer and visionary Vicki Bonk relaxed in the Gateway Gardens. Those two native gardens will soon be connected by 17 additional pollinator friendly gardens along E. 50th St., in a neighborhood collaboration called the Monarch Mile. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

According to Gateway Gardens volunteer Linda Wogstad, “The goal of this collaboration is to piggyback on the federal government’s monarch corridor, which runs broadly on either side of I-35 from Duluth, MN to San Antonio, TX.”

The Monarch Mile, also called the 50th St. Monarch Corridor, will be installed on July 31 and Aug. 1. Members of the Conservation Corps of Minnesota will remove sod and replace dirt in the 17 participating boulevard gardens.

Monarch Mile 36Photo left: Rich Harrison, director of landscape design for Metro Blooms, stopped by to admire the growth of the Gateway Gardens’ flowers, prairie grasses, and trees. Harrison provided site evaluations for the boulevards gardens that will soon become part of the Monarch Mile. Metro Blooms is a major partner on this project. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

The 15 homeowners, one church, and onebusiness receiving the pollinator patches, as they’re called, all applied for garden grants through NENA. (Contact if interested in applying for a grant next year.)

Metro Blooms has provided the design work and will be coordinating the installation of the Monarch Mile. Landscape design director Rich Harrison said, “The gardens will be in the boulevards between the sidewalks and the curb. Each garden will be about 7-1/2 x 12-1/2‘. The boulevards on E. 50th St. are especially wide, which will make the gardens more impactful. We have different plant selections depending on whether a site is sunny, shady, or a mixture of both.”

Monarch Mile 48Photo right: Black-Eyed Susan and Butterfly Weed (shown here) are examples of pollinator friendly, drought tolerant, native plantings. Plants like these make the Gateway Gardens a monarch magnet, especially during the migration months of Aug./Sept. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Members of the Fresh Water Society’s Master Water Steward Program were instrumental in getting residents to apply for grants. The cost share per garden is about $250, with the labor and plant materials having a value much higher than that. Wilderness Inquiry will be providing the muscle power to get the plants in the ground.

The Gateway Gardens exist on a half-acre inner-city lot. They are the result of a collaboration between the Nokomis East Neighborhood Association, area residents, Metro Transit (who owns the lot), and the City of Minneapolis. Colberg/tews landscape architecture created the garden plan pro-bono in 2010. They designed the plantings to look like a butterfly wing when viewed from the air. A generous donor covered the cost of the plant materials.

Monarch Mile 26Photo left: Invasive insects, like this Japanese Beetle held by gardener Marilyn Jones, present a constant challenge to the core of six gardeners responsible for the care and up-keep of the Gateway Gardens. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Wogstad was quick to point out that “all of this is the result of dedicated, well-informed arearesidents. The gardens could not exist without the support of this community. In particular, the volunteer gardeners had the vision in the first place, and have kept it going for all these years. We continue to welcome gardeners of all experience levels to join us.” Visit the Nokomis East Gateway Gardens Facebook page to learn more.

The four+ acre Nokomis Naturescape rests at the other end of the soon-to-be Monarch Mile. Vicki Bonk has been with the project since the beginning. “We started out by applying for a Neighborhood Revitalization Project grant 20 years ago,” Bonk said, “and I’ve shepherded the Naturescape along ever since. We’ve been able to achieve something special here through our model of Demonstrate (with the oak savannah and prairie plantings), Educate (the Growing Monarch Habitat Workshops offered in the spring), and Celebrate (the Monarch Festival each fall).”

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Naturescape Garden

Posted on 30 July 2013 by calvin

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Nokomis Naturescape Garden

Posted on 05 June 2013 by calvin

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Rain gardens improving water quality in Nokomis East

