Shoreview names 2013 Green Community Award Winners

A walking path through Dawn Pape’s native prairie garden. The Pape’s won a 2013 Green Community Award from the city for their eco-friendly gardening practices. (submitted photo)

Shoreview’s Environmental Quality Committee (EQC) announced the winners of this year’s Green Community Awards during the Slice of Shoreview Days.

The awards program, now in its seventh year, was originally started by local Sierra Club members to recognize residents who have taken steps on their property to improve water quality in local lakes, streams and wetlands.

Examples include the planting of shoreline buffers, gardens with native plants and the installation of rain gardens to reduce erosion and help filter out contaminants from storm water.

This year, the EQC has expanded the program to award residents and businesses in water, energy and general initiatives categories.

According to the city, the goal of the program is to inform, motivate and educate Shoreview residents by highlighting conservation practices that display innovation, conservation leadership, and activities that can be expanded to a larger number of households or businesses in the community.

This year the city has honored five Shoreview families and one business with Green Community Awards.

The Pape gardens

Dawn and Kevin Pape are recipients of one of six Green Community Awards given out by the city this year.

The couple installed the first curb cut rain garden in the city at their home at 5901 Birchwood St. The garden draws in rainwater running down their street so that it can infiltrate instead of running off.

“I’m stepping up and taking one for the team,” Dawn says with a laugh. “It handles the runoff from five houses on our street.”

The Pape’s also planted a 20’ by 70’ native and edible garden in their side yard.

Dawn says she interplants native plants with edibles, which has ecological benefits, provides food for her family, plus she says she likes the natural look of it.

She says that combining vegetables with native plants and flowers makes it unnecessary to use pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.

“Native plants are really the way to go. They’re the best for the environment,” Dawn says.

Combining native flowers and plants with vegetables generally eliminates the need to use chemicals because the randomness of the planting pattern makes it difficult for pathogens and insects to find their next host, she says.

Native plants are also much easier to care for. After the first season they generally do not even need to be watered, as they are much more adept at conserving water, Dawn says. They also help with water filtration.

Additionally, Dawn says the flowers attract helpful insects that prey on insect pests and attract pollinators like honeybees that further benefit the garden.

“Pape has set the standard for conservation,” Shoreview Environmental Officer Jessica Schaum says. “Her yard demonstrates that lovely, abundant gardens that offer food for both people and beneficial native critters aren’t mutually exclusive.”

Dawn, a master gardener, who has a master’s degree in environmental education, wrote a book: “The Lawn Chair Gardener,” which offers advice on eco-friendly gardening.

The book’s title describes Dawn’s gardening style, which she calls laid back.

“My approach is a relaxed way of doing it,” she says. “A lot of ornamental plants are high maintenance. With native plants you take a more hands off approach. You plant them, water them and leave them alone. I like functional plants that either benefit nature or my family.”

Other award winners

The other recipients of 2013 Green Community Awards include four other families and one business.

Garth and Wanda Becker were honored for installing a geothermal heating system when they needed a new furnace. They qualified for reduced pricing at their home at 5992 Scenic Place from Xcel Energy because of their decreased energy usage.

Cummins Power at 3850 Victoria St. had several solar panels installed on the building’s roof, replaced old lighting fixtures with high efficiency ones and installed occupancy sensors. A large skylight was also installed in the building’s center to bring in natural light and further reduce lighting costs.

Karen Eckman of 966 Cobb Road built two rain gardens on her property and a dry creek bed lined with native bushes and grasses. She has used her sump pump less during periods of heavy rain and sees more birds, bees and butterflies on her property. Eckman also helps organize the annual Landscape Revival native plant sale in Roseville.

Kent and Diane Peterson installed a shoreline buffer on their property at 1070 Bucher Ave. separating them from the wetland that connects to Rice Creek. The buffer infiltrates rainwater and prevents runoff. They also have a native plant garden.

Rebecca Lucas installed 20 solar panels on the roof of her garage at 718 Arbogast St. During peak times, the system produces additional electricity, which by law Xcel Energy is required to by back.

The 2013 Green Community Award winners will be recognized at Shoreview’s Monday, Sept. 16 City Council meeting.

Joshua Nielsen can be reached at or 651-748-7824.

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