Change the World: Volunteer

Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary Volunteers

Volunteers plant trees in the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary
Photo Credit: Sarah Clark

In January, Saint Paul was selected by online voters along with Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans and Washington D.C. for HGTV’s Change the World; Start at Home campaign. Three historic preservation projects on St. Paul’s East Side will receive assistance and volunteer support to revitalize the surrounding neighborhood.

HGTV and its partners, Rebuilding Together, National Trust for Historic Preservation and Natural Resources Defense Council, are inviting people across the country to help communities in need become thriving and abundant once again.

The Saint Paul projects feature a mix of historic preservation, community, education, and environmental improvement, including:

  • Helping a deserving family with an unfinished home renovation. After her husband passed away 18 months ago, Kris Nelson’s dreams of restoring their three-story Victorian era home were put on hold. She and her two sons will be able to complete their home with a help from HGTV.
  • Transforming the grounds of the Wilder Recreation Center/City Academy. The WPA building was designed by Saint Paul City Architect Clarence (“Cap”) Wigington, the country’s first African American municipal architect. School administrators at City Academy building teach their students the importance of giving back to the community through volunteering and caring for the environment. A much-needed facelift will enable the growth of the school and neighboring community center.
  • Restoring and interpreting the ecological and cultural resources in the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, a Mississippi River area open space just east of downtown Saint Paul that includes remnants of our industrial and indigenous history. Though the park has come a long way since its days as a contaminated rail yard, there is still much to be done and it remains a work in progress.

Read more about the winning projects from Laura Yuen of Minnesota Public Radio: Saint Paul neighborhood projects get boost from national contest.

Historic Saint Paul has connections to all three projects: (1) the Nelsons’ exterior renovation was sponsored in part by the Restore Saint Paul loan program (2) Historic Saint Paul worked with the Lower Phalen Creek Project and the National Parks Service to install interpretive panels at the entrance of the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary; and (3) City Academy students painted a vibrant mural on a Restore Saint Paul commercial restoration project.

There are a number of volunteer opportunities available in conjunction with the Save the World campaign. Click here to learn more about the projects and to sign up to help these worthy restoration efforts.