Posted on 08 November 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Twenty Nokomis East residents received grants for rain garden installations. In a season or two, the native plants will send roots down deep into the soil — improving water retention, decreasing run-off into nearby waterways, and helping to improve the quality of the local watershed. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Managing storm water runoff is hard work, and nothing does it better than a rain garden.
Planted in a swale or hollow, perennial flowers, grasses, sedges, and ferns send their roots deep down into the soil. This improves water retention, and naturally filters out impurities as water soaks into the ground.
Raingardens reduce the amount of runoff that would otherwise carry pollutants from compacted lawns, rooftops, driveways, and streets directly into waterways through the storm sewer system.
The Nokomis East neighborhood has 20 new rain gardens this summer, thanks to a longstanding partnership between the Nokomis East Neighborhood Association (NENA) and Metro Blooms.
Lauren Hazenson, NENA program and communications manager said, “The number one environmental concern we hear from Nokomis East residents is that they want to protect their local watershed: Lake Nokomis, Lake Hiawatha, the Mississippi River, and Minnehaha Creek. Water is the most valued natural resource in our community, both for recreational activities and for visual beauty.”
NENA applied for a Hennepin County Good Steward Grant last year, and learned in January that they had been awarded $12,000. The Good Steward Grant funds small projects to improve environmental quality in Hennepin County.
Hazenson said, “We provided additional funding for the rain garden partnership out of our general fund, because it was such a high priority for residents.”
NENA and Metro Blooms have partnered for years installing pollinator gardens and boulevards along 50th and 54th streets. Hazenson said, “We felt like we hit a good stopping point with the pollinator plantings. We established a viable pollinator corridor between the Nokomis East Gateway Gardens and the Lake Nokomis Naturescape. The 2019 rain garden partnership with Metro Blooms is a continuation of native plantings in the neighborhood, but with an emphasis on capturing rainwater and snow melt.”
NENA received 218 applicants for the project, and had funding to install 20 gardens. There were two pools of applicants; the first was of addresses in the Nokomis sub-watershed, the area right around Lake Nokomis. From these addresses, five households were chosen at random. The remaining 15 grant recipients were drawn at random from the larger pool of addresses throughout the neighborhood.
Once the selection process was done, the names of the 20 grant recipients were given to Metro Blooms. They took over from there, contacting homeowners, making arrangements for site visits to help with garden planning, excavation, and plant drop offs.
Property owners paid $420-$580 depending on the number of plants they ordered and their finished garden size. The average rain garden measured 120 square feet. A comparable cost would have been about $1,500, if property owners had not received grants.
Conservation Corps Minnesota did the excavation work for this project. The regional non-profit gives young people from diverse backgrounds experiences in service-learning and environmental stewardship, while learning practical job skills. Youth and young adults (aged 15–25) who serve with Conservation Corps MN work on projects in conservation and natural resource management.
Property owners were responsible for putting their own plants in the ground.
Hazenson said, “With our pollinator garden projects, we found that having homeowners get their hands dirty helps them to better care for their plants in the long run. Rain gardens require some maintenance, just like any other kind of garden. This program really is an incentive for homeowners to make a positive change in their watershed through gardening.”

Get involved
NENA will be applying for another Hennepin County Good Steward Grant for next year. Details on this (and many other sustainability projects) will be shared at the South Minneapolis Green Fair on Saturday, April 18, 2020.
“Like the rain garden partnership, the vast majority of NENA’s programs and initiatives come from community ideas,” Hazenson said.
New members with an interest in environmental issues are welcome to visit NENA’s Green Initiatives Committee, which meets from 6:30-8 p.m. every second Wednesday of the month. The committee is open to residents, property owners, business owners and their employees within Nokomis East neighborhoods: neighborhoods include Minnehaha, Morris Park, Keewaydin, and Wenonah. Meetings are held at the NENA office, located at 4313 E. 54th St.
For more information, contact Lauren Hazenson at

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10th Monarch Festival delights with art, music, and butterflies

Posted on 24 September 2018 by calvin

As instructed, hands are still to allow this newly emerged and tagged monarch to take flight. It is one of about 75 butterfly releases from the U of MN Monarch Lab during the festival.

Article and all photos by JILL BOOGREN
An estimated 10,000 people came to Lake Nokomis under gloriously sunny skies for the Monarch Festival-Festival de la Monarca on Sept. 8. In its tenth year, the event celebrates the monarch butterfly’s 2,300-mile migration from Minnesota to Mexico through music, art, food, and dance.

With support from the Minnesota State Arts Board and Metro Regional Arts Council, ten different artists offered hands-on art-making opportunities.

Tents were abuzz with people painting, folding, gluing and pressing materials into monarch and caterpillar figures. Prints directed by Sol y Luna Gallery and Sarah Nassif hung on clothespins to dry, as did monarch-painted orange wings from In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre (HOBT) and freshly-pasted piñatas from Yolanda Martinez. Kids showed off their felted caterpillars and hand puppets.

