Get ready for Lexington Water Week – March 18-25 with Our Resource Library!

Lexington Water Week is right around the corner and we have an entire Resource Library available for checkout so you can bring water education to your classroom or home! With over 90,000 miles of surface rivers and streams in Kentucky, there is so much to learn about our water systems, the importance of those systems in supplying our communities with a healthy water supply, and how to ensure those sources stay protected – that’s where our Resource Library comes in.

We house a free library of classroom materials, books, and other resources available for teachers and community members to check out. Resources may be checked out for a maximum of two weeks and can be picked up from/dropped off at our offices Monday-Friday 9am-4pm by appointment. Here are just a few of the items in our library that you can check out specifically for water education:

  • Preserved macroinvertebrate specimens, including a crayfish, dragonfly larvae, and leech! This kit also includes ID keys for macroinvertebrates.
  • Kit for a stream study, including flashcards for identification of salamanders, frogs and toads, macroinvertebrates, and turtles. The stream walk kit also includes 5 small nets, bug viewers, a turbidity tube, books and more.
  • Classroom set of mini stream table kits for experimenting with and observing erosion.
  • Book sets on Wetlands and Aquatic Systems
  • Incredible Journey (Learning activity that explores the movement of water through the natural water cycle.)
  • …and MORE!

Save the date for Lexington Water Week March 18-25 and make sure to contact for additional information or click here to reserve materials.


Saving Energy and Saving Money with Co-ops

The following article is sponsored content by Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives.

Whether it’s keeping more of the hot or cold air out, or keeping more of the comfortable temps in, one of the easiest ways to save money on your electric bill each month is by using less energy.

And Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives have energy efficiency programs that can help.

Major upgrades to your home aren’t necessary to improve your energy use, lower your energy bills and help the environment along the way. Small, often inexpensive energy-saving upgrades can lower your monthly energy usage.

There are also rebates available for doing a few money-saving “button ups” to your home, including sealing air leaks from your home and sealing your ductwork, if you meet certain criteria. It’s an inexpensive way to participate in an energy-saving program, while saving money on your energy bill.

Another program which offers a significant rebate is the heat pump retrofit. By installing an ENERGY STAR-rated 15 SEER 8.5 HSPF heat pump, and replacing older, inefficient heating sources, you could receive up to a $750 rebate. There are smaller rebates for heat pumps that meet minimum standards as well. Not only will the heat pump save you money over the long term, you’ll get a rebate just for installing it.

If you’re buying a new manufactured home, you can get up to a $750 rebate for installing the ENERGY STAR heat pump, or smaller rebates for other types of energy-efficient heating systems. Same goes for new home construction. Combine the efficiency of electric heating and cooling with high insulation standards when building a new home, and you have the basis for the Touchstone Energy Home. By meeting minimum Home Energy Rating System (HERS) standards, you’ll save money and lower your energy usage over the lifetime of owning that home.

The SimpleSaver program is another way that we are working to keep your electricity affordable. Your participating co-op will pay you up to $20 per year for each central air conditioner you enroll into the program for as long as you remain in the program.

The program helps you limit your electric use at peak times during the summer and winter. Managing peak load also decreases Kentucky’s carbon footprint and gives all of us more time to explore affordable sources of renewable energy. Plus, that smart thermostat may earn you a $100 rebate. Learn more at

You can find many energy-saving tips on


Staff Spotlight: Staff Members Recognized for Their Achievements

Rachel Patton, Environmental Educator

2022 M.K. Dickerson Outstanding Educator Award

Since beginning at BGGS, Rachel has developed a robust preschool education program. First through the development of the Junior Nature Program (JNE) and then expanded with the development of the Junior Energy Explorers Program (JEE). This past year, across Central Kentucky Rachel led education in 41 preschool classrooms for JNE and worked with 27 preschool classrooms and led six energy labs for caregivers and preschool students for JEE. This honor is well deserved and we are so proud to have her as a part of our team!

Chris Howard, Watershed Coordinator

Appointed Member of the Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Authority

Since joining the BGGS team last November as our Watershed Coordinator, Chris has worked diligently to further water quality education and improvement within our service region. He has hosted public workshops and implemented private and public projects such as riparian buffer plantings, septic system repairs, and rain garden plantings. In addition to these programs, Chris has worked to host field days for community education and continued to build partnerships for future water quality improvement projects. As representative for Environmental Groups At Large on the commission, his role is to represent the interest of environmental organizations in the Bluegrass. We’re so proud of Chris and all he has accomplished and look forward to seeing him grow our water quality programming even further!
UPDATE: Chris was also recently commissioned a Kentucky Colonel! More on that later…


Education Spotlight: “Wonders of Wind” Teacher Workshop

We continue to be “blown away” by the amazing classroom teachers out there! This month, 18 teachers from many schools in our service region joined us for a STEM-based preschool curriculum training focused on wind energy. We had a blast investigating the power of wind in a wind tunnel, wind-dispersed seeds, ways to measure the wind, and more! Teachers reflected on ways to incorporate scientific thinking and these types of investigations. With their new training, they will be taking what they’ve learned back to their own classrooms to share with their students.


$500 for homeowners in Fayette County for planting projects!

Did you know that we have mini-grants available for Fayette County residents up to $500 for planting a rain garden or riparian buffer at your home?


Homeowners in Fayette County with a backyard stream will be encouraged to participate in the riparian buffer program, while those that are interested in water quality but do not live on a stream, will be encouraged to participate in the rain garden program.


Riparian buffers, vegetated zones between streams and upland areas, are essential for reducing stream bank erosion, trapping sediment, filtering pollutants from stormwater runoff, creating wildlife habitat, and providing canopy for shading of streams. Underdeveloped or absent riparian buffer zones can negatively impact water quality and escalate local flooding issues.


A rain garden is a depressed area in the landscape that collects rain water from a roof, driveway or street and allows it to soak into the ground. Planted with grasses and flowering perennials, rain gardens can be a cost effective and beautiful way to reduce runoff from your property.

For more information, please reach out to our watershed coordinator, Chris Howard, at

riparian buffer
rain garden

Top image: example of a riparian buffer next to a stream
Bottom image: example of a rain garden featuring a variety of native plants


Offset your carbon footprint with envirowatts!

The following article is sponsored content by Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives.

EW Signature 2C blend

Renewable energy is available even if you don’t have your own renewable energy source like solar panels. Fifteen of Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives offer their owner-members the opportunity to support solar, wind, biomass, and hydro electric energy sources by simply participating in the envirowatts program.

The envirowatts program allows owner-members to buy renewable energy in $2.75 portions with no maximum. The program also allows you to choose which energy source you want to support, or you can buy portions of each. It’s up to you.

By using envirowatts, you can offset your carbon footprint by thousands of pounds each month. For example, just one $2.75 portion of wind-created energy purchased through envirowatts offsets nearly 5,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. That’s the equivalent of removing emissions from 253 gallons of gasoline or the greenhouse gas emissions from 5,595 miles per year driven by an average passenger vehicle.

Signing up for envirowatts is simple. Just go to and sign up. While you’re there, you can learn more about what Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives are doing to offer owner-members sustainable, affordable energy, and what options they have for going green. You can learn more about renewable energy resources, where the power comes from and how it’s made.

By using the envirowatts program, you can offset your carbon footprint affordably each month. It’s quick and simple way to give back to the environment.

Learn more about Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperative’s envirowatts program »


Cooperative Solar co-op members reap the benefits of sustainable, green energy

The following article is sponsored content by Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives COOPERATIVE SOLAR program.

Electric cooperatives can help their members get the benefits of solar energy, and they don’t have to put solar panels on their own roof or property.

“Cooperative Solar is a convenient way for people, businesses and organizations to access renewable power from the sun,” said Nick Comer, External Affairs Manager for Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. “Electric cooperative members who license solar panels receive the value of the energy produced by those panels on their monthly power bill, along with the assurance of clean, renewable energy.”

Cooperative Solar is offered by the 17 electric co-ops of Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. The solar panels are located at a 60-acre solar farm in Central Kentucky owned by the co-ops. The co-ops maintain the panels, while participating members get the benefits.

“Electric cooperative members who license solar panels receive the value of the energy produced by those panels on their monthly power bill, along with the assurance of clean, renewable energy.”

Cooperative Solar provides a convenient option for those who cannot put solar panels on their own roof or property, or don’t want the hassle of maintaining their own solar installation. For businesses, Cooperative Solar is a great option for reducing their carbon footprint and meeting sustainability goals.

Participating members can purchase a 25-year license for $460 per solar panel. They may license enough panels to offset their annual energy usage.

Cooperative Solar licenses are transferrable, so if you move to a new residence served by a participating electric co-op, you can take the license with you. Or you can transfer the license to another co-op member.

For more information or to license solar panels, go to


Bringing Community Together In the Garden

Everyone’s idea of what a community garden looks like probably differs slightly. That is because there are lots of different models of community gardens. One thing that is always similar is that the success of the garden relies upon what the community makes of it.

This year Bluegrass Greensource staff have made the community garden a success! With the pandemic, we’ve had fewer students and community volunteers involved in the garden and needed other helping hands to make the garden grow. Whether it was preparing the soil, planting, weeding, or watering, the garden has been a collaborative effort of the staff through the entire growing season.

We’ve harvested our spring bounty of lettuce, sweet peas, and radishes, and have made room for more summer crops, like green beans and summer squash. Our bumper crop for summer has been cucumbers and fresh herbs, like basil and dill. In our featured garden photos, our AmeriCorps Member, Sophia, is showcasing how tall our sunflowers are growing, and our Educator, Rachel, is showcasing all her hard work paying off in our watermelon patch.

