New Green Check Members Announced

By: Noel Osborn

The City of Lexington’s Green Check program has accepted 13 new members to certify this year. Bluegrass Greensource will be working with the following businesses and organizations to guide them through the certification process over the next several months. New members include:

  • Black Soil: Our Better Nature
  • CivicLex
  • Doodles Breakfast & Lunch
  • Hera BioLabs
  • John’s Run/Walk Shop
  • Kentucky American Water
  • Lockbox
  • Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center
  • Pivot Brewing
  • Republic Services
  • Sayre School
  • Wellward Regenerative Medicine
  • Wild Birds Unlimited

In addition to these businesses, eight certified businesses from 2018 will be up for recertification this year. To learn more about the participating businesses and the Green Check program, please visit


Contribute to the Energy Efficiency & Climate Change Action Team!

By: Chris Porter

The recent winter weather blanketing Central Kentucky has been beautiful to look at. However, for families that struggle financially, this weather brings with it new worries – higher utility bills. The economic hardships brought by the pandemic means millions more Americans now face difficult choices between feeling comfortable and safe in their homes or coming out of the pandemic with extremely high utility bills (once service shut off moratoriums have been lifted). 

How bad is the situation? Recently, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) released an article advocating for greater utility relief in any new stimulus package. The same piece estimates that, nationally, utilities are facing $30 billion in overdue bills from consumers. The same piece also acknowledges that the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (or LIHEAP), which provides vital relief for low-income consumers who struggle to pay their winter heating bills, was not meeting the existing need before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Locally, the Energy Efficiency & Climate Change Action Team, a volunteer-run group that formed during 2020’s Bluegrass Sustainability Summit, has been seeking to reinforce the existing web of services underpinning Central Kentucky’s renewable and energy efficiency landscape. In addition to creating a guide to existing efficiency resources, the Energy Action Team has also been trying to raise $2,500 for the purchase of energy efficiency kits that the Team will distribute directly to low-income residents in Lexington. 

In November, the Team received news that the Bluegrass Chapter of the Sierra Club was offering a generous one-to-one match for this effort, up to $1,250. This means, the Team needs to only raise $1,250 to be able to purchase the much-needed kits. The great news is that the Team is already more than halfway there, having already raised $700 during the end-of-year giving campaign! This leaves the Team needing only $550 to unlock the match and purchase the kits. That’s just 11 gifts of $50 or 22 gifts of $25. 

Will you support the work of the Energy and Climate Action Team by making a gift? All proceeds raised for this effort will directly support the Team’s project to purchase and distribute the energy efficiency kits to low-income Lexingtonians, and will not support Bluegrass Greensource’s other programming.

If you want to help, please click this link to make your donation. If you want to get directly involved with this effort, please contact Giulia L. Parli at New members are always welcomed and can join the Team’s monthly (virtual) meetings!

There’s never been a clearer need for communities to come together than during the current moment. The Energy and Climate Action Team thanks you for considering their request and for supporting your community!


Saving Our Streambanks Virtual Workshop Series

By: Lindsie Nicholas

Join us for this FREE virtual workshop series to learn the information, tools, and resources needed to establish streamside buffers and stabilize streambanks on your property and in your communities. The speaker lineup includes Robert Hoffman with Roundstone Native Seed, Chuck Davis and Derek Scott with Beaver Creek Hydrology,  Alicia Bosela with Ironweed Nursery, Laura Greenfield with Oakland Farm Trees, our own Lindsie Nicholas, as well as, regional representatives from NRCS, Soil and Water Conservation District, and UK Cooperative Extension Service.  We will cover water quality and streamside buffer basics; establishing native meadows in riparian areas; design, permitting, and construction related to stream restoration and streambank stabilization; streamside plant selection in Central Kentucky; and agricultural conservation program opportunities and resources. 

Tuesdays and Thursdays,
March 9th-25th, 2021 | 3-4 PM
Virtually via ZOOM

More Information and Registration:

Workshops are open to the public. Mini cost-share grant applications will be available for riparian buffer establishment in the Clarks Run, Hanging Fork, and Hinkston Creek watersheds. Grants are reimbursable up to $2,000!


