Dunbar students

‘Tis the Season to Give

Remember when a toy required no batteries and did not include a screen? Albert Einstein said “Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.”  This holiday season, you could give that gift to classrooms of children right here in Central Kentucky through a donation to Bluegrass Greensource.

Our educators work tirelessly throughout the school year in over 230 schools to teach children in our community about the natural world- something most of us today see less and less of.  Our environmental activities include litter cleanups, watershed education using enviroscapes, organizing school green teams, helping students start vermicomposting/worm bins, and introducing students to Kentucky’s flora and fauna at outdoor events to name just a few.  With your gift, we can introduce many more young people to the natural world.  A world where the gadgets and screens can have a rest and the mind can be free to explore.

A donation to Bluegrass Greensource will not only spread the gift of environmental education, but it can help you with that person who has everything already.  In that past, I have personally donated in the name of family. This was the perfect gift for them. There was no plastic and paper packaging to dispose of, no disappointment with another boring sweater, and we both had the pleasure of knowing the young people we might see at the grocery actually benefited from our gift.  One contribution’s impact could multiply across generations.  What other gift has this potential?

To make your gift of education this year, please go to: https://bggreensource.org/support/.  

If you are a teacher who would like one of our educators to visit your classroom, please call us at 266-1572.  We also offer many environmental education materials for check-out at no cost.

‘Tis the season to give a gift that can change a life.



Facebook cover

Green Christmas Ideas

Commit 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 to be composted or turned into mulch or wood chips.
  4. Recycle your old electronics. A lot of people get new phones or electronic devices for Christmas. Drop your used phone off at Bluegrass Greensource’s office 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 unused clothing to wrap your gifts.
  6. Better yet, if you have a choice, send e-cards to friends and family members and save on postage, envelopes, and actual cards. And it’s green!
  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.



Get Outside pictures

It’s Time to Think About Your New Year’s Resolutions

In keeping with our holiday tradition, Bluegrass Greensource asks that you make a New Year’s Resolution to Get Outside! Let us know how you will be spending more time outside in 2014 and you will be entered to win a $100 Kentucky State Park gift certificate!!  The deadline is January 15th, so Register Now



Mayor Gray Green Infrastructure mtg photoGreen Infrastructure Conference Wrap Up

Through several special educational sessions and field outings in connection with board meetings, WWKY and representatives of NRDC met with officials from Northern Kentucky, Louisville MSD, Lexington LFUCG, Bowling Green, and Owensboro.  As a result of those discussions, WWKY contracted

to draft and produce the Kentucky Green Infrastructure Action Plan for Stormwater and Wet Weather Sewage Management (“GI Report”).  The Report received final approval from WWKY in February 2013.

Following the submittal of that report, WWKY, River Network, and NRDC, among others, organized an Advancing Green Infrastructure Conference in Louisville.  A Louisville Supplement to the GI Report was discussed, but it was decided by WWKY to forego the drafting of a Louisville Supplement at that time. In the meantime, WWKY applied for and received a grant from VEE to host a Green Infrastructure Conference in Lexington with River Network and to draft and produce a Lexington Supplement to the GI Report.

The Advancing Green Infrastructure in Lexington Conference took place at Locust Trace AgriScience Farm in Lexington, Kentucky on October 10, 2013.  The Conference began with a keynote from Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who discussed Lexington’s commitment to green infrastructure and the progress made.  Hank Graddy then led the discussion on conference structure and outcomes, and Dr. Lindell Ormsby closed out the introduction with a brief overview of green infrastructure.   

The first plenary featured Susan Plueger, P.E., from the LFUCG Division of Water Quality.  Ms. Plueger discussed the history of stormwater management in Fayette County, explained how the GI program in Lexington currently functions, and gave several examples of GI projects in Fayette County.  The second plenary presented the “State of the State” of GI in Kentucky. The panel featured Scott Southall, who presented his firm’s GI project in Frankfort, John Carman, who presented his firm’s GI project on East Market Street in Louisville, and John Webb, who presented o the Kentucky Division of Water’s 319 grant program and the various GI projects that program has funded across Kentucky.

The Conference also held two rounds of breakout sessions. The first session consisted of five breakout groups. The first breakout group featured Dr. Ormsby who went in depth on GI basics. The second breakout group featured Sandy Carmargo and Eric Larsen, and focused on business and institutional GI projects in Lexington. The third breakout group featured Chris Dent of the LFUCG and Kara Sayles of Bluegrass Greensource who discussed residential GI in Lexington. The fourth breakout group featured Susan Plueger, and Jim Duncan and Jimmy Emmons, both from LFUCG Division of Planning, who presented on GI in planning and zoning regulation and enforcement. The fifth breakout group was a tour of the Locust Trace facility focusing on the various GI elements of the property.