Photo right: Enjoying elote grilled corn are (left to right): Mani Subramani, the twins Prema and Vasantha, and Vidya Subramani. At the back is Vaishnavi Subramaniam. From Edina, this was their first time at the festival.

Visitors came from all over the metro area, some “frequent flyers” of the festival, others there for the first time.

“It’s awesome,” said Shannon Johnson, of New Hope, who was there with her family for the first time. “There are so many activities for kids.” Accompanying Johnson was her husband, Derek, and kids, Daphne, Felix and Simon, whose faces she painted with colorful monarchs.

Photo left: Adriana Foreman (at right) and Dillon Sebastian of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre paint large butterfly wings and lay them out to dry on the tennis courts.

Monarch wings, many of them homemade and painted on cardboard or canvas, were a prominent feature of the costume parade, which made its procession to the stage where the Folwell Performing Arts Magnet Mariachi Band was performing De Colores and other favorites.

Photo right: Tennyson Meyers checks out a monarch in the butterfly tent at U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s conservation station.

According to Stacy Aldrich, who teaches orchestra at the school, the band is comprised of 7th and 8th graders (at Folwell students begin learning string instruments in third grade). Some alumni joined them for the festival.

Music and dancing continued throughout the day. The masks, feathers, and capes worn by the Chinelos San Pablo Apóstol delighted their early morning audience, many of whom danced alongside the costumed performers. Later on, dancers with Ballet Folklorico Mexico Azteca dazzled the large crowd.

Photo left: Ballet Folklorico Mexico Azteca wow the crowd with traditional folk dancing.

As always, there were opportunities to learn about monarchs. Tours of the Nokomis Naturescape Garden, a monarch waystation, offered a glimpse of the native plants that benefit monarchs.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFW) and MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge hosted the Monarch Butterfly Migration Art Shanty that was on Lake Harriet last winter. Layne Warner, of the Wildlife Refuge, presented inside the shanty as listeners colored and cut small pictures of monarchs to pin to a tree.

Photo right: At Sol y Luna Gallery people make prints that read in English and Spanish: (im)migration is natural – (in)migración es natural

“Sometimes so many monarchs are on a branch [where they overwinter in Michoacán, Mexico] it will fall off,” Warner said.

The University of MN Monarch Lab education tent showed visitors the life cycle of butterflies. With small groups gathered outside, they tagged and released about 75 butterflies throughout the day.

Photo left: Lennox White, 17 months old, enjoys her first monarch festival by dancing with the Chinelos San Pablo Apóstol.

While monarchs reigned supreme, other pollinators were featured too. Kids scrambled across the field in a monarchs-versus bees soccer matchup, and the USFW had a station for people to fill and color their own seed packets to benefit the endangered Rusty Patched Bumble Bee.

“The Twin Cities is one of a few places the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee is found,” said Tam Smith of USFW.

Visitors also bought monarch-friendly native plants and ate elote (grilled corn traditionally served with chili-spiced mayo) and treats from a dozen different food trucks.

Photo right: Kaylee McDonald of St. Bonifacius paints a monarch wing during her first trip to the festival.

The event was hosted by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board in partnership with Nokomis East Neighborhood Association.








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Local sites buzzing as Minnesota Bee Atlas nears completion

Posted on 24 July 2018 by calvin

Every two weeks, Longfellow resident Kathy Swenson packs her data recording sheet, magnifying glass, and flashlight, and heads over to the Minnesota Bee Atlas test site at 36th St. and W. River Pkwy. Swenson is a volunteer monitor at one of two test sites in South Minneapolis; the other site is at the Nokomis Naturescape Garden on the northeast shore of Lake Nokomis.

Each site has what’s called a bee block on it: a chunk of wood with holes of different diameters that make channels for wild bees to lay their eggs in. The bee blocks were mounted on poles and put in place by Britt Forsberg, program coordinator for the University of Minnesota’s Extension Service, which is responsible for creating the bee atlas.

Careful monitoring of bee blocks across the state will provide new evidence as to which wild bees live where, and how they are doing.

Photo left: Minnesota Bee Atlas monitor and Longfellow resident, Kathy Swenson, checked the bee block at 36th St. and W. River Pkwy. She said a lot of people who think they’ve been stung by bees have actually been stung by wasps. Wasps are smooth-skinned, carnivorous predators that live primarily on aphids, caterpillars, and other insects. Bees are hairy and live on pollen and nectar. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

“I started monitoring the bee block in April,” Swenson said, “in-between blizzards. The first two times I went, all of the drilled holes in the bee block were empty. The third time I went, nine of the holes were filled, which meant that wild bees had laid eggs and deposited pollen sacs to nourish their young when they emerged.”

