Tired of Tenants Leaving Furniture on the Street after Move-Out?

abandoned furniture

Unwanted furniture and home items often find their way to the curb when apartment tenants move out. Unless otherwise collected, these materials create an eyesore and typically end up in landfills.  The Greater Lexington Apartment Association’s Green Committee has partnered again this year with Bluegrass Greensource, LFUCG, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Hippo Crate, and God’s Pantry to develop Move-Out-Madness.  The goal is to collect gently-used items left behind by tenants and make it possible for them to find new homes.

How does Move-Out-Madness work?  Hippo Crate has donated storage crates to be placed at two Lexington apartment communities – Newtown Crossing and Campus Court at Red Mile.  The crates will be placed at each property for one week during their busiest move-out times this summer, allowing tenants to place their unwanted furniture and items inside.  Habitat for Humanity ReStore will pick up the furniture and home items from the crates while God’s Pantry will collect non-perishable food items.  Tenants will be encouraged to take unwanted clothing items to Goodwill, the Hope Center, or Salvation Army.

How can I get involved?  Deliver gently-used, unwanted items to the Hippo Crate at Campus Court at Red Mile from July 16 to July 23, or to Newtown Crossing from July 26 to August 2.  Please contact Lisa Conley with questions or to get your property involved: lisa@bggreensource.org  or 266-1572, ext. 237.


Staying active outdoors this winter is challenging but worth the effort

Winter has always posed a challenge to staying active outdoors, and this winter is particularly so with all the snow, ice and frigid temperatures we’ve had. But meeting that challenge head on is well worth the effort.

Research has shown that the more often we find ourselves outdoors and enjoying nature, the happier we tend to be. A 2013 article from the New York Times Health and Wellness blog discussed how exposure to plants is not only a stress reliever, but also seems to raise levels of white blood cells.


(Photo from

(Photo from Dreamstime.com)

Other research, including sources such as the Harvard Health Letter, has shown that being outdoors raises vitamin D levels, which lift one’s mood and fights cancer, depression and heart disease. Over the years peer reviewed research has also examined how increasing the time spent playing in nature for children with ADHD has improved their ability to concentrate and focus.

When the mercury keeps dipping into the negatives it raises questions for us. How can we benefit from the outdoors if we choose to? What do we do with ourselves and family members if we’re going to be stuck indoors more than we’d like? What can we do to help members of our community who might find themselves homeless or overexposed to the elements?

Tips on benefiting from the outdoors when you’d rather be inside:

Many of us have vowed that 2014 will be the year when we get back in shape for good. If walking or running outdoors was part of your new workout plan but you’re finding it unbearable to brave the cold, don’t give up yet. The key to keeping up an outdoor workout plan is all in the clothing. When I first started running I was shocked to find out that running in 40 degrees is actually a pretty perfect temperature with the right apparel. Running tights, thick socks, long sleeved sweat-wicking shirts and jackets, and thick gloves and hats made the runs surprisingly refreshing.

When the temperatures fall somewhere in between 30 and 40 degrees F, hats with built-in face masks are perfect (I have a neon yellow Carhartt one that was affordable and works well). Hats like these also keep your breath warm by filtering it which is good if you have exercise-induced asthma and the cold makes you wheezy. You’ll get used to the strange looks from passersby and like a recent commercial, it might be best to remove the mask when you enter a gas station, but all in all, running or walking in the cold can be done.

If the temps dip below the teens, however, it might be better to take your workout indoors and enjoy nature through a window from the confines of your cozy recliner because few pieces of clothing can make minus-9 degrees bearable.

Happy-making projects for yourself and your family:

When it is simply too cold to get out, workout videos can keep your cardio on track and you on your way to fulfilling those healthy resolutions. A yoga video in the living room can be just as fun as a group workout at your gym, and making time during work can bring a welcome change.

During our break, my co-workers and I have recently been doing a group exercise called “7-Minute Workout.” You can find it as a smart phone app or a video on Youtube. Many a cold gray day has been improved by our micro-workout and it is a fun activity since we usually end up laughing at ourselves as we do “high knees/running in place” and “side-plank.” We leave our conference room a little bit warmer, a little more refreshed and ready to dive back into work.

During the weekends and evenings it is far too easy to veg out and binge-watch shows such as Game of Thrones (admittedly fun, but leaves one feeling sloth-like), so making a list of projects to do can kickstart those creative juices. I promised myself I will complete at least 5 items from my Pinterest crafts page in 2014. Other things such as creating healthy meals and decadent desserts from recipes I have saved are also on the to-do list.

Purging/organizing is also a great indoor activity that helps refresh both one’s living space and one’s head space. I have been streamlining our apartment and getting rid of clothing and items that have accumulated in our closets. Coats, warm clothing, gloves, and scarves have been donated to local organizations such as the Hope Center and The Nest.

Organizing a clothing or home goods swap with friends is also a great, free way to get rid of stuff you’re tired of, while getting new-to-you things you might need. My newly de-cluttered space feels larger and leaves me feeling more free and inspired.

The following are great links to bookmark for the next time you and your family have a lot of indoor time on your hands:

50 Fun Winter Activities from Real Simple Magazine

31 Things for Kids to Do During Winter Break from No Time for Flashcards

29 Things to do Indoors this Winter from Minnesota’s Examiner

Winter learning activities from Scholastic

Themed winter crafts by Activity Village


Helping others endure the cold:

While complaining about the temperature, I have thought of the members of my community who have little choice but to endure the cold. For those without homes or who lack adequate housing, there are actions we can take to help.

Donating warm clothing, in good condition, to local shelters and nonperishables to local food banks will fill a need that increases exponentially with the cold. If you cannot donate monetarily, the following locations accept donations and are in need of the following items:

The Hope Center – Donations can be dropped at: 360 W Loudon Ave, Lexington. Currently in need of coats, cold weather clothing, thermal underwear, socks, gloves, hats and unopened hygiene products.

The Catholic Action Center – Donations can be dropped at: 614 E. 7th St., Lexington (10 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday-Saturday). Currently in need of laundry detergent, coffee, creamer/sugar, large garbage bags, bleach, cleaning supplies and toilet paper.

The Salvation Army – Donations can be dropped at: 736 W. Main St., Lexington. Currently in need of canned meats (tuna, chicken), beef stew and soups, pasta and spaghetti sauce, breakfast cereals, peanut butter, canned green vegetables, canned fruits and juices, clothing in good condition, diapers (all sizes), personal care items (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, deodorant), and household items for shelter residents who move into a home, such as toasters, microwaves, linens.

God’s Pantry – Main warehouse is at 1685 Jaggie Fox Way, Lexington (9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m.-12 noon on Fridays). Any nonperishable food item is appreciated. Residents of Fayette County can also make their donations at any Kroger location by placing the food in the donation barrel near the customer service desk or exit.


Lisa-Conley-300x203Lisa Conley is an outreach specialist for Bluegrass Greensource.

This article appeared in KY Forward on February 6, 2014.



Local Apartment: New Look, New Outlook for Recycling

100 chevy chase apptsMany things are new at 100 Chevy Chase Apartment Homes- a new name, management, look, and now the shift to become a “greener” home for its residents. Located at 100 Lakeshore Drive the apartment homes just off Richmond Road are visibly different due to new paint and the placement of many blue Rosie recycling containers. Less visible are the changes inside the complex.

With Community Manager Jason Whitehouse at the helm, the complex is taking steps to become a greener apartment complex. Bluegrass Greensource and LFUCG were invited to their first holiday party on Dec. 19 to discuss recycling, energy efficiency, and water conservation with residents as part of the LiveGreenLexington Partner program. Over 20 residents stopped by and learned about services offered to them and opportunities to live a bit greener in 2014.

Plans to create a comprehensive recycling program and the formation of a green team will begin in 2014 as more residents move into the complex. An October 2013 stream cleanup for the creek running alongside the Richmond Road side of the property was successful and future stream clean-ups are likely. Whitehouse hopes the space alongside the creek will be utilized by tenants looking to enjoy a bit of nature in the city instead of the creek merely existing as a backdrop. The creek affords the possibility for environmental education opportunities for young tenants like macro-invertebrate outdoor days and storm water education. These efforts will not only help the complex become greener, but will also build a sense of community with residents – something Whitehouse strongly supports.

Bluegrass Greensource is here to assist those seeking to create a recycling program or make their apartments greener.  Nearly every apartment complex has a group of residents interested in minimizing their ecological footprint. The key is finding this group of engaged, participatory residents and showing them how best to utilize their skills and time. Site specifics, resident participation, and the community’s desires are incorporated into any recycling program to maximize success.