Working as a community step by step has been a delightful experience, and I am eager to bring more abundance into our community and garden as the season progresses.

Recipe to Share: Cucumber Dill Salad

2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
½ cup white vinegar
¼ cup chopped dill
2 T sugar
1 t salt
½ t pepper

Slice cucumbers and combine all other ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before serving.


What is Green Infrastructure and Why is It Important?

By: The Water Quality Action Team

Established by Congress in 1972, the Clean Water Act (CWA) is the cornerstone of surface water quality protection in the United States. The CWA made it unlawful to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters, unless authorized by a permit. Point sources are conveyances such as pipes or man-made ditches that discharge into surface waters. The CWA is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency. Pollutants include soil particles, fertilizers, pesticides, grease, and oil from cars, trucks, and road salts.

Natural systems such as wetlands do a great job of filtering pollutants from water by several methods: As water from a stream channel or surface runoff enters a wetland, the water spreads out and flows through dense vegetation. The velocity of the flow is reduced, allowing suspended material in the water to settle to the wetland surface. The roots of wetland plants can then bind the accumulated sediments, nutrients, and chemicals. Over time, chemicals are broken down and clean water is discharged into surface waters or recharge ground water.
Green Infrastructure is an attempt to mimic natural systems such as wetlands to reduce stormwater runoff and improve water quality. The EPA defines Green Infrastructure as “…the range of measures that use plant or soil systems, permeable pavement or other permeable surfaces or substrates, stormwater harvest and reuse, or landscaping to store, infiltrate, or evapotranspirate stormwater and reduce flows to sewer systems or to surface waters.”

Green Infrastructure is a cost-effective, resilient approach to managing wet weather impacts that provides many community benefits. While single-purpose gray stormwater infrastructure—conventional piped drainage and water treatment systems—is designed to move urban stormwater away from the built environment, green infrastructure reduces and treats stormwater at its source while delivering environmental, social, and economic benefits. Green Infrastructure comes in many forms such as rain gardens, green roofs, vegetated swales, stormwater wetlands, and bioinfiltration basins. Some systems are simple such as a rain garden and others are complex, such as a bioinfiltration basin which has multiple layers of planting media, gravel, and plants to filter stormwater, infiltrate it into the ground, and uses plants to transpire water into the atmosphere. If well thought out, constructed, and maintained, Green Infrastructure can be aesthetically pleasing while providing wildlife habitat and keeping our surface waters clean.

Example of a bioinfiltration basin near University of Cincinnati campus’s Kingsgate Conference Center

Top Ten Ways to Get Local Food

By: The Sustainable Agriculture & Local Food Action Team

The food you eat every day is one very important way that you are deeply connected to the land, water and air that sustain life on earth. Though you likely eat food everyday, you may not know anyone who grows food, since only 1.3% of the US population is now employed in on-farm work. You can help keep small, family farms in business by spending your dollars on locally grown foods.

Check out our top ten list of places where you can buy and eat locally produced food:
Farm to Fork Restaurants & other Restaurants who buy from local farms – click here for a list of restaurants near you
You-Pick Farms – Sometimes you can get the experience of picking your own berries or other produce; click here for a list of farms in Central Kentucky
Co-Ops – In Lexington, Good Foods Co-op carries lots of local farm products from central Kentucky Good Foods Co-op: Home
4 Other Grocery Stores – While most grocery stores get their products primarily from global supply chains, some may have a few locally or regionally sourced foods. Ask your store’s management what’s local. 
Produce auctions – Purchase in bulk for freezing and canning. KY Produce Auction Price Reports | Center for Crop Diversification
Road-side Stands & Amish stands – click here to find a roadside market near you
Farmers’ Markets – seasonal and year round, with 160 farmers markets in Kentucky, there’s probably one near you. Check the listing here: Kentucky Proud
Mobile Farm Market Trucks – Look for one making stops in a neighborhood near you
Home-based processors & cottage industries – From sweet treats to specialty health foods, home bakers and food entrepreneurs may be taking orders via a website or fb page. 
10 CSA – or Community Supported Agriculture is a kind of farm product subscription service. Usually, CSA members purchase a subscription, or share, at the beginning of the season, and then receive a selection of farm products weekly throughout the season. CSA options can be for fruits and vegetables or meat and eggs or baked goods or some combination. Some CSAs may offer sliding scale pricing or can be purchased with SNAP benefits.
BONUS – Grow your own – Another great way to get fresh, locally grown food is to grow a little bit yourself. You can start small with a few potted plants.

For more specific suggestions in the 20 county area of Bluegrass Greensource, click this link for county by county suggestions. Please let us know if you have a favorite source of local food you’d like to add. 

* in the time of COVID19, open hours, locations and procedures have changed for many local businesses. For best results, call ahead before visiting a business to confirm open hours and any special instructions about pre-ordering or contactless purchasing.*