Exploring Energy in Preschool

In October of 2020, BGGS began piloting a new, OEP sponsored, Preschool Energy Curriculum. Educators at five local preschools have implemented lessons and activities on solar, wind, and water energy as well as simple machines and how animals use energy to do work. Our youngest learners have taken on this new content with incredible enthusiasm and it is a delight to see their minds at work! Three more units will be piloted over the next few months: energy from plants, electricity, and conservation. 

See What the Education Staff is Up to This Semester

This spring, our environmental educators continue to adapt to current educational needs. We are eager to meet with teachers and students virtually! Read on to learn about our programs and how we can work with you.

  • LFUCG Environmental Education: Our virtual program offers K – 12 classrooms in Fayette County the opportunity to take a “field trip” and learn about Waste Management or Water Quality within our city. Contact Pattie: to schedule lessons and a field trip with us!
  • Junior Nature Explorers: Preschool classrooms in our service region can join us to discover some of the unique animals, plants, and ecosystems around us! Our next teacher workshop is February 6, 2021 via Zoom. Contact Rachel: to learn more!
  • Division of Water: Bluegrass Greensource will continue to be a resource in classrooms in  Clark Runs, Hanging Fork, and Hinkston Creek watersheds. We will engage students virtually through online videos, google classroom activities, and zoom. Objectives include educating students about septic systems, riparian zones, and watersheds, and how to improve water quality in Central Kentucky. For classrooms in Bourbon, Montgomery, and Nicholas Counties, contact Kara: For classrooms in Lincoln, Boyle, and Garrard Counties, contact Lindsie:
  • Toyota Energy Education: Students in Central Kentucky learn about renewable and nonrenewable energy resources in this unit of energy education. Contact Elaine at
  • Preschool Energy Curriculum: Alongside experienced preschool teachers, Bluegrass Greensource has developed an energy curriculum for preschoolers which is currently being piloted in classrooms. For more information, contact Elaine at
  • Junior Green Living Labs: Preschools students and their guardians will discover and explore all things energy during these labs. Please contact if you are interested in learning more about this opportunity.
  • Dupree Nature Preserve: Take a virtual hike through The Nature Conservancy’s preserves located along the Kentucky River. Learn about settlement in the area, common Kentucky animals and plants. Contact Pattie:
  • Stormwater Education: This unit on stormwater, runoff, and water quality is available to 4th and 5th grade students in Scott County. The unit will culminate with a Service Learning Event determined by student interest. For more information contact Pattie:
  • Litter Program in Scott County: Let’s Learn About Litter with Ms. Deb! Ms. Deb is reading books about litter in this collection of videos. This video series is for primary students. Contact Pattie: to schedule.

BGGS’s Executive Director Becomes a Kentucky Colonel

Did you see this on our social media? Our amazing Executive Director, Amy Sohner, recently received the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s highest honor. Kentucky Colonels are bestowed upon those that demonstrate noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to our community, state, and nation.

Amy has served Central Kentucky through her work with Bluegrass Greensource for the past 20 years. She has also had a great impact on the community in her work with Keep Lexington Beautiful, Women Leading Kentucky, Bluegrass Tomorrow, and other organizations.

Join us in congratulating Colonel Sohner for her accomplishments!


Raptors in the Virtual Classroom

In December, the Junior Nature Explorers students got to interact with some of Kentucky’s raptors! Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky presenters introduced owls, hawks, and falcons to each classroom on Zoom, giving students an up-close look at the unique characteristics of these birds. Students furthered their understanding of camouflage, predators and prey, and adaptations as they observed the birds’ coloration, talons, beaks, feathers, calls, and more!


Green Check Welcomes New Members

The City of Lexington’s Green Check program recently honored three new certified members. Honorees included: VisitLEX (Silver), Mediocre Creative (Silver), and Bluegrass United Church of Christ (Bronze). The program recognizes businesses for their green initiatives and helps them expand their sustainability efforts. Becoming a Green Check Member business begins with a personal consultation and completion of the Green Check Sustainability Scorecard. The Sustainability Scorecard caters to organizations across a variety of sectors, including restaurants, non-profit organizations, retail, and manufacturers. 