Forsberg, who is coordinating the making of the bee atlas, said, “This project is happening because the Extension Service received a four-year grant from the state’s Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund. We’ve engaged 150+ volunteers across the state to act as citizen scientists, gathering information about Minnesota’s wild bees through observation. Once completed, the online bee atlas will be hosted by the Bell Museum. Our goal is to have all of the data on wild bees in one place, where it can be accessible to the public as well as to researchers.”

The Prairie Oak Savannah and the Nokomis Naturescape Garden sites were chosen because they have a rich variety of native plants, which provide a variety of food sources for wild bees. Native plants rely on native pollinators; native bees need native plants to nest in and to eat.

Minnesota has an estimated 400 varieties of wild bees, and there are an estimated 20,000 varieties of wild bees worldwide.

Why should we care about wild bees? Forsberg said, “Wild bees are prolific pollinators, and are known to pollinate several types of plants that honeybees can’t. For instance, plants in the squash family can only be pollinated by a certain type of wild bee called the squash bee.”

She continued, “With all of the talk about colony collapse in the last several years, most of the media attention has been on honeybees. The factors that are threatening honeybees (climate change, habitat loss, and pesticides) are the same ones that are threatening wild bees. Our citizen scientists are adding to the existing data about wild bees that has already been collected by the DNR and the U of M Bee Lab.”

The site at 36th St. and W. River Pkwy. is focused on stem-nesting bees, which are bees that lay their eggs in plant stems. An easy way to attract stem-nesting wild bees in the home garden is this:
—plant native aster or cup plants;
—after they’ve bloomed in the fall, cut the stems off at 15- 18“; and
—let the stems stand over winter, and into the next spring.

New growth will soon be much taller than the old stems, which can provide nesting habitat for wild bees while remaining invisible.

Once all of the data has been compiled, the Minnesota Bee Atlas will help to answer questions about wild bee behavior from “where do wild bees live,” to “when are they most active?” Little is known about how wild bees are responding to the overgrowth of buckthorn in Minnesota forests—among other things. Information gathered from bee block sites may provide new insights into a changing environment.

Swenson, who is a retired National Park Service ranger and volunteer coordinator with the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, said, “This is my first year as a site monitor, and I’ve enjoyed being part of a real research team. Citizen scientists don’t create or evaluate a scientific project, but they do contribute in meaningful ways.”

For more information, visit



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NENA News: NENA Annual Elections and Community Meal scheduled Apr. 26

Posted on 26 March 2018 by calvin

Do you live in the Keewaydin, Minnehaha, Morris Park or Wenonah neighborhoods? Have you wanted to be more involved in your community or are you just curious about what is happening in your neighborhood? This is the event for you.

NENA is a growing community-based nonprofit organization serving four unique, welcoming neighborhoods with over 14,600 residents and dozens of businesses in the southeast corner of Minneapolis. NENA is dedicated to bettering the quality of life and building a sense of community pride by sponsoring actions which help our environment, businesses, and homes.

Please join us on Apr. 26, 5:30–8pm at Crosstown Covenant Church (5540 30th Ave. S.) to elect NENA Board Members for your neighborhood, enjoy a free meal from Dominguez Family Restaurant, and help determine community goals for 2019 and beyond. You also get to connect with neighbors to the soundtrack of a jazz performance from Huge If True. Children’s activities will be provided to better accommodate families wanting to attend this meeting.

Curb Appeal Matching Grant Lottery
Nokomis East residents (Keewaydin, Minnehaha, Morris Park and Wenonah neighborhoods) are encouraged to sign up for the Curb Appeal Grant Lottery and get their upcoming exterior home project entered to win a matching grant up to $500. The deadline to enter is Apr. 20, and winners will be announced during the Apr. 26 NENA Annual Meeting. Visit for more information and to register.

Monarch Habitat Workshops open for registration
NENA is offering its 12th annual, newly revised Grow Monarch Habitat Workshop and native plant sale, on May 19, 9am-12pm at the Nokomis Community Center, 2401 E. Minnehaha Pkwy.

