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City of Rochester
201 4th Street SE
Rochester, MN  55904

Phone: 507-328-2900
Fax: 507-328-2901
TDD: 507-328-2900

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Lawns to Legumes: Designing Resilience Charrettes Workshop

  • Date: 05/28/2020 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM  

The City of Rochester is hosting online workshops for city residents and land managers on creating pollinator habitat and water stewardship gardens. Participants will learn about Lawns to Legumes, a state program offering grants and additional support to help Minnesotans protect the endangered rusty patched bumblebee and other at-risk pollinators. Stephanie Hatzenbihler, Environmental Education Specialist at the City of Rochester shares, “these workshops have been popular and each one had a waitlist because space was limited in the classroom, but the pandemic has led to a shift to online workshops and we can share this opportunity with many more Rochester residents via the Zoom platform.” 

To attend, register at

May 20th, 6-8 PM: Resilient Yards Workshop (2 hours) A framework for understanding and creating resilience, covering site planning, rain gardens, turf alternatives, trees, other plantings, pollinator habitat, and more. A 1 ½ hour presentation is followed by Q&A or discussion.

May 28th, 6-8 PM: Designing Resilience Charrettes Workshop (2 hours) A short presentation summing up site assessment, design, and possible projects to incorporate into your yard is followed by attendees splitting up into digital breakout rooms where they can have 15-minute small or 1-on-1 conversations with Landscape Designers about their specific property and projects. Homework included.

“Pollinator conservation can be as simple as allowing clover to bloom within your lawn, or installing a few native perennials. Small actions like these can have great impacts when adopted by communities that have the proper information and guidance,” says James Wolfin, an expert on bee-friendly lawns and a manager of the Lawns to Legumes program for Blue Thumb. Blue Thumb coordinates the individual support part of this MN Board of Water and Soil Resources program.

Creating resilience is a way of rethinking yard practices to respond to some of the challenges of climate change. They include stormwater practices that soak in rainwater, preventing runoff that causes pollution in our lakes and rivers; planting trees for shade; native planting to support local habitat; and alternatives to the conventional, high-input turf lawns that are hostile places for pollinators looking for food and shelter. “By adding native pocket plantings, beneficial trees and shrubs, or pollinator lawns and meadows to our landscapes, we increase habit for endangered and threatened pollinator species,” states Kelly Rae Kirkpatrick, Master Water Steward with the City of Rochester. All of these are actions that DIYers can easily put into practice in their yards.

Lawns to Legumes offers grants up to $350 for Minnesota residents to convert their yards to pollinator habitat. The City of Rochester also offers a grant program called Rochester Garden Grants that provides up to $1000 for projects that create pollinator habitat, increase the amount of stormwater soaking into the ground, creates awareness of the benefits of native gardens, and encourages others to create gardens for pollinators and clean water using best practices. 

Blue Thumb – Planting for Clean Water, a network of public and private partners working towards planting for clean water and pollinators, is coordinated by Metro Blooms, a nonprofit committed to resilient communities through the promotion, design, installation, and care of sustainable landscapes. Blue Thumb is working with the MN Board of Water and Soil Resources to deliver workshops and individual assistance for the Lawns to Legumes program. Workshops are supported by the city of Rochester.