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Help us have greater impact through Lawns to Legumes, workshop and partnership scholarships, new resources, education and outreach.

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We offer workshops on resilient yards, turf alternatives, healthy soils and more. Look out for workshop updates for 2021.

Workshop schedule

Planting For Clean Water … and Pollinators!

Support our state bee with resources from Lawns to Legumes!

Blue Thumb is proud to partner with Minnesota’s Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) to promote and implement the new Lawns to Legumes program to help residents convert some of their lawn to flowering plants that provide wildlife and pollinators with habitat and forage. Minnesota is home to over 450 native species of bees, many suffering declining populations. One of them, the rusty patched bumble bee, was the first bee in the continental US to be listed as endangered. We hope to provide enough habitat to help the species rebound, and in the process create a beautiful, blooming, buzzing landscape that protects pollinators as well as our natural bodies of water.

The program offers cost-share grants, workshops and free online resources. Cost-share grant applications are closed for 2020, but the online resources can help you get started on a project, whether you want to put in a bee lawn or pocket planting, need information on site planning, or are curious about rusty patched preferred plants — and much, much more.

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Blue Thumb Blog

Photo by Karen Moon

A Pollinator Project That Soaks in Rainwater

Bees, robins, neighbors walking dogs, children and elders are visitors to this transformation of unused lawn.

Read this Lawns to Legumes participant’s story.

What Is Blue Thumb?

Want to help protect our water? The Blue Thumb—Planting for Clean Water® program can help. Blue Thumb is a public/private partnership that promotes ecologically functional landscapes – like native plants, raingardens, and shoreline stabilization projects – to reduce runoff and improve water quality. Blue Thumb makes it easy for you to plan, purchase and plant beautiful native plants in your own yard. Interested in planning a clean water project? Blue Thumb is coordinated by the nonprofit Metro Blooms and extends throughout the state.

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Why Plant for Clean Water?

Planting for clean water is part of the solution to water pollution. Stormwater runoff is the number one threat to our water quality according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Pollutants from our lawns and streets – vehicle emissions, oil residue, grass clippings, pesticides, leaves, and pet waste – are swept away by rainwater runoff to our lakes and streams by way of storm drains causing water pollution. Using water-friendly landscaping like native plants, raingardens, and shoreline stabilization helps minimize runoff and helps keep our water clean.

Why Plant for Pollinators?

We are seeing declining populations of bees, butterflies and other pollinators. This includes the rusty patched bumble bee — Minnesota’s state bee and an endangered species. We can help solve this problem by creating habitat in our yards, from pockets of native plantings to flowering bee lawns and meadows. Creating pollinator habitat also has other benefits, including supporting agriculture, contributing to clean water, capturing carbon and generally contributing to a healthier ecosystem.

Who Is A Blue Thumb Partner?

Blue Thumb Finest on EarthPartners have the expertise to help residents with the design, installation, materials, maintenance and/or funding of their planting for clean water projects. Our partners include watershed districts, conservation districts, cities and counties, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses such as native plant nurseries, landscape designers and installers, equipment and material suppliers, and other companies that are working toward Blue Thumb – Planting for Clean Water® goals. Want to become a Blue Thumb partner?

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