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What’s new at the Eco Experience in 2014?

World’s Largest Wad of Paper

Take a Break: Free, Family-Fun in Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair

Eco Experience is a-can’t-miss for kids at the Minnesota State Fair. Join us for free environmentally friendly hands-on activities inside and outside the building! Fairgoers of all ages can learn about the environment and eco-friendly living in a fun, interactive way.


This moose calf in Grand Teton National Park is finding that those itchy spots on your lower back are reeaallly hard to reach… (photo credit D. Lehle)

St. Anthony used to dump 18 water towers’ worth of storm runoff and other water into the Mississippi River each year. Then it turned around and pumped 24 towers’ worth of groundwater to sprinkle the lawns of Central Park and City Hall.
“What a waste. We were just throwing it out like it was free,” said public works director Jay Hartman of the combined 10 million-plus gallons. (via GreenStep Cities sprouts in Minnesota | Star Tribune)

“Mayflies often emerge in synchronized hatches, usually in small clouds, but once in a while they arrive as frenzied masses.” Mayflies, another sign of Mississippi rebirth - Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Tractor business correcting environmental violations - Minnesota Pollution Control Agency »

Rochester, Minn.— Lee J. Sackett Inc., a tractor repair and restoration business in Steele and Mower counties, is correcting several environmental violations as part of a recent agreement with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). State inspections in 2013 found several violations of rules designed to protect the quality of water, land and air.

The business operates in both Waltham and rural Ellendale in southern Minnesota. According to the agreement, Sackett improperly stored and disposed of solid waste and hazardous waste such as paint thinner; operated without permits and licenses, including operating a paint booth without an air quality permit; and discharged wastewater from the Waltham facility’s floor drain to a county ditch without authorization. Environmental permits set the conditions for managing and disposing of waste and water, as well as pollutant limits for air emissions.

The MPCA has not issued a financial penalty to the business because of inability to pay. Should the business have the means to pay, the financial penalty would be $22,835. Sackett has taken several steps to comply with state rules with more to take, including a plan for appropriate management of industrial wastewater.

The conditions are part of stipulation agreement between Sackett and the MPCA. This type of agreement is one of the tools the agency uses to achieve compliance with environmental laws. When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violation affected the environment, whether it was a first-time or repeat violation, and how promptly the violation was reported to appropriate authorities. The agency also attempts to recover the calculated economic benefit gained by failure to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.

For more information on managing waste, the MPCA offers guidance on its website: go to the and click on the “Waste” tab.


How to garden for bumblebees
Creating a bumblebee-friendly garden will help the struggling pollinators and be a boon for your blooms as well.

“Today we often forget that prior to World War II, every city in America was built for easy walking and biking. In fact, the idea of living in a walkable place is nothing radical. What was radical was the program we undertook to build an entirely new type of human life. We built networks of roadways and freeways like nothing any society had ever seen before. We tore down entire neighborhoods to accommodate these roads as well as the parking lots and garages required by the cars that would travel these roads; at the same time, we ripped out the tracks for streetcars and trains.” — Kevin Klinkenberg on the journey we’ve taken to create unwalkable cities.  (via thisbigcity)


Minneapolis Aquatennial Bicycle Race

The bike race was held on Victory Memorial Drive during the 2nd annual Minneapolis Aquatennial in July, 1941. Visit Special Collections to view more historical photographs, programs, documents, and memorabilia from the Minneapolis Aquatennial Collection.

Check out the events at this year’s 75th annual Aquatennial, July 18-26, 2014.


Photos from the recently digitized Marvin Juell negative collection (over 700 images). Juell worked for the Minneapolis Public Library.


Biking can be more than just recreation and fitness. Ferry your kids, shop, and make it a bigger part of your life! Come to the Minnesota State Fair and take a ride on the Imagine Your Life on a Bike simulator at the Eco Experience. Brought to you by the Minnesota Dept. of Transportation and the MPCA. Find out more at Eco Experience!