Stories of Connection Project

The Loppet Foundation’s Stories of Connection Project brings together community groups and others to explore what Theodore Wirth Park means to people from the many different cultures that call Minneapolis home. This includes understanding points of inspiration and connection, as well as challenges faced by community members such as residents of BIPOC and lower income neighborhoods bordering the park. This multi-year project will tell these stories of connection to nature through art, media, signage, programming, and events throughout the community with the goal of increasing park usership and depth of experience as more people see their own stories reflected in the identity of Theodore Wirth Park.

The narratives of people and the land are interdependent. Your story of connection to nature, community, and Theodore Wirth Park can help others recognize their own stories reflected in the identity of this place. We’d love to hear from you!

Are Theodore Wirth Park or other Minneapolis green spaces special to you? Tell us your story! (Through Audio, Video, Photos, and Prose)

To tell your story, use the link above to link to our TheirStory page. Allow access to your microphone and camera (you can turn the camera off later for audio only). Enter your name, accept terms and conditions, and click Launch Call. Then follow the on-screen prompts in the upper left-hand corner.

We also welcome written stories and/or photos or files about your experiences in Wirth or perspectives on access to green space and ecological justice You could even sing a song or write a poem about your park experience! To submit written content or photos, or questions, please contact us at:

Stories of Connection Project Awarded State LCCMR Grant! (July 1, 2024)

Loppet’s Stories of Connection Project was one of twenty-two environmental education projects funded in 2024 by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). The funding runs through 2026 and will help Loppet and community partners tell these stories of connection to nature through art, media, signage, programming, and events throughout the community. Currently 40% of net Minnesota State Lottery proceeds are dedicated to growing the Trust Fund and ensuring future benefits for Minnesota’s environment and natural resources. A huge thank you to all the partners who supported this grant application, including Black Storyteller’s Alliance, NatureWerks, UMN Urban Research Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), UMN Institute on the Environment (IonE), Hall STEM Academy, and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB)!

Charles Caldwell as featured artist in The Gallery at The Trailhead. (June 9, 2024)

Longtime North Minneapolis artist Charles Caldwell shared his talents at the recent North Side Nature Storytelling event on March 3 in partnership with partnership with Black Storytellers Alliance and Melanin in Motion. Charles’ piece painted at the Storytelling event will be one of the featured pieces in The Gallery. The exhibit opening is free and open to the public. You can enjoy Charles’ art until mid-July. View more on Art at the Loppet here.

Charles Caldwell

With Black Storyteller’s Alliance, Loppet Hosts Northside Nature Event (March 3, 2024)

In partnership with Black Storytellers Alliance, Melanin in Motion, and live mural artist Charles Caldwell, The Loppet Foundation hosted an afternoon of storytelling at the Trailhead community gathering center in Theodore Wirth Park. The event featured local food, both traditional and contemporary nature stories, a panel where local leaders shared stories of the park, and a workshop/open mic for participants to refine their personal stories. Catering to families, a breakout session empowered youth to tell their stories through art and games. View more here!

Stories Project Preview Featured in Loppet Cup Spectator Guide (February 17, 2024)

With the eyes of the national and international nordic ski community focused on Theodore Wirth Park, Loppet highlighted a summary of some of the stories collected so far. Click here for a small taste of what’s to come.

View Loppet Cup Spectator Guide Here – Stories Project article is on pg 37-42

Kris Nelson Community-Based Research (September 1, 2023)

We are excited to welcome Neama Elsayed to the stories team thanks to the Kris Nelson Community-Based Research Program through University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA). Neama is a social scientist and Ph.D. student in education and human development at UMN and previously worked as the Senior Programs Officer for the Economic Research Forum in Cairo, Egypt. Neama will be gathering stories through interviews and participatory story cultivation events. She will also help lead analysis and summarization of Northside stories, including key themes and illustrative details. The Kris Nelson program connects leaders with University resources to expand community research capacity and explore innovative ideas for closing racial and economic disparities around the region. View more on Kris’s community-based research program here.

Neama Elsayed

Stories Project Made Possible By: