Adopt-a-Drain invites Minnesotans to honor Earth Day’s 50th birthday by cleaning up their own street between April 17th and April 30th. Adopting a storm drain is an easy way to have a positive impact on our environment while maintaining a safe social distance.

Adopt-a-Drain is a program that asks residents to protect nearby lakes, rivers, and wetlands by “adopting” a storm drain near their home. Volunteers sweep leaves, trash, and other debris off the drain and nearby surfaces year-round.

By spending just fifteen minutes cleaning up twice each month, volunteers prevent trash and organic pollutants from flowing through storm drains and into waterways. Since its launch in 2014, Adopt-a-Drain’s 6,000 participants have prevented nearly 200,000 pounds of debris from washing down storm drains and into Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.

Trash pickup
Volunteers collect trash to clean up neighborhoods and protect local lakes and rivers.

Take action at a safe distance this Earth Day

Jana Larson, director of the Adopt-a-Drain program, says, “Even though many community cleanup events have been canceled, we can still honor Earth Day by taking joint action to protect Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. Adopt-a-Drain invites everyone to participate in a safe way during social distancing.”

Adopting a storm drain is a family-friendly activity that can enrich learning at home. Parents and teachers navigating new COVID-19 homeschool arrangements are encouraged to participate in the Earth Day Birthday cleanup and use curricular resources available online at Waters to the Sea is a series of free lesson plans and multimedia activities created by Hamline University’s Center for Global Environmental Education and aligned to Next Generation Science Standards for grades 5-8. For more information visit

New volunteers and existing Adopt-a-Drain members who report what they pick up between April 17th and 30th will receive a limited edition temporary tattoo in the mail. To participate, residents in the seven-county metro area, Rochester, and Saint Cloud can adopt a drain and report the amount of debris they collect at

The Science Museum of Minnesota is partnering with the Adopt-a-Drain program to promote the Earth Day Birthday celebration; all adopters are encouraged to post photos and videos of their cleaning activities on social media by tagging @adoptadrain and using the hashtags #adoptadrain and #earthdaybirthday2020 to help increase participation in the program.   


About Adopt-a-Drain

The Adopt-a-Drain program is a project of Hamline University, with support from the Metro Watershed Partners, a coalition of more than 70 public, private and non-profit organizations committed to water resource education in the Twin Cities metro.

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  1. Hi Cathy,
    Thanks so much for the work you’re doing!
    We import GIS information from the city. Any drain in their database can be adopted. If you’re cleaning “your” drains, we’d love it if you’d sign up and claim them on!
    All the best,

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  4. We have a drain in front of our house that we keep clean all the time. I thought it was the responsibility of the home owner to do so, although there are some “orphan” drains in the neighborhood. Are those the ones to be “adopted”?

  5. Hi Dan—
    You can report your cleanings at any time, even once or twice a year. As long as you are keeping track of your cumulative total, the date you report doesn’t matter.
    Thanks so much for your work!

  6. It would be great to be able to enter “old” cleaning events as I don’t log in after every cleaning. I spent a lot of time removing ice (shadyside of the street) weeks ago that never got entered. Others as well.

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