The LiveGreenLexington Partner program, sponsored by LFUCG and managed by Bluegrass Greensource, offers assistance to businesses and apartment complexes in reducing waste and starting or expanding a recycling program, conserving energy and improving water quality.  If you know of, or manage an apartment complex and would like to see changes to your recycling and green mission, contact us at Bluegrass Greensource for no-cost assistance (859)266-1572.


Tis the Season to GIVE

By Lisa Conley

Frankfort trash clean up

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.  Dunbar studentsWith 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 the 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 gift they didn’t really need, and we both had the pleasure of knowing the young people we might see at the grocery actually benefited from our gift.  Your one contribution’s impact could multiply across generations.  What other gift has this potential?

Montessori ResizedTo 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.


There are benefits to being a lazy grounds-keeper like animal food, time

I don’t know about you but this year’s oddly cool July had me thinking about autumn far earlier than I would’ve liked. Thoughts of autumn bring recognition of a changing landscape full of flowers past their prime, withering cucumber plants and other raggedy landscape items.

This time of year is bittersweet – the warm sunny days tending those seeds and nurturing them into plants are quickly growing shorter as summer fades. The lively green that once painted Kentucky’s lawns and public spaces grows a bit more yellow while spindly plants seemingly beg to be added to the Herbie. Erasing evidence of summer when autumn rolls around is expected by all but the most lazy gardeners and groundskeepers, but I urge you to refrain from giving in to that lawn-keeping social pressure.

800px-MockvalleyWildlife, particularly our bird friends, benefit greatly from the drying plants and seeds that our once-lush yards can provide. To clear these away as soon as they appear deprives local wildlife of both food sources and materials to shelter through the winter. With increasing urbanization and suburban expansion, allowing room for other non-human animals is vital to maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

Leaves can be turned easily into mulch or composted for flowerbeds and vegetable gardens, while seed pods provide continuous feeding for birds as other food sources like berries vanish. Bluegrass Greensource offers year-round lawncare tips to help you keep your yard in shape while reducing your ecological footprint.

The Humane Society offers tips that can reduce your autumn to-do list while also improving the lives of your backyard visitors which include things such as skipping the raking, leaving those dried flowers for their seed pods, creating a brush pile, and leaving water out for animals as sources become scarce.

Being a “lazy” gardener need not be a shameful experience when one considers the benefits to our local ecosystems. In fact, reducing the amount of autumn lawn chores has the added bonus of freeing up precious time – and what person couldn’t use that?

Off the top, there are many things one could do with the time freed of fall chores. Instead of chopping down those plants for hours, use the time instead to explore local ecosystems with your child, go for a long walk, catch a movie at the Kentucky Theatre, run at the Arboretum, veg out on the couch with a good book, or share your new lazy gardening philosophy with your neighbors over coffee. In addition to improving the quality of your own life, you’ll also be improving the lives of our feathered and furry friends this fall. And for that, I’m sure they would thank us.

Lisa Conley is an Outreach Specialist for Bluegrass Greensource.

This article appeared in KY Forward on August 22, 2013.


Lisa Conley Joined Our Team


Greensource would like to welcome Lisa Conley as our new Outreach Specialists.  Lisa grew up in Daysboro, Kentucky and credits her rural upbringing in eastern Kentucky with influencing her concerns for the environment. She states, “I love the fact I grew up in a region so full of natural beauty. I was always outside playing in the barn, on the river banks, and in the hay bottoms. I came to appreciate the peacefulness there and could get lost in an afternoon of bird-watching, catching tadpoles, or just walking the hills behind our house.”

Lisa used this appreciation of the natural world when she moved away for college. While attending Eastern Kentucky University and later the University of Kentucky, Lisa researched issues related to environmental disasters in Appalachia and taught as a part-time instructor for both universities. She is currently finishing her PhD in Sociology at UK by researching motivations of home food production, the intersections of environmental sustainability, and local food economies. She is excited to be the new Outreach Specialist for Bluegrass Greensource working with large businesses to increase their recycling efforts and find ways to conserve water and energy usage.  She is a great addition to our team!

Interesting in knowing more of Greensource’s staff, go to https://bggreensource.org/home/what-we-do/our-people/staff/.