The 2017-2018 monarch population is down 15% from last year. As monarch numbers have continued to plummet in recent years, researchers and naturalists are urging people to create monarch habitat, especially throughout the Midwest Corn Belt—the monarch’s traditional breeding grounds. There is an urgency to replace lost habitat that once held the monarch’s host plant, milkweed, alongside essential nectar plants. This how-to workshop will provide the information and essential plants to get started. Our urban and suburban gardens can help make a critical difference!

This year, the two new workshop presentations will be offered consecutively to cover different aspects of being a monarch/pollinator habitat gardener. Both sessions are taught by Vicki Bonk, a Nokomis Naturescape stewardship leader for over 20 years and native plant gardening speaker. Each session will be followed by Q&A time.

“Grow Monarch Habitat – An Introduction to The Essentials of Gardening For Monarchs” is a 45-minute presentation covering the monarch life and migratory cycle and how these two cycles determine the habitat components. The current environmental status of the monarch butterfly and other pollinators is also addressed.

NEW! “Grow Monarch Habitat – A How-To on Planting, Maintaining and Expanding Your Garden” is a 45-minute presentation designed to expand on previous years GMH workshops and cover some new ground.

Attendees are offered the opportunity to purchase a Monarch Garden-to-Go Kit to start or expand their monarch/pollinator habitat. The kit is available in 2 choices and contains 12 local native host, nectar, and shelter plants to get you started. There is a registration fee of $32 ($36 value) for the kits, with a May 11 deadline. Workshop and native plant sale attendance is free.

These kid-friendly* sessions offer a wealth of information for both beginning and advanced gardeners. Space and Monarch Garden-to-Go Kits are limited, so registration is suggested. For information on the Grow Monarch Habitat Workshop, the Minneapolis Monarch Festival or the Nokomis Naturescape, please visit NENA’s website or email

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Your Guide to News, Events, and Resources! Get your neighborhood news delivered to your inbox every other Wednesday. Sign up today at Once you sign up, you’ll receive updates on news and happenings in your neighborhood.

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From cars to compost — The Green Fair is a smash hit

Posted on 20 February 2018 by calvin

All photos by JAN WILLMS
The NENA Green Fair took place Sat., Jan 27, at the Lake Nokomis Community Center, 2401 E. Minnehaha Pkwy. Among those who sponsored displays were All Energy Solar, Applied Energy Innovations, CAKE- Plus-Size Resale, City Of Minneapolis-Minneapolis Recycles, Habitat For Humanity ReStore, Mama Terra Gardens, Metro Blooms, Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, Minnesota Food Association, Minnesota Tool Library, Minneapolis Toy Library, Monarch Magic, Nokomis Naturescape, NENA Green Initiatives Committee, The Butterfly Effect Journal, Wild Ones Twin Cities, ZeroWasted, and Zeroish.

Photo right: A young visitor to the fair examines some of the toys on display from the Minneapolis Toy Library (8 W. 60th St.). Molly Stern, director of the organization, says toys for children 0-5 are available for rent.



Photo left: Fairgoer Aryca Myers from the Bryant neighborhood, on the right, learns more about Longfellow-based Mama Terra Gardens from Kayla Nortrup. The landscaping services help with sustainability, design, maintenance and installation of flower beds.


Photo right: Shannon Twiss, volunteer coordinator for Habitat for Humanity, focused her table at the fair on Habitat’s ReStore (2700 Minnehaha Ave.), a home improvement outlet.








Photo left: On right, Amber Haukedahl of Zero Wasted explained changes that can bring about sustainability to Amanda Sletton, who drove over to the fair from Northeast Minneapolis.



Photo right: Members of the MN Plug-in Vehicle Owners Circle had their electric-powered vehicles on display at the NENA Green Fair held at the end of January. From left, Wendell Bell, Kati Simonett, Marcus Baker (in back), Michael Weber, Steve Hong and Kevin McCormick.



Photo left: Anna Johnson, a board member of NENA, provided information on the two butterfly gardens and the Giving Garden. NENA partnered with St. James Episcopal Church on Minnehaha Parkway, which has expanded its onsite garden and invited the community to join in, Last year, the Giving Garden provided 450 pounds of produce for the Minnehaha Food Shelf. More gardening volunteers are welcome next year. 


Photo right: Sarah Pilato, education facilitator for the Urban Agriculture Lab, a part of Spark-y, offered a game showing what can be put in compost that will be eaten by compost worms. Youth Action Labs (4432 Chicago Ave.) is a nonprofit organization empowering Twin Cities youth. 

