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Eco Stewards are volunteer groups and individuals who help preserve, protect and restore Saint Paul’s natural areas and waterways by assisting with land restoration and conservation within Saint Paul's park system.
Eco Stewards' projects encompass a wide variety of activities, interests and commitment levels.
Why is this work important to our region? Seventeen miles of the Mississippi River run through Saint Paul, and the vast majority of the river corridor is parkland. Over time, invasive plant species have severely degraded the native ecosystem along the river and in natural areas throughout the Twin Cities. This causes problems with increased erosion, poor water quality and loss of wildlife habitat. Approximately ten years ago, the City of Saint Paul recognized the need to address these problems and put resources into habitat restoration of the Mississippi River’s critical habitat and watershed. Most projects are grant funded and staff resources are limited - thus a volunteer workforce is imperative to the success of the work.
Ongoing volunteer opportunities
The Eco Stewards program encompasses a group of volunteer positions dedicated to conservation and restoration of Saint Paul's natural areas. Volunteers must be 16 years of age or older or work in accompaniment with a responsible adult, unless noted otherwise.
Restoration Supervisors are individuals who work closely with staff to help improve and maintain areas of high ecological significance in Saint Paul. These volunteers act as leaders to inspire the community to become stewards of Saint Paul’s natural areas. Restoration supervisors assist with supervising volunteers during large habitat restoration events. They also lead small volunteer events in the absence of staff. Restoration Supervisors increase Saint Paul Parks’ capacity to engage the public in actively restoring and protecting our natural resources.
Eco Monitors are environmental stewards who monitor and record the vegetation in our natural areas. These volunteers are required to have strong skills in native and invasive plant species identification. Interested applicants can request information on training opportunities; for more information on invasive species, click here.
Eco Stewards are the workforce behind the successful restoration of natural areas in Saint Paul. They are environmental stewards dedicated to regular participation in volunteer events hosted by Parks and Recreation during the spring, summer and fall months. They remove invasive species, plant and restore prairies, install raingardens, clean up lakeshores and assist with other environmental restoration activities.
Restoration Site Stewards are individuals or groups dedicated to monitoring and maintaining a specific restoration site in Saint Paul. At their adopted site, Site Stewards help implement the management goals of Natural Resources by regularly performing site-specific tasks such as clearing brush, removing invasive species and collecting seeds.
Submit a volunteer interest form online.
Group Volunteer Opportunities
Community volunteer events
Our Natural Resources team hosts volunteer events from April through October that are open to the public. We also co-host events with partner organizations including the National Park Service, Friends of the Mississippi River, Conservation Corps Minnesota and Great River Greening. These events engage community members to restore and improve the natural environment in Saint Paul. Activities include habitat restoration, planting native species, removal of invasive species, buckthorn removal, mulching, litter clean-up, planting raingardens and special projects in natural areas. Please see the events calendar to register for upcoming events.
Private group volunteer events
We can also host a private group volunteer event for your company, club or organization. Activities include habitat restoration, planting native species, removal of invasive species, buckthorn removal, mulching, litter clean-up, planting raingardens and special projects in natural areas. Training and education, tools, gloves and plenty of ice water will be provided.
Group event information (PDF file)
Spring Parks Cleanup and Neighborhood Litter Campaign: Saint Paul Parks and Recreation kicks off its volunteer season with the annual Spring Parks Cleanup on the second Saturday in April. Individuals, families and groups are invited to help reclaim our parks from the winter snow by cleaning up trash and other debris in preparation for summer days of fun and relaxation in beautiful, clean City of Saint Paul parks.