Today, and every day, we celebrate green—whether we’re giving it away to lucky lottery winners or giving back to Minnesota’s environment.

Since 1990, the Lottery has transferred more than $1.2 billion to Minnesota’s environment through the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF), Game and Fish Fund and the Natural Resources Fund—making the state of Minnesota the biggest winner of all. 

On this Arbor Day, we celebrate the innovative ENRTF projects, funded with the help of Lottery dollars, that are committed to protecting and preserving Minnesota’s precious trees. Why are trees so important to our environment? They are essential to providing cleaner air, cleaner water, and ultimately creating a heathier place to live. Here are just a few examples of projects in our communities that are making a difference for all Minnesotans:

Restoring Forests in Minnesota State Parks

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is using a $250,000 ENRTF grant to restore at least 255 acres of high-quality forest in State Parks around Minnesota, including Itasca, Jay Cooke and Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area. Restoration efforts include invasive species control, prescribed burns, planting or seeding.

Emerald Ash Borer Biocontrol

Emerald ash borer is one of the most destructive non-native pests in North America and is threatening Minnesota’s nearly 1 billion ash trees—home to the second highest population in the nation. The ENRTF has funded a series of projects to implement biocontrol methods, including use of a newly approved parasitic wasp.

Restoration of Prairie, Savanna and Forest Habitat

Friends of the Mississippi River is using a $213,000 ENRTF grant for continued implementation of the Metro Conservation Corridors partnership by improving at least 80 acres of habitat, including 57 acres of Oak Savanna, 19 acres of prairie and 6 acres of forest along the Mississippi River and Vermillion River corridors.

Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests

Terrestrial invasive species cost Minnesota an estimated $3 billion each year, impacting every citizen across the state. To combat this widespread problem, a $5 million ENRTF grant was used to create the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center at the University of Minnesota. The Center conducts research to prevent, minimize, and mitigate the threats and impacts posed by invasive plants, pathogens, and pests to our prairies, forests, wetlands, and agricultural resources.

Preventing a New Disease of Minnesota Pines

A relatively new invasive tree disease called Heterobasidion Root Rot is a serious threat to Minnesota’s Red and White Pines. The University of Minnesota used a $371,000 ENRTF grant to identify early detection tools and prepare an effective defense to fight the disease and reduce its impact to our native forests and urban landscapes. 

Restoring Urban Natural Resources  

Great River Greening, with the help of hundreds of volunteers, is working towards restoring approximately 250 acres of forest, prairie, woodland, wetland, and shoreline throughout the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area thanks to a $524,000 ENRTF grant.

These projects are just a few examples of your Lottery dollars at work through the ENRTF. Visit the Lottery’s Playing Our Part page to learn more about where the money goes.