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NENA News: Community Forum planned Mar. 6

Posted on 20 February 2018 by calvin

What opportunities could NENA support? What partnerships could we strengthen? How can we better involve Nokomis East residents? We want to hear from you!

Projects like the Nokomis Naturescape, Giving Garden, Nokomis Green Fair, Curb Appeal Matching Grants, and many others came from ideas generated by residents like you. Where should we head next? This is your opportunity to give us your perspective.

The Community Forum is a part of the Community Snapshot project and will be used to inform the NENA strategic plan for the next three years. Join your neighbors for a casual, interactive session on Tues., Mar. 6 from 6:30-8pm at Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church, 5011 S. 31st Ave.

A free meal will be provided for all attendees, so come hungry! For more information visit the website

Giving Garden planning
Do you like to garden? Do you want to do something about child hunger and food insecurity? Join this friendly group of neighbors and make a difference!

The Giving Garden volunteers are meeting at the NENA Office (4313 E. 54th St.) on Tues., Feb. 27 at 6:30pm to plan for the 2018 growing season and to welcome interested volunteers. All gardening levels are welcome.

The Nokomis East Giving Garden is a volunteer-run, 310 sq. Ft. vegetable garden located on the property of St. James On The Parkway Church at 3225 E. Minnehaha Pkwy. All of the produce raised at the garden is donated to the Minnehaha Foodshelf and Groveland Food Shelf on a weekly basis from May to October. The vegetable garden selection is identified by the preferences of Minnehaha Food Shelf patrons and staff to ensure that the donated produce will meet real needs. In 2017, the first year of the Giving Garden, volunteers raised 427 pounds of vegetables, which were received by approximately 50-70 food shelf patrons. The Giving Garden also donates vegetables to seniors who are experiencing food insecurity.

Board candidate information session
In 2018, NENA has nine Board seats up for election—two seats from each of the four neighborhoods and one replacement seat for Wenonah. Applications are due on Thur., Apr. 12.

Interested individuals are strongly encouraged to attend the Info Session or to schedule a time to meet with Becky Timm, NENA’s Executive Director to learn more about serving on the Board. Eligibility requirements, terms and service, and other information will be discussed at the upcoming Board Information Session on Mon., Apr. 5, at 6pm the NENA Office.

Learn more about serving on the NENA Board at

Nokomis East Business Grants
NENA is offering two new grants for Nokomis Area businesses: the Marketing Matching Grant and the Business Partnerships Grant. The goals of these grant projects are to provide support for Nokomis East business districts, encourage business partnerships, and increase local customer traffic to our businesses.

Marketing Matching Grant
Businesses seeking to update their branding, website, marketing, or looking to attract more customers can apply for up to $2,000 for their project. This grant matches $2 for every $1 spent by the participant.

Business Partnership Grant
Two or more Nokomis East businesses that seek to engage in a short or long-term marketing or public engagement partnership can apply for up to $5,000 in matching funds. This grant matches $2 for every $1 spent by the participant.

Visit for guidelines and grant applications.

Sign up for NENA News
Your guide to news, events, and resources! Get your neighborhood news delivered to your inbox every other Wednesday. Sign up today at Once you sign up, you’ll receive updates on news and happenings in your neighborhood.

Upcoming Meetings and Events:
2/24/18, 5:30pm: Great Nokomis East Crockpot Cookoff, Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church,
5011 S. 31st Ave.
3/6/18, 6:30pm: NENA Community Forum, Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church
3/7/28, 6:30pm: NENA Housing, Commercial, Streetscape Committee, NENA Office, 4313 E. 54th St.
3/14/18, 6:30pm: NENA Green Initiatives Committee, NENA Office
3/22/18, 7pm: NENA Board Meeting, NENA Office
4/5/18, 6pm: NENA Board Candidate Information Session, NENA Office

Web: • Facebook:
Twitter: • Email: • Phone: 612-724-5652

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NENA home loan program returns

Posted on 25 October 2017 by calvin

NENA is pleased to announce the relaunch of its very popular home loan programs through its new partner, the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE). NENA is now offering two home improvement loan programs. Homes in the Keewaydin, Minnehaha, Morris Park and Wenonah neighborhoods are eligible. Loan applications are processed on a first-come-first-served basis.

