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Spotlight on Mississippi Park Connection

Surly Gives A Damn works with many charitable organizations across the Twin Cities to give back to the communities and neighborhoods that support us. Throughout 2021, we’re going to highlight some of the longest-running SGAD partners and what they do.

Who:  Mississippi Park Connection

What: Mississippi Park Connection began as the local fund of the National Park Foundation under the name Mississippi River Fund. Since 2003, they’ve contributed $4.5 million to the National Park Service and its many partners in the community. They changed their name in 2015 to better reflect their mission and programs. Their goal is to strengthen the connection between people and the river by enriching the life of the river and the lives of all who experience the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.

How: Our partnership started in 2016 when we planted 200 trees and shrubs for the National Park’s 100th Birthday. That partnership deepened with our financial and volunteer support of Plant for the Future, MPC’s initiative to replant of the urban forest along the Mississippi River. Our goal: Helping to plant 7200 trees – a hundred for every mile of the national park! We knew that many trees were being lost to the Emerald Ash Borer and our partners knew the best places to reforest. We have one more year to meet our goal and only 1,700 trees left to plant.

We also built a gravel bed nursery with MPC in the back yard of our Minneapolis brewery. We plant very small baby trees in the gravel bed during the early spring. In the summer, the tree’s root balls grow to become mature enough to then plant in their “forever” homes in the fall.

“We love SGAD volunteers for their mix of determination and senses of humor,” says Mary Hammes, MPC’s Environmental Stewardship & Volunteer Manager. “When it’s intermittently raining and snowing but trees still need to get in the ground, we know we can count on them. When the river is threatened by losing 20% of its canopy, we know we can count on them. When we need a creative solution to boosting tree roots, we know we can count on them. Cheers to many more years of improving the river together!”

SGAD’s Mary Sellke on Mississippi Park Connection: “Partnering with MPC has been great. Not only are they an inspiring crew to work with but you leave every volunteer experience with them that much smarter about our environment and wanting to pitch in even more.”

The Future: We have one more year to reach our goal of 7200 trees planted. We have 1700 left. Our May 22nd event is already full (THANK YOU!), but you can watch for the remaining 2021 opportunities on our social channels and

In addition, Mississippi Park Connection has a whole summer of family-friendly activities on their website. To support MPC during their Spring Forward campaign, donate here.


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