Sustainable Landcare Training

A skilled workforce in the green economy

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2021 workshops include resilient yards, bee lawns, and planting for pollinators!

Workshop schedule

EJ Hub

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

More about the Hub


Planting For Clean Water … and Pollinators!


Blue Thumb is proud to continue partnering 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 rusty patched bumble bee, was the first bee in the continental US to be listed as endangered. We hope state 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, workshops and free 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, or need information on site planning, or you are just curious about plants that rusty patched bumble bees like.

More about Lawns to Legumes

Image: City of Minneapolis

Salt Mini-Course

Learn how using salt on roads and sidewalks in winter hurts our lakes and streams, and best practices to reduce the impact. This course is free and can be taken right on the City of Minneapolis website!

Take the Salt Mini-Course

Lawns to Legumes Coaches Offer Know-How and Encouragement

We are so grateful to the volunteer coaches who have given their time to mentor many, many Minnesotans in creating pollinator habitat in their yards through the Lawns to Legumes grant program. Here’s one story about a grantee and a coach.

Read the blog post

American Goldfinch on thistleAmerican Goldfinch: Joy on Thistles and Quilts

The American Goldfinch adds cheer in our parks, neighborhoods, open fields and forest edges, and can overwinter in Minnesota, given the right conditions. They have been known to burrow in snow to keep warm!

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 work towards resilience



Trio Landscaping

Barr Engineering

Blue Thumb Partners