All posts by Dan Kunitz

About Dan Kunitz

Dan Kunitz is a Minnesota native, who loves learning about sustainable practices, working with his wife on their home, and enjoying their two dogs and three cats. He is a project manager/business analyst at the University of Minnesota and a volunteer designer with MinneWebCon, Citizens for Sustainability, and Shoulder to Shoulder.

April Meeting Notes

Advance Oxidation Plant update

  • How to sign up for email notifications. Quarterly newsletter, Police, 2016 street, water updates, 2017 street/utilities, Mirror, Lowry grove, 2017 37th sidewalk.

Demo Garden Grant Application

  • City applying to MWMO watershed for Silver Point park (near the building)
  • What is the need/where can we add value?
    • Turf alternatives
    • rain garden
    • native planting (and along water bodies)
    • green wall
    • Shine a light on city’s stormwater handling
    • tie in to student organizations (ecology club, K kids (Kiwanis), scouts)
    • Event(s)
      • turf removal demo
      • pollinator planting demo
      • post-completion curriculum for ECFE at the park
      • Plan for what people can do with their kids (kids programming? Kristin R-M volunteers)
  • What are the barriers?
    • Communicating to people (budget)
    • Getting buy-in from neighbors/visitors
    • Finding vendors?
      • Earth wizards (Interfaith Power and Light)
    • Who maintains it?
      • Get commitment from the Parks Board early on
        • partner with Parks board to involve CFS
        • make it part of the board accountability/promotion
        • Friends for SAV Parks
      • Adopt-a-garden idea
        • CFS
      • Borrow from seasonal student employment hours?
    • Why?
      • native plants require less care
      • less pesticides
      • No-mow
    • gardening tools/where to purchase plants
      • lending library (county libraries? Use NE lending library?)
      • Sod remover from rental facility near Columbia Heights library
      • Mother Earth Gardens partnerships?
    • how/where to dispose of removed turfgrass

Transition Town talk invitation

  • There are 4 cities/neighborhood officially listed as transition towns
  • We could at least promote the two upcoming events
  • Provide direction (list our current issues (organics, local gov’t, etc.)
    • lessons learned
    • network
    • resources
    • common goals

Village Fest/Sustainability Fair

  • Place CFS member on planning
  • Label organizations with sustainability at the fair, rather than group booths
    • review process
    • award
  • Signup for Friends of the Parks at booth
  • Tour
  • Promote demo garden
  • Transportation
    • Add Electric Car show/Talk to Village Fest activity list on Saturday
    • Bike safety/rodeo, repairs, maintenance
    • Temp bike racks?
    • Free bike helmets/reflectors/etc. (Check Allina and counties)
  • Provide seats in the shade (extra tent)

Earth Day Cleanups

  • Didn’t end up in the Village Notes 🙁
  • Kristin will create Facebook events to share
  • Are there any Earth Day construction projects we can feature?
  • Hand out seed packets?
  • Weigh/count garbage
  • Events
    • 9:00 cleanup at Trillium Park
      • Divide plants, trimming trees, hauling brush, some pickup
    • 9:15 cleanup at Salo Park
      • tidying/garbage pickup
    • 1:00 cleanup at Central Park
      • tidying/garbage pickup
    • Maybe put rain garden back together at Wilshire
    • Maybe Nativity could get involved (buckthorn removal, rain garden tidying)
    • 10:00 bus ride to the March for Science from Nativity Lutheran Church (email to reserve a seat)
  • Engage churches/local businesses/handouts in our neighborhoods
    • Speak/announce at churches or in programs

Comp Plan Feedback

  • Mary comments: Discuss transportation in sustainability chapter AND in each chapter related (like transportation)
  • City has received a lot of feedback
  • Does CFS want to submit a summary of feedback as CFS? Yes.
    • equitable sustainability initiatives?
  • Facebook poll?
  • Plan our quarterly Tuesday morning meeting in May
    • Plan for Tuesday morning meeting with Jay and Mark, May 23, two weeks prior to June 5th parks commission meeting for getting on their agenda
      • Agenda:
        • Ideas for organics collection
        • Comp plan feedback
        • Park planning (Friends of the Park idea)
        • Village Fest cross promotion?

Other Notes

  • Perhaps Nativity PopTops speaker Allen Anderson can be called upon
  • Post cards sent to CEOs about environment

Upcoming Event – March 4: Conscientious Gardening

Native plants, pollinator habitat, vegetable gardening, watering wisely – all aspects of conscientious gardening that protect the environment, save time and encourage pollinators. Find out what how your yard can make a difference!

On March 4 from 10:00 to noon, we’ll gather in the Nativity Commons to share seeds and learn more about the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee (native to our area, and recently placed on the endangered species list). Other topics are using native plants, watering wisely and the Pollinator Pathway program in St. Anthony.

