Though it advertises itself as the largest no-kill shelter in the Twin Cities, Animal Ark’s homey facility seems more like a relaxing retreat for the more than 1,000 homeless cats, dogs, and rabbits that come through its doors each year. Cats bask in sunlight within feline apartments as dogs lounge atop soft raised beds in their own spacious kennels, sinking teeth into chew toys and treats. Of course, time at Animal Ark isn't all leisure. Canines awaiting their forever homes stretch their legs across a large outdoor play yard, aptly named the Ark Park, where ample trees and greenery mix with park benches where dogs can train their human friends to sit.
Potential owners can also get to know adoptable pets online. The website posts a first-person profile of each available animal that lists its breed, personality, and master’s degrees.
Crowds jet to the Eden Prairie’s Flying Cloud Airport for the 2011 AirExpo held by Wings of the North, taking up-close ganders at vintage planes, meeting the historic heroes who flew them, and indulging in other avian entertainments. Explore a period-plane petting zoo during the two-day fair, wandering amid historical and working aircraft such as the P-51C Mustang or popping into the cockpit for a tour of the B-25 bomber Miss Mitchell. Meet a Tuskegee airman and a Black Sheep squadron pilot from World War II, rub elbows with Vietnam veterans, or figure out how Ben Franklin trained kites to drop bombs in the Hall of Legends. Classic cars and military vehicles crash the plane party, adding more grounded mechanics to the weekend.
As the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, the American Lung Association organizes the Moonlight River Gamble to raise awareness for its cause. Each registered event attendee will embark on a 12-mile night bike ride that’s fun for cyclists of all ages and skill levels. Roll through the Minnesota River Valley while enjoying a star-lit fall evening along a course that begins and ends at the Historic Fort Snelling Visitor Center. Wrap up the evening at the included after-party, which will provide a variety of tasty treats from the event’s partners.
While one-time food and grocery donations are important to people in need, the question still remains: how can we ensure that same person isn’t in need again tomorrow, or in a month?
Second Harvest Heartland addresses this question by working to provide long-term hunger relief to the community. As a member of Feeding America, and the Upper Midwest’s biggest hunger-relief organization, Second Harvest Heartland continuously accepts donations of dry, refrigerated, and frozen food and stores them in 90,000+ square feet of space. From there, the organization's fleet of trucks delivers the donations to homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and other community centers. But food distribution is only part of Second Harvest Heartland's mission.
The organization runs programs and initiatives such as Food Rescue, which prevents millions of pounds of food from going unused. Professional drivers head to local grocers to collect food that would otherwise be thrown away—including fresh produce, dairy, and meat—and distributes them to soup kitchens and other partners in Second Harvest Heartland’s 59-county service area. Other programs help educate members of the community, empowering them to get involved in the fight to end hunger.
In 1976, Tree Trust was formed to help solve two ongoing problems: dutch elm disease was destroying the urban canopy, and local residents were experiencing the languor of employment and poverty. Tree Trust hired unemployed individuals and trained them to replant the decaying forests in the region. Today, the team builds staircases and retaining walls to prevent erosion, clears buckthorn to help native plants thrive, creates trails for recreational activities, constructs LEED-certified houses, and replaces diseased trees with thousands of new trees every year. The organization also hosts community plantings and employs youth in summer programs to instill an ethic of environmental stewardship. Since its inception, Tree Trust has provided employment training for more than 42,000 people, planted 72,000 trees and shrubs, and educated more than 100,000 students about protecting green spaces.