April is Earth Month at Mayflower

Earthwise and Groundwise are excited to share what we have planned for you at the education hour as we all work together to heal God’s earth.

April 7: Chris Knopf, Executive Director of Friends of the Boundary Waters will discuss with us the perils proposed mining projects pose to the BWCAW.

April 14: Mayflower youth and Earthwise will discuss implications of the changing earth for our generations – what can we do, should we do, together.

April 21: Earth Sunday, two scientist leaders will discuss current work designed to solve Minnesota’s water pollution problems – water protector Carly Griffith of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and hydrogeologist Jeff Broberg of national repute and founder of Minnesota Well Owners Organization.

And, after the 11am service on the 21st, join Groundwise by the Bell Tower. We will review mechanics of the raingardens, highlight some of the flowers that will bloom there and the pollinators they support. Check out the new raingarden signs, plus pick up one of our DIY handouts on “keystone plants” and ways even container plantings can support pollinators.

April 7 Earthwise Adult Education Speaker: Chris Knopf
Chris Knopf, Executive Director of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, will join us April 7, 2024 during Mayflower United Church’s Earthwise Education Hour to share the story of how ordinary citizens came together to create the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). Knopf will discuss the Friends of the Boundary Waters conservation efforts, recent legal victories, challenges, and the organization’s commitment to connecting people to the Boundary Waters through its three programmatic areas – People, Wilderness, and Community.

Chris has had a lifelong passion for environmental conservation, stemming from his childhood experiences of playing in lakes and streams and fishing. This interest led to a legal career where he practiced environmental law. His background in law combined with his love for the environment has shaped his career dedication to preserving natural resources and advocating for conservation efforts. He has run the state office of a national, nonprofit land conservation organization and worked on Native American land conservation projects before becoming Executive Director of the Friends in 2017. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Chris is a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Virginia School of Law.


Rain barrels are a simple yet effective way to be a better steward. Here are 4 reasons you may want to consider installing one this spring.

Water Conservation. Rain barrels capture water from your roof during rainfall. This collected rainwater can then be used for various purposes, such as watering lawns, gardens, or indoor plants.   By using rain barrels, you reduce your reliance on municipal water sources, which helps conserve water. It’s like having a free, natural reservoir right at your doorstep!

Reducing Runoff and Controlled Erosion. When rainwater flows off your roof and directly onto the ground, it can pick up pollutants like soil, fertilizers, pesticides, and chemicals. This runoff eventually reaches waterways, causing pollution.  Rain barrels intercept this runoff, preventing it from immediately entering storm drains. By doing so, they reduce non-point source pollution and protect our rivers, lakes, and streams.  Excessive runoff also can erode soil and create gullies. Rain barrels help mitigate this erosion by capturing water before it gains momentum.  By slowing down the flow of rainwater, rain barrels prevent soil loss and maintain the stability of your property.

Cost Savings. Using rainwater from barrels means less reliance on treated water from utility companies. As a result, your water bills decrease. It’s a win-win situation: you save money while also benefiting the environment.

Plant Health. Rainwater is slightly acidic and contains minerals that are beneficial for plants. When you use rain barrel water for irrigation, you provide your plants with natural nutrients. Unlike chlorinated tap water, rainwater won’t harm your greenery. NOTE: Remember that rain barrel water isn’t suitable for edible plantings due to potential pollutants from roof surfaces.

Interested in getting started? Many cities in the Metro area promote rain barrel usage by distributing them to residents through annual sales or other programs.  For more information, you can explore resources like the U.S. EPA’s Soak Up the Rain page and Rain barrels in the home landscape from University of Minnesota Extension.

The Groundwise group will also have  information about rain barrels and other good water stewardship practices for your yard, like rain gardens, when we celebrate Earth Day on Sunday, April 21. Join us after the 11 o’clock service by the bell tower.

If you would like to join Mayflower’s Groundwise team in our water stewardship work, please contact Linda Ridlehuber.