Top Three Vibrant Communities | May 30 – June 3
June 3, 2016 by Blandin Foundation
1.) Greenway: The end of the school year is a hectic time. Students are antsy. Teachers are exhausted. Summer break is calling. But in the midst of all this, the Greenway school district decided it was worthwhile to add another challenge—but in the form of health and wellness. “Greenway Grows!” is a school garden now entering its second season and students are learning stewardship along with healthy eating options. U of M SNAP-Ed Educator Jodi Nordlund has been on-site, teaching students about an evidence-based nutrition curriculum while preparing fresh garden snacks for the kids. Throughout the summer students can sign up for weekly garden time working crops such as broccoli, lettuce, chard, sunflowers, basil, squash and cucumbers. But it doesn’t stop with nutrition—ISD 316 also hosted a bike to school event where the Get Fit Itasca bike fleet was on site. What a great way to keep students tuned in during the waning weeks of the year!
2.) Bemidji: In the wake of Memorial Day, American soldiers are in that place of our minds where they should always be: forefront. This weekend, 500 motorcyclists and 100 more enthusiasts will convene in Bemidji for a 134 mile trek for the troops. All proceeds from this event will go toward Bemidji-area service members and their families. This year’s ride will be especially in honor of Army Sgt. Matt Harmon, of Fosston, who was killed in action on August 14, 2011.
“That ride is an incredible experience,” Mike McNeil said. “You see all of the people coming out to wave flags and support the veterans. I think it’s so important because we never do enough or pay enough attention to our veterans. I think the money helps, but the important part is the veterans — that someone who is serving or someone who knows a service member, sees that recognition.”
3.) Lake George: Paying tribute to your community history is an important thing to do. But paying tribute in an inventive and personal way is significant. Members of the Lake George Neighborhood Association are honoring their storied history through a coloring book. The book will contain drawings from locals spanning the neighborhood’s 100 years of history. While the neighborhood has grown to a more significant size, many of the drawings are representative of the rural history of the place: a pig farm, baseball fields, architecture, and people. Five Minnesota artists will team up to draw the pictures from the last ten decades for children and adults to enjoy.
“It’s just exciting to be a part of this,” said Mary Ellen Gutknecht, “Everyone is so proud of the history of the neighborhood. And now, coloring books are a big thing with adults. It just energizes the kids and it’s fun and easy. It’s also a souvenir.”
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