Stories of Connection Project

Loppet Foundation and project partner NatureWerks reached out to community partners to ask how we could bridge divides between people and parks. The Stories of Connection project grew out of these conversations. It seeks 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 historically underrepresented user groups such as residents of BIPOC and lower income neighborhoods bordering the park. This multi-year project will tell these stories through art, media, signage, programming, and events throughout the community with the goal of increasing park usership as more people see their own stories reflected in the identity of Theodore Wirth Park.

Project Timeline:

  • Phase 1 (Spring 2023 – Summer 2024)
    • Gather stories through interviews, story cultivation workshops, and online platforms.
    • Analyze common themes and illustrative details creating a pool of material to inform Phase 2.
    • Archive stories to inspire future generations.
  • Phase 2 (Fall 2024 – Fall 2026)
    • Contract local artisans to tell stories through art, media, and signage throughout the community.
    • Develop four seasons story-based curriculum, programs, and events for youth and families.
    • Grow an environmental pathways program to mentor next generation of young adult leaders.

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:

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.

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.

Stories Project Made Possible By: