Sustainable Landcare Training

A skilled workforce in the green economy

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Blue Thumb Job Board

Partners and others post environmental job openings.

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EJ Hub

We are working to integrate equity into our programs and partnership.

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Planting For Clean Water … and Pollinators!

Blue Thumb is proud to partner with Minnesota’s Board of Water and Soil Resources on the Lawns to Legumes program to help residents convert some of their yard to flowering plants that provide habitat and forage to pollinators and other wildlife. Minnesota is home to over 450 native species of bees, many suffering declining populations. One of them, the endangered rusty patched bumble bee, is our state bee. We hope residents will continue to work towards helping the species rebound and support other pollinators, and in the process create a beautiful, blooming, buzzing landscape!

The program offers cost-share grants and online resources to help you get started, whether you are interested in creating a bee lawn, pocket planting or pollinator meadow, or learning about pollinator-friendly trees or shrubs, need information on site planning or you are just curious about plants that attract various pollinators.

More about Lawns to Legumes

 Shady yard with dry creek bed and plantsNative Plants That Grow in Maple Shade

We love our maple trees, but sometimes it’s hard to find plants that grow well underneath. Horticulturist David Pierson has some suggestions.

Read the blog post

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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Support from these partners helps us do our work

MNL logo, says "heal the earth."


Organic Bob logo

logo for Twin City Seed Company

West Monroe logo

Dogwood Designs


Trio Landscaping


Barr Engineering

Blue Thumb Partners