Mendota Heights Oak Awards Program
What is the Mendota Heights Oak Awards Program?
The Mendota Heights Natural Resources Commission sponsors the Oak Awards Program to celebrate leadership, education/outreach, and project efforts that advance natural resources within the city. The Awards program was created in 2023 by the newly established Mendota Heights Natural Resources Commission.
The Oak Awards program includes the following annual awards:
• Acorn award – recognizes exemplary youth leadership in the advancement of our city’s natural resources. For example, a youth-led native planting project or education event. Eligible youth include individuals or groups 18 years of age and younger, or a current student in 12th grade or under.
• Leaf award – recognizes significant contributions of an individual, family, company or organization that has demonstrated substantial leadership for the stewardship of our city’s natural resources. For example, a community organization native planting effort with widespread reach or coordination of a neighborhood-wide adopt-a-drain effort.
• Canopy award – recognizes lifetime achievement of an individual, family, company or organization that has demonstrated extraordinary leadership for the stewardship of our city’s natural resources. For example, an individual who has initiated several or successive natural resource stewardship efforts or an organization that leads by example and has worked over time to cultivate natural resource stewardship in the community.
Who is eligible and how are nominations evaluated?
Any individual, family, company, or organization that has contributed to the advancement of natural resources within Mendota Heights is eligible. Nominees need not reside within Mendota Heights. Self-nominations or nominations of others are both accepted. Nominees are evaluated based on the quality of the nomination, demonstration of impact and inclusion of collaboration or community-building efforts.
For-profit individuals and companies hired by the City are in most cases ineligible. City Staff and City officials are generally not eligible if the applicable work is related to the regular duties of their position.
Nominations are accepted until January 31st of the following year, evaluated by Natural Resource Commission members, and awarded in the spring of the following year. Nominations can be submitted electronically, by mail, or by dropping the nomination off at City Hall.
Why is the Mendota Heights Oak Awards Program important?
Natural resources are the basis of Mendota Heights’ character and quality of life, beloved by residents, and appreciated by visitors. Important natural resources, especially the functioning natural areas that support “ecosystem services,” greatly benefit the health of our community. Water purification and regulation, groundwater recharge, urban heat island mitigation, fish and wildlife habitat, pollinator and crop support, and recreational pleasure — these are just a few of the ecosystem services that natural resources provide. Encouraging stewardship of the city’s natural resources will provide greater enjoyment to the community, better quality habitat for plants and wildlife, and a healthier, more resilient environment.
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