The second breakout session featured three breakout groups. The first group featured Hank Graddy and Hal Sprague, and focused on what Lexington can achieve with GI in the future. The second group featured Scott Southall and Robert Hewitt, who discussed the renovation of the Franklin County Courthouse and the use of 319 funds to utilize GI elements in and around the renovated courthouse. Brandi Berryman focused on the daylighting of Town Branch in downtown Lexington. The third group was a repeat tour of the Locust Trace property.

The third plenary session featured Hal Sprague of the Center for Neighborhood Technology headquartered in Chicago.  Mr. Sprague presented on his organization’s work regarding the green infrastructure portfolio standard.

The other featured keynote, Christine McKay, a representative of the U.S. EPA, was scheduled to present on EPA support for GI in Kentucky.  Unfortunately, she was unable to attend due to the federal government shutdown.

The Conference ended with the fourth plenary, a panel discussion of Lexington’s goals for GI in the future. Several people commented on the NRDC’s green emerald city ratings, and how Lexington should aspire to be a green emerald city. Hank Graddy and Hal Sprague discussed what it would mean to implement a GI portfolio standard in Lexington and to obtain no net loss in permeability. Also discussed was the stormwater runoff retention exception for rehabilitated property in Lexington. In conclusion, most agreed that Lexington has made a promising start implementing GI. If Lexington continues its course by using innovative ideas such as a GI standard portfolio, or aspires to achieve a full green emerald rating, Lexington will become a leading city in the country for GI and stormwater management.

Summary provided by:  Hank Graddy




Septic Workshop photo

Garrard County Joined Us For a Septic Workshop

Homeowners attended a free workshop about septic system care and maintenance, hosted by Bluegrass Greensource in partnership with the Garrard County Health Department on November 5th.  The workshop, held at Maywoods Environmental and Educational Laboratory, gave local residents an opportunity to learn about how the septic systems in their homes work, how to take care of them, how to tell if they’re not working properly, and what to do if a problem is suspected.  Additionally, Malissa McAlister of the Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute discussed the history of water quality sampling in the Dix River watershed and the impact failing septic systems have on human health and on the environment.  Following the workshop, participants were able to apply for financial assistance, including free pumpouts and cost-share grants for system repairs or installations.

The workshop was the first in a series of similar workshops to be held as part of a grant program funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act through the Kentucky Division of Water.  Bluegrass Greensource will offer a total of nine homeowner workshops over the next three years, as well as a series of watershed festival events in local communities and water-related activities in area Kindergarten – 12th grade classrooms.

The next free septic system workshop offered through this program is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, January 14th from 6:00 to 7:00 PM at McKinney Elementary in Lincoln County.  Only residents of the Dix River watershed in Boyle, Garrard, and Lincoln Counties who attend the workshop are eligible to apply for the financial assistance programs.  Please contact Sandy Bottoms at sandy@bggreensource.org or (859) 266-1572 for more information.


Green Construction HatGreen Jobs for a Green Future

Bluegrass Greensource is starting a new program to promote green jobs to low-income high school students in the Bluegrass region!  

Green jobs are growing faster than the national average for jobs in non-green sectors, and this growth is expected to accelerate in the coming years.  The goal of this new program is to improve the preparation of low-income students for higher paying jobs by building the capacity of high school guidance counselors and teachers to better inform their students about jobs in the green economy. 

Bluegrass Greensource hopes to achieve this goal by building a green jobs database to be used by students and school staff, taking interested counselors/faculty on a tour of regional green businesses, and working with counselors/faculty to organize green career fairs. With the the new Green Jobs Program we hope to coordinate with green businesses to educate high schoolers about high quality green jobs. By doing so, we can improve our environment and, at the same time, provide quality employment opportunities.

But what is a green job?  A “green job” refers to any position in agriculture, manufacturing, construction, installation, and maintenance, as well as scientific, technical, administrative, and/or service-related activities that contribute substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality (International Labor Organization).  Why should we be encouraging young people to pursue a green career?  Well, for one thing, green jobs pay up to 20 percent more than other jobs! And green jobs are not just for scientists; they are for everyone! Becoming trained in a green-collar vocation provides advantages over those who are already in the workforce.

Green jobs are often found closer to home than you might think, and these jobs help protect and improve our environment!

Green jobs are the future, and we want young people in the Bluegrass region to be prepared for the rapidly growing, “green” future!  For more information about this program, or if your business would like to be included on our database, please contact Ashley Bryant Cheney at vista@bggreensource.org.


Clean Up photoSign Up for Great American Clean Up Event

Teachers, are you looking for a fun activity that get your students outside after it warms up? Our Bluegrass Greensource educators will be looking for classrooms to participate in Live Green Lexington’s Great American Clean up Event. This activity send students out across your school campus with gloves, bags and litter pick up tools to clean up any litter that been lying under the snow! For more information or to sign your class up, contact Pattie Stivender at pattie@bgGreensource.org.  



Season's Greenings picture crop

Our staff would like to wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season!  Thank you for your support in 2013 and we look forward to working with you in the new year!




If  you have any questions or comments about this issue, please contact us at info@bggreensource.org.

Amy Sohner
Executive Director
Bluegrass Greensource