The future of our trash at Lake Hiawatha

Sean Connaughty and a collection of trash


On Nov. 15, an exhibit debuted at The White Page at East 34th Street and Cedar Avenue South in Minneapolis ( Called “Final Report—Lake Hiawatha—Anthropocenic Midden Survey,” it displays a large collection of trash collected from Lake Hiawatha in South Minneapolis. This collection of trash has been gathered from Lake Hiawatha over several years by Sean Connaughty and The Friends of Lake Hiawatha. The amount and diversity of the trash is impressive and concerning.
This trash is due to the fact that Lake Hiawatha is the dumping ground for most of the storm sewer water in the Minnehaha Creek watershed. It comes from South Minneapolis and communities as far away as Lake Minnetonka. The majority of the trash enters Lake Hiawatha directly from the following sources: at least four storm sewer pipes that drain South Minneapolis water directly into Lake Hiawatha; and inbound Minnehaha Creek, which carries water and trash from a huge portion of the Minnehaha Creek watershed.
Included in the exhibit is a historical perspective of Lake Hiawatha and the area, with a short history of the lake from the time of the habitation of the Dakota people to the development of the park by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Ethan Neerdaels Goodroads Village gave an interesting presentation about “being a good relative,” illustrating the Dakota perspective of the Dakota people’s connection to the land.
A synopsis of observed wildlife at the lake and a satirical look at the items found, from a future perspective, complete the exhibit.
This exhibit is an eye-opening look at the way we, as people and governments, do little to maintain a clean and healthy environment for ourselves. Is it time for our government officials to really take the lead in mitigating this trash?

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