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Randy Rau: Bringing a Green Thumb to Campus

Posted on: August 13th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Randy Rau, MCTC gardener and groundskeeperRandy Rau likes to get his hands dirty.

As the College’s official gardener and groundskeeper, Randy is the face behind MCTC’s lush, blooming outdoor plaza.

“I’m all self-taught,” he said. “I read a lot of books. I don’t have a degree in gardening—just a general interest and lots of work experience.” Before MCTC, Randy worked at Bachman’s floral headquarters in south Minneapolis, and before that at Gertens Greenhouses.

Continuing his hobby at home, Randy’s hard work won the attention of his like-minded peers in the local Lynnhurst Garden Club. Connecting the community to his work at the College, Randy led 16 gardeners on a tour of the recently remodeled outdoor plaza, its flora and rain gardens intended to mitigate stormwater runoff.

“There’s a big divide between how you garden at home and gardening on the level of this college,” said Randy. “Finding the right balance of upkeep and ensuring the diversity of plants winds up being trial and error.”

Gardening is not only Randy’s profession and hobby. It’s also his love.

“My wife and I met when we both worked at Bachmans,” he said. “So we definitely share that interest.”

Last fall, Randy’s expertise landed him a high-profile role: in honor of the College’s Beyond the Yellow Ribbon military support initiative, Randy was asked to select and plant a tree in a prominent spot on the MCTC plaza. He planted a young red oak just above one of the rain gardens, and took part in the ceremony with honor. (See photos from the ceremony here.)

“As an Air Force and Navy reservist, I was proud to be recognized both as a veteran and a gardener,” he said. “Once as a Navy Reservist, I spent eight months in Kuwait. My wife took care of our garden at home while I was gone. I was never so glad to see green as I was when I came home.”

The impeccable upkeep Randy devotes to the College’s lush landscape caught the attention of some local experts. Randy’s expertise was tapped by the Lynnhurst Garden Club for a tour of the native plants, and he led 16 active gardeners through the grounds this summer, connecting the current flora with sustainability and aesthetic efforts behind the redesign.

Randy will repeat his tour of the MCTC outdoor plaza on Wednesday, Aug. 19 at noon. All MCTC students, faculty, staff and members of the community are invited to learn more about the plaza redesign, campus and city sustainability efforts and plants at the tour. The tour will be rescheduled in the case of inclement weather. Questions are welcome!

Rain Gardens Stand the Test of Weather

Posted on: July 9th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments
This MCTC rain garden sits between campus and the Loring Park dog run. After rainfall, the garden fills with rain, allowing it to saturate the ground as opposed to running off into city sewers.

This MCTC rain garden sits between campus and the Loring Park dog run. After rainfall, the garden fills with rain, allowing it to saturate the ground as opposed to running off into city sewers.

When it rains, it pours.

After Monday morning’s record-setting downpour and several inches of ensuing rain, MCTC’s recently-remodeled outdoor plaza demonstrated the effectiveness of sustainability and stormwater runoff planning. This photo shows the southern rain garden—separating campus from Loring Park—filled with rain waiting to be absorbed into the saturated ground.

Rain gardens prevent stormwater runoff from eroding landscaping, flooding city streets and overwhelming sewers. The outdoor MCTC plaza has received accolades for its green design, and is a tremendous improvement over its earlier, concrete-heavy design.

Learn more about stormwater management at MCTC.

Green Dot Day Advocates Community Violence Prevention on May 1

Posted on: April 17th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

Green Dot Day 2014 Take a stand against violence! Join members of the Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) and Loring Park communities to recognize and advocate against power-based personal violence on Green Dot Day!

A “green dot” is an individual commitment to counteracting “red dots,” or moments when words, choices or actions contribute to or tolerate power-based personal violence. Any intervention that reduces the likelihood of violence is a green dot.

On May 1, MCTC faculty, staff and students, Minneapolis MAD DADS, KMOJ and other local organizations will rally against violence with a day of discussions, displays, rousing celebration and a unity march through the park. Everyone is invited! For updates from the event planners, visit Green Dot Day on Facebook.