Over the past three years, dozens of local governments, nonprofit organizations, and schools in Central Kentucky have implemented environmental education and improvement projects with the help of Bluegrass Greensource’s mini-grant program. Through a partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission, Greensource was able to offer this grant program to seven counties in its service region – Clark, Estill, Garrard, Lincoln, Madison, Montgomery, and Powell. Since 2010, the mini-grant program has provided over $330,000 in funding for 61 projects, ranging from outdoor classrooms to cleanups to innovative demonstration projects. Unfortunately, funding for the grant program ended in August 2013, but Greensource has been able to fund some exciting projects in the past few years!
Madison County Conservation District constructed a fallen livestock composting pad at EKU’s Meadowbrook Farm. The composting facility is available for tours by student and professional groups, and its purpose is to provide farmers with an innovative, economical, and sustainable option for addressing the problem of fallen animal disposal.
Lower Howard’s Creek Nature and Heritage Preserve in Clark County cleared invasive plant species on a five acre section of the property and purchased signage in preparation for the opening of its first public nature trail. The 2.8 mile out-and-back John Holder Trail was dedicated in the spring of 2012.
Garrard County Fiscal Court developed a walking trail along Lancaster City Lake, and recently planted 900 native redbud and dogwood trees along the path.
Estill County Cooperative Extension District held a home composting workshop for 46 community members. Participants learned how to compost their kitchen and yard waste, and each household in attendance took home a free countertop compost bin.
EKU installed a 1.6 kWh expandable solar panel system on the roof of the New Science Building, along with a real-time energy production logging and display system that will allow students to monitor the system’s energy output.
Lincoln County 4H worked with Crab Orchard Elementary students to establish a garden behind the school. The garden club planted strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, beans, potatoes, corn, squash, and kiwi. The dedicated students met weekly over the summer to care for their plants and harvest their crops.
Some additional outcomes of the mini-grant program include:
- Development of 12 outdoor classrooms, school gardens, rain gardens, and educational wetlands
- Development of 1 city park on a former brownfield
- Energy efficiency upgrades in 15 public buildings, including schools and a local recycling center
- Installation of solar panels on 1 rural animal shelter
- Execution of 5 environmental education workshops for educators
- Cleanup and restoration of 1 illegal dumpsite
- Installation of recycling infrastructure at 7 marinas on Herrington Lake
- Purchase of materials for 1 local farmer’s market
- Installation of 5 water bottle refilling stations at Eastern Kentucky University
Bluegrass Greensource is proud to have been able to support these projects and many others. These projects are wonderful examples of the efforts that communities in central Kentucky have made to reduce their environmental impact in recent years!
Grant funding through this program is currently unavailable. For more information on past mini-grant projects, please contact Sandy@bgGreensource.org.