Did you know that for every $1 you give to the lottery in Minnesota, $0.25 goes right back to the state? Since its inception, the Minnesota lottery has helped raise over $2.6 billion for the state. In fact, one of the key projects it’s funding is the protection and development of environmental resources.

Here are 5 of our favorite ways that the Minnesota lottery is helping to shape and protect our natural spaces:

The Lottery in Minnesota Creates Nature Trails

The lottery in Minnesota has helped fund various nature trails.

Do you love to hike, walk, bike, ski, or horseback ride? Nature trails like the Mesabi Trail in northeastern Minnesota rely on external funding for their development and maintenance. When the Mesabi Trail is finished it will stretch 145 miles through scenic natural land and is just waiting to be traversed and explored by adventurous Minnesotans. Due to funding from the Minnesota Lottery, it’s making its way towards completion.

Assessing the BP Oil Spill

The lottery in Minnesota has helped to assess the damage done by the BP oil spill.

What does the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have to do with Minnesota wildlife? Well, many Minnesotan fowl—like loons and pelicans—migrate to that area for the winter. Thanks to the assistance of Minnesota Lottery funding, an assessment, research, and monitoring project was established to protect this migratory wildlife.

The Department of Natural Resources received upwards of $650,000 through lottery funding and grants in order to deal with lingering consequences during and after the oil spill clean-up. Due to the this funding, not only did key assessment take place, but researchers were also able to better prepare themselves in light of any future situations. 


Bringing Back the Pollinators

The lottery in Minnesota has assisted in protecting key pollinating insects.

Pollinators like bees are vital to the survival of natural ecosystems. It’s been well documented that pollinator populations are on the decline for a variety of reasons. In order to assure the continued survival of our forests and wilderness, pollinators must be protected. And, as a result of the lottery in Minnesota, we’re getting a closer to ensuring the future of our pollinators. 

As a result of this decline, The University of Minnesota is conducting research into declining pollinator populations and establishing safe, flourishing habitats in order to protect and increase their numbers. This project is partially funded by the Minnesota Lottery.

Around $864,000 was dedicated to developing sustainable habitats and food supplies in support of these essential critters. Furthermore, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum received $615,000 toward education, exhibits, programming, and demonstration sites designed to explore the role pollinators play in our planet’s biodiversity.

The Lottery in Minnesota Encourages Outdoor Education

The lottery in Minnesota has helped fund various educational activities.

Minnesota’s most popular park, Como Regional Park, brings in almost 2 million people each year. Among other attractions, the park includes a zoo, an amusement park, and the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. Minnesota Lottery proceeds helped fund an 18-acre natural area within the park called the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom. Studying in the sunshine and fresh air? Sounds like a dream come true.

As a result, the $218,000 grant went towards removing invasive and non-native wildlife and plant species, restoring damaged areas, creating safe and functional trail systems. Due to the funding, seven different outdoor study spaces, proper signage for visitors, propagation gardens, and more have been built.

Developing Parks in Low-Income Neighborhoods

The lottery in Minnesota has helped fund parks in low-income areas.

Every community deserves to have a green recreational space of some kind. Introducing kids and adults to open, outdoor spaces can encourage healthy lifestyle choices. Frogtown, of St. Paul, Minnesota, has been pinpointed as a low-income, higher risk community desperately in need of green spaces like parks. Because of it’s culturally diverse community, this area has been selected for the development of Frogtown Farm and Park by The Trust for Public Land, who will use $1,500,000 in funding in order to acquire vacant land for this exciting development project.

These are just a few of the environmental projects funded in part by Minnesota Lottery proceeds. To learn more, check out these details about where other funds are allocated. So, the next time you or a loved one plays the lottery in Minnesota, remember that your contribution is helping the planet.

Photos: Andy Chilton, Jake Melara, Bill Williams, Stefan Steinbauer, Blake Richard Verdoorn, Will Paterson