Master gardeners will be on hand to answer questions and we’ll have kid friendly activities too. Childcare is available.

All are welcome! Please contact Donna Steinwand (, Lona Doolan ( or Lynette Thompson ( for more information.

CFS February Meeting Notes


Meeting with Mark Casey and Jay Hartmann

  • Parks Commission Meetings
    • Do our Tuesday morning meetings just before their meetings. Invite Parks Commission members to them or our Saturday meetings
      • March 6, 2017
      • June 5, 2017
      • September 5, 2017
      • December 4, 2017
  • Earth Day cleanups (April 22, 9-11am)
    • Locations
      • Salo Park: 9:15am – noon (Clif & Bettye)
      • Trillium Park: SAV gardeners need help pruning if we could help organize
      • Central Park: get help from an NHS student
      • Faith: Rain garden cleanup. Should check with MWMO about master water steward volunteer hours or cub scout
    • Tasks
      • Village Note article
        • Bring work gloves
      • Write emails, too
  • GreenStep Cities Step 5 criteria is just out
    • Can city order street signs like you can order Tree City USA signs? Also, order those?
  • Adding “Sustainability” to the name of Parks Commission
    • Receptive to this change, but will have to check
  • Sustainability coordinator position?
    • No
  • Ice melt?
    • Salt/brine
    • Don’t use sand as much due to watershed
    • Staff are up to date on training
  • Organics Collection
    • No plan until demand
    • When pressed on a central option, they asked us where it should be
    • Notes from the CFS group:
      • There is a student from U of M interested in using organics collection as their capstone project
        • Nate, Dan, Mark, Lona to meet with student
      • Hennepin County has funding to expand organics collection
        • How has Minneapolis decided this
  • City water use
    • Stick with Odd/Even watering ban
    • Splash pads may run a few days this year
    • Can CFS help reach out to kids about water conservation contest?
      • Lona will check with ecology clubs
    • Can CFS look into neighbor comparison on use like Xcel does?
      • Lona is working on this, too
    • Rain Barrel offerings again in April
  • Lowry Grove
    • City has not gotten involved
    • Notes from CFS discussion:
      • PUD could be used to specify green space minimums
      • Feb 17: Affordable Housing discussion surrounding Lowry Grove re-development–could we bring up lack of green space?
      • Can CFS help organize help to preserve affordable housing
  • Silver Lake Carp removal
    • Success, but allowed more weeds to grow
    • Did DNR re-check lake?
      • Don’t know
  • Mirror Lake dredging
    • It’s ongoing
  • Water treatment project
    • It’s ongoing
  • 25% of city energy comes from Chisago County solar garden
  • Pollinator pathway signs are available–ask Jay
  • We received a copy of the Comp Plan
    • Send feedback to Mark

Legislative updates

  • Education legislation
  • Environmental legislation

Kristin will provide update on grants

  • Kristin was not present–we’ll have to follow up
  • Water Stewards could use projects

Next Parks Commission Meeting- prepare update/proposal for Park Clean Up for Earth Day?

  • What to talk about at March 6 Parks Commission meeting
    • Request the name change
    • Pollinator Pathway next steps
    • Bike/walk component? Kathy has
    • 37th Ave sidewalks
    • Bring up organics to place in a park
      • Works at Minneapolis parks
    • Liaison to our meeting

Notes/Agenda items for next time

  • Nativity redesigning their outdoor learning environment
  • Wilshire Park’s rain garden
  • What to add to the Village Notes before April 1
    • Promote SAV sustainability section on their website
    • Earth Day cleanups
  • Faith: Solar panels are going up in June
  • Nativity: could make only 2% of power through solar
  • CERTs has a “Right Light” guide
  • Make better use of the CFS Facebook page
  • When do we start planning VillageFest topics? Potential ideas:
    • Kid-friendly activity
      • clippings
    • Feature LEDs?
    • Feature solar?
    • Get sponsorship?!

Upcoming Events

Everything’s Accelerating—The Good and Bad – SEF News-Views Digest

SEF News-Views Digest No. 164 (2-8-17)
[NOTE: The next newsletter will be sent March 15th]
Clifton Ware, Editor-Publisher

Thomas L. Friedman, an extraordinarily well-informed journalist, has produced yet another important, timely book: Thank You for Being Late. The subtitle—”An Optimist’s Guide To Thriving In The Age of Acceleration”—suggests that it’s an essential read for anyone seeking to understand and cope effectively with the accelerating economic, environmental, political, and social realities of modern life.

