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Vote Now for This Year’s Greening Awards!

Posted on: August 14th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

The Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District is rewarding sustainable design and attention to the environment again!

Click here to vote now for this year’s Annual Greening and Public Realm Awards. The recent redesign of the MCTC outdoor plaza created a lush backyard for the campus that allows Loring Park’s presence to be felt here at the College. MCTC received Greening awards in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Want to learn more about the plaza redesign, the sustainable design and the flora that are carefully tended? Come take a tour of the outdoor plaza on Opening Day, 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. Questions are welcome! The tour will be rescheduled in the case of inclement weather.

Again, to vote in this year’s Annual Greening and Public Realm Awards, click here or visit http://www.minneapolisdid.com/greeningawards.

Sustainability Efforts to be Highlighted on MCTC Plaza Tour

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

IMG_1925-smAnyone who visited the Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) outdoor plaza more than three years ago might not recognize it today.

Following three years of extensive development and redesign aimed at upgrading facilities, mitigating stormwater runoff, beautifying the campus and connecting the College aesthetically to its Loring Park, Walker Art Center and Downtown Minneapolis neighbors, the MCTC plaza reopened in 2013 as a lush, inviting canvas of natural plants, grasses and flowers where once acres of concrete sprawled.

The redesign won accolades from the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, which has awarded Greening Awards to the college for the redesign and its sustainable rain gardens in 2012, 2013 and 2014. (Vote now for this year’s Greening Awards!)

“This redesign not only allowed for the completion of deferred maintenance on campus, it also helped us manage stormwater runoff and brought Loring Park up into campus,” said MCTC Director of Facilities Roger Broz. “The College is now gardening on a municipal level.”

In addition, the impeccable upkeep devoted to this lush landscape by MCTC Gardener and Grounskeeper Randy Rau caught the attention of 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 week, 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. Questions are welcome! The tour will be rescheduled in the case of inclement weather.

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.

Earth Day Global Conversations

Posted on: April 16th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

earthJoin the MCTC Faculty Sustainability Committee on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22 for an opportunity to discuss challenges facing global sustainability with students conversing live from China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Denmark, Japan, Montenegro and Colombia.

At the heart of all major global challenges (food, water, air, energy, resources, poverty and so on) is the environment and climate change. No one country alone can save our planet from our modern world, which is why global communication and relationship-building are essential.

At this event, participants will have real-time conversations with students around the world using live video chat technology. This is an opportunity to hear from global residents what climate change challenges they see their locale experiencing, and an opportunity for participants to share the challenges they see. Click here for further description of this event and here for a schedule of conversation sessions with different countries.

How to Register

To register for this event, please fill out this form on Eventbrite and then follow these steps:

  • Choose a country of interest and a time slot that fit your schedule on Wednesday, April 22
  • See the list of questions that will be used to guide the conversations for each session
  • Create a bio for yourself here to share with the other participants

Please contact Diane Pearson with any questions at diane.pearson@minneapolis.edu.