Home improvement loans
Owners of one to four unit residences can apply for up to $15,000 to make improvements to their properties. Owner-occupants and investors may apply. The interest rate is either 3.5% or 4.5% depending on income. No income restriction applies.

Emergency repair loans
A limited amount of funds are available for emergency repairs. Only owner-occupied households are eligible. Income restrictions apply. The maximum loan amount is $7,500. The loan is 0% interest, and there are no monthly payments. The loan is due in total on the sale of the property or transfer of title.

More info and how to apply
For more information, or to request an application, call the Center for Energy and Environment at 612-335-5884, or visit the CEE website.

Business grants
Starting in November, NENA will be offering two new grants for Nokomis area businesses: the Marketing Matching Grant and the Business Partnerships Grant. The goals of these grant projects are to provide support for Nokomis East business districts, encourage business partnerships, and increase local customer traffic to our businesses.

Marketing matching grant
Businesses seeking to update their branding, website, marketing, or looking to attract more customers can apply for up to $2,000 for their project. This grant matches $1 for every $2 spent by the participant.

Business partnership grant
Two or more Nokomis East businesses that seek to engage in a short or long-term marketing or public engagement partnership can apply for up to $5,000 in matching funds.

Contact Program and Communication Manager Lauren Hazenson at for more information.

Community snapshot
Beginning this fall, NENA will be reaching out to residents and gathering their ideas to create a Community Snapshot. NENA will capture needs, interests, and assets in our neighborhoods through this process.

Our staff and volunteers will reach out to all Nokomis East residents through door knocking, events, and online surveys. We hope to finish surveying the neighborhoods by the spring and finish the community snapshot by May. The community input we gathered will shape how we layout our work and projects for the next three years and the future of NENA.

If you have any ideas that you would like to share with NENA of what you would like to see, or if you have any questions about the community snapshot process, reach out to Tyra Payer at

Summer project recap
Summer was a busy season in Nokomis East, with several new NENA events, programs, and projects taking shape.

The Curb Appeal Matching Grant was launched in late spring, which awarded up to $500 to residents looking to make home improvements visible from the street. Sixteen residents had their homes painted, put in erosion prevention hardscaping, repaired walkways, and otherwise beautified their properties with the funds they received.

The Monarch Mile project installed 17 pollinator-friendly boulevard gardens in late July to form a pathway between the Nokomis Naturescape and the Gateway Garden on E. 50th St. boulevards.

The Bossen area in Wenonah neighborhood was also a flurry of activity, with over 200 residents attending the Bossen Renter’s Party in July. Thanks to funding from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Center of Prevention, NENA, and Minneapolis Parks, we were also able to host Bossen Summer Fun, a series of summer activities and workshops for kids at Bossen Field.

One of our most visible projects was the Bossen Mural on 58th St. Nokomis East artist Victor Yepez worked with neighborhood volunteers and mosaic artist Dani Bianchini to complete an artwork representing the entire area with a progression of day to night.
We look forward to continuing these successful events and programs next summer.

NENA At-Large Board seat
NENA is seeking applicants for a vacant At-Large Board seat. Applications are due by Nov. 8.

NENA is a growing community-based nonprofit organization serving four unique, welcoming neighborhoods with over 14,600 residents and dozens of businesses in the southeast corner of Minneapolis. NENA is dedicated to bettering the quality of life and building a sense of community pride by sponsoring actions which help our environment, businesses, and homes. We look for Board of Director members who are energetic, strategically-minded leaders to help NENA and our neighborhoods thrive.

If you live (homeowner or tenant), own property or a business, or work in Nokomis East, and are over the age of 18, you are eligible to apply. Completed Nomination Forms are due by Nov. 8.

The NENA Board of Directors will review all applications and appoint a new Board member at its Nov. 16 meeting. This is a replacement appointment serving from November 2017 to April 2019. The appointed Board member can run to be elected to the seat at the April Annual Meeting and serve a full two-year term.

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Upcoming meetings and events:
11/1/17: NENA Housing, Commercial, and Streetscape Committee, NENA Office, 4313 E. 54th St., 6:30pm
11/8/17: NENA Green Initiatives Committee, NENA Office, 6:30pm
11/16/17: NENA Board Meeting, NENA Office, 7pm
11/30/17: City of Minneapolis Comprehensive Plan Input Session, Morris Park Recreation Center, 5531 39th Ave. S., 6:30pm

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• Phone: 612-724-5652

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