Continue reading Everything’s Accelerating—The Good and Bad – SEF News-Views Digest

CFS Meeting Notes – January ’16

Notes from Saturday, January 28, 2017 CFS Meeting


2017 schedule

  • survey shows top results 1.5 hr, monthly meeting on Saturdays; then second best is Tuesday earlier.
  • Decision:
    • monthly Saturday meetings (2nd Saturday, 10-11:30) —Feb 11, March 11, April 8, May 20, June 10,  July 15, August off (VillageFest), Sept 9, Oct 14, Nov 11, Dec 9.
    • Ask Jay: Quarterly Tuesday morning meetings (7am)—April , July, Oct, Jan

Prioritize topics and plan a discussion with Jay and Mark

questions beginning with highest priority
Attendees: Clif, Bettye, Paul, Lona (where will meeting take place?)

Topics for Tuesday:

  1. Quarterly Tuesday morning meetings in April, July, Oct, Jan for overlap with city staff
    • Pick Dates
  2. What sustainability initiatives are in comp plan?
    • (comp plan report from June meeting is on the SAV website)
    • When draft is done in the summer, there will likely be a public event
    • We could coordinate volunteers
  3. Earth Day/Week park cleanup event(s)
    • What can we do to help the Parks Commission plan this?
    • Could we place the city staff at parks to thank residents?
    • Can city provide bags and pick up?
    • Can city put up signs in each of 5 couple weeks in advance?
    • Adopt-a-park for organizations?
  4. GreenStep City Step 4 (Kristen has electronic copy)
    • Is there any way the residents can help city apply?
    • Perhaps CFS members could focus in on specific areas
    • Any relationship to resilience section of the comp plan
  5. Since Parks commission does sustainability, add “Sustainability” in the name?
  6. Sustainability Coordinator
    • Can we get a full-time SAV sustainability coordinator shared with Falcon Heights?
    • Can we help right write the application/choose projects for a green corps member?
  7. Street ice melt composition?
    • Brine/Salt/etc.
  8. Organics collection
    • The city hauler collection agreement required haulers to be ready to implement organics collection 1/1/2016, what came of that?
    • In Elk River it cost $250/month for a large organics dumpster
    • Now that organized collection is settling in, add organics pickup?
    • Can we just put organics bins in parks/city parking lots?
  9. Regulations on water efficiency
    • Is there any policy for city water use?
    • Add odd/even restrictions officially?
    • Can we help educate residents?
  10. Lowry Grove
    • Awesome that kids are able to finish school year!
    • Are there meetings for public input?
    • Sidewalk requirements? Any coordination with public transit?

Topics for a future meeting:

  1. Tree diversity
    • What trees are suggested to residents for streets project? Any food trees?
    • Tree sale/discount to residents?
    • Can we connect with Roseville arboretum
  2. Transition plantings at city hall and in parks (changing)
    • Does the city have any plans, how can we help (pollinator benefits, not spraying)
    • Apply for a watershed grant for Trillium park/Silver Point Park?
  3. Light pollution
    • Is there any policy? Can we help educate?
  4. Energy efficiency
    • Are there city buildings codes regarding efficiency? Can we suggest improvements?
    • Can we promote Excel energy audit
    • Campaign to recognize both a business and resident in efforts to conserve energy
  5. Sustainability Fair
    • Can we/city plan it? Tie in to Earth Week.
    • Instead of a student poster session with talks, focus on brief talks/panels with vendors. It’d be great to hear Mark and Jerry about city sustainability?
    • Have it in the Spring instead?
    • Maybe have it at city hall? Outdoors?
  6. As an alternate plan to U of M-planned Sustainability Fair Elk River paired up with University of St. Thomas
    • The city of elk river and also the Mississippi WMO have partnered with the program which pairs city sustainability project needs with university classes. They are looking at add more partners for the fall semester and I would be happy to coordinate a meeting with the director, Maria Thomas. You can see the projects completed and get her contact information at

Earth Day/Week cleanup

  • Communicate in March and ask if anyone has relationships with: Scouts, Ecology Club, Key club, NHS, Kiwanis

Can we work with another college/university for a Sustainability Fair?

  • What other students/classes can we work with?
  • Thoughts on kitchen composting using enzymes/bacteria

Brain storm with Kristin S areas to focus in 2017 to build on her work, and areas she thinks have greater likelihood of success getting city support

  • Will work with MWMO grant on water related project which includes part of SAV
    • Events: Sweep up clippings off the street into the grass
    • Adopt a storm drain
    • Maybe a grant to reduce runoff going straight from lawns to street

Brief updates:

  • Nativity seed exchange/pollinator event
  • Nativity outdoor learning environment
  • Parks Commission update on Pollinator Pathway success?
    • Kristen already presented an update

Upcoming Events