Based on their baseline sustainability score, the business or organization is awarded Gold, Silver, Bronze, or Member designation. Although the certification is valid for three years, member organizations are encouraged to pursue higher tiers through continued participation and achievement. 

These three businesses all demonstrate a commitment to increased sustainability within their facilities and operations. Examples initiatives from the businesses include installation of rain gardens, upgrades to energy efficient lighting, office compost programs and promotion of alternative transportation. Beyond these high-impact features, there are lots of actions individual team members can take to improve sustainability in the workplace. 

After three years, businesses who wish to renew their certification go through the recertification process. The 2017 Green Check businesses were up for recertification this year. All of the businesses that were able to participate moved up in membership level. They are as follows: Klausing Group (Gold), Broomwagon Bikes & Coffee (Silver), and Wrap Me Day Spa (Bronze).  

Green Check is a program of the City of Lexington, managed by Bluegrass Greensource. For more information, including how to become Green Check Certified, please visit


Watershed Engagement in the Bluegrass

Bluegrass Greensource held the second successful Hinkston Creek and Dix River Watershed Group Stakeholder Meetings virtually this November. In these days of virtual everything, it was wonderful to have a group of 20+ individuals at each meeting engaging in ways to make our waterways cleaner. Our stakeholder groups meet once or twice a year to update participants and citizens on happenings in the watersheds. Meetings are an opportunity to work through new ideas to improve water quality and raise awareness across the watersheds and surrounding areas. In the coming years, these stakeholder groups will have an opportunity to develop and implement mini watershed projects utilizing Water Quality Mini Grants as seed money through Bluegrass Greensource. This is funded in part by a grant from the US EPA under 319 of the Clean Water Act.  People interested in participating in these groups or learning more can email our Watershed Coordinator, Lindsie Nicholas, anytime at

Our watershed group pages are linked below with upcoming meeting registration, past meeting minutes, presentations and more:
Dix River Watershed Group
Hinkston Creek Watershed Group


I’m Dreaming of a “Green” Christmas: Tips for a Sustainable Holiday Season

Are you committed to making the holidays more environmentally friendly? Here are some ideas to help you start:

  1. Decorate your house with LED lights and you can use almost 90% less energy. It saves you money on your electric bill and helps the environment. Don’t overdo it! It’s the light that shines in our hearts that matters more than the quantity of outdoor decorations!
  2. Use a real tree.  Plastic trees last longer but are made of PVC, which is harmful to the environment.
  3. Recycle your Christmas tree. Just put it out on the curb on your regular trash collection date.  Trees will be picked up Jan. 4 – 29.
  4. Recycle your old electronics. A lot of people get new phones or electronic devices for Christmas. Drop your used electronics at Lexington’s Electronic Recycling Center and prevent hazardous elements like mercury, cadmium, and lead from ending up in landfills.
  5. Get creative! Make your own wrapping paper and cards by recycling the old holiday cards you’ve been saving for years and reusing old comic books, children’s artwork, scarves, towels, or even clothing to wrap your gifts. We’ve shared some photos of our educator, Rachel Patton’s, favorite sustainable gift wraps below.
  6. Better yet, if you are able, send e-cards to friends and family members and save on postage, envelopes, and cards that may eventually be discarded.
  7. Make your own gifts: bake a batch of cookies or other treats  for your loved ones and share the recipes.
  8. Give gifts of membership or experiences: a gym membership, music lessons, theater tickets, spa services, and more.
  9. Support local farms by purchasing local organic produce and meat for your holiday meals.
  10. Get in the holiday spirit and give the gifts that keep on giving back. Support local organizations by purchasing gifts from businesses that donate a part of their income back to the community. Or volunteer your time to help others and make their holidays a little brighter.

Do you still have gifts to purchase?  How does online shopping stack up? Check out Your Guide to Earth Friendly Holiday Shopping to find out!