Resolution Results


With the beginning of the new year, Bluegrass Greensource asked you to tell us in which areas of your life you resolved to make sustainability improvements.

Your responses were wonderful and demonstrated your deep commitments to making the small changes that lead to big impacts in our local environment. Almost everyone who participated committed to making changes in more than one area of their lives. Of the four resolution categories, 27% of respondents said they wanted to get outside more; 22% resolved to make their homes more energy efficient; 20% resolved to conserve water at the home or office; and 20% committed to improve recycling and/or composting at their homes. Perhaps most exciting were the 11% of respondents who resolved to make improvements in areas other than those listed. While these responses varied, a good many involved a desire to grow more food, make more purchases from local vendors, educate friends and neighbors about sustainability issues, and more consciously reduce their own personal consumption.

As part of the campaign, Bluegrass Greensource entered all respondents into a drawing for a $200 gift that can be used to give a jump start to the winner’s resolution efforts. We’re happy to announce that the winner of our drawing was Julie Riggs of Lawrenceburg. Congratulations Julie!

In addition to your commitment, your responses give us a great idea of the types of resources that you want and that we can provide or develop to help you along the way. Thanks to everyone who participated and resolved to increasing your efforts to become more sustainable in 2016!


Thanksgiving Crafts

This Thanksgiving instead of spending money on table decorations spend some time with your family making your own with supplies already lying around the house. This sustainable approach to decorating will put money in your wallet and also put reusable items to good use. To learn more about these DIY projects, see below.

Twig Candle Holder

IMG_3552This is a great DIY for table decorations and for saving energy around the home by adding incandescent light around the house.

Supplies needed:

  • Twigs & Branches
  • Empty candle, jar, or glass ware
  • Hot glue or E-6000 super glue
  • Small hand held pruner (optional)
  • Tea light candles


  1. Collect twigs & branches from around your yard.
  2. Begin cutting twigs with small hand held pruner that are a little longer than the jar you are applying them to (or just use your fingers to break apart like I did, it gives a rougher look to the twigs). Once you have a big enough pile of branches set to the side for application.
  3. Begin applying hot glue or E-6000 super glue to each individual stick and begin applying them around the glass. I used my hot glue gun because it was what I had lying around the house.
  4. As you will find out, not all the sticks will lay perfectly straight onto the glass. After applying most of the big branches to the jar, take little twigs and place them within the cracks with a little extra glue. This will give the jar a more completed look.
  5. After you have added all the twigs to satisfy you let the glue dry. After the glue is dry go back and check for any loose twigs and reapply a little glue to secure.
  6. Place tea light candle in jar and enjoy!

TP Tube Turkeys

IMG_3432This is a great project to keep the kids preoccupied during the Holidays and to reuse TP Tubes that would’ve originally went to waste.

Supplies Needed:

  • TP Tubes
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Googly Eyes
  • Paint Brushes
  • Decorating Supplies


  1. IMG_3422Trace onto TP Tube three spikes for the head and twowings, and on the back trace out the feathers by making long vertical marks.
  2. Cut out turkey shape with scissors. Fold wings all the way down and only half of the head spike to show a neck. For the feathers, cut the slits on the back of the turkey and begin coaxing them to fan out with your hands.
  3. Decorate! There are infinite amount of ways you can do this. For most of these, we decided to use glitter. The easiest, less wasteful way to do this is to put the turkey on a sheet a paper, paint glue onto the feathers and wings with a small paintbrush, and shake glitter onto the turkey. When the desired amount of glitter is on the turkey, simply fold IMG_3427paper into a funnel like shape and put remaining, unused glitter back into its container. Repeat until the desired amount of glitter has been added.
  4. Glue googly eyes onto the head of the turkey. And there you have it, a TP Tube Turkey!

*If using glitter with kids sounds absolutely dreadful, you can always hand them some markers or crayons for decorating!


Bluegrass Greensource and GLAA Partner to Promote Apartment Sustainability

Increasing residential sustainability has been one of the primary goals at Bluegrass Greensource since its inception in 2001. This goal serves a double purpose in that it not only benefits the environment, but also offers additional incentives for homeowners looking to save money on utility expenses. But what happens for the thousands of Lexington/Fayette County residents who live in apartments and lack the ability or resources to implement such changes on their own?

Often times the responsibility for increasing sustainability and educating residents falls on the shoulders of apartment managers where the prospect of making substantial changes with limited time and resources can seem rather daunting. Fortunately, this is where Bluegrass Greensource comes into play as a valuable resource for supplying apartment managers with the education and tools they need to become more sustainable.

Recently, Bluegrass Greensource has partnered with the Greater Lexington Apartment Association (GLAA) to provide resources and education to apartment managers about easy to implement, sustainable practices that can help reduce their financial bottom line and increase livability for residents, all while helping the planet. This approach to sustainability, known as the Triple Bottom Line (Profit, People, Planet), was the focus of a recent presentation by Bluegrass Greensource Outreach Staff at the GLAA September General Membership Meeting on September 22nd.

Outreach Specialists Rob Gates and Bridget Abernathy spoke to a crowd of 60+ GLAA members, representing properties throughout Lexington and Fayette County, about the many ways sustainable initiatives can benefit a property’s triple bottom line by minimizing costs, attracting clientele, and gaining a competitive advantage among other properties. The presentation covered a wide array of topics ranging from energy/water conservation, energy efficient purchasing and retrofitting, running a successful recycling program, urban landscaping, proper FOG (Fats, Oils, and Grease) disposal, as well as potential rebates and resources available for implementing such measures.

With all the options available it can be difficult, and somewhat overwhelming, to know where to begin when deciding what sustainable goals are right for each property. Because of this, it is important to note that even small changes can add up over time to make a substantial difference in increasing a property’s sustainability, with the first step being to engage and encourage residents to adopt sustainable practices themselves. Thankfully Bluegrass Greensource is available to help property managers assess their current state of sustainability, identify potential areas of improvement, and provide the resources and expertise required to develop a plan of action to set and achieve attainable goals.

If you are a property manager, or a resident who would like to see your apartment complex become more sustainable, please feel free to contact Rob or Bridget with any additional questions.


Sustainable Love

Though “The Holiday Season,” is now officially behind us, there’s always another one just around the corner. Whether you see Valentine’s Day as an invention of the card industry to continue sales into the new year, or you feel as though it’s the one day out of the year that you can truly tell your loved ones how you feel, February 14th is quickly approaching. I know those gifts in the seasonal aisle of the grocery store look really appealing, but there are many ways to show you care that are a lot less likely to end up in a landfill so quickly. I’m sure your honey would love the sentiment, but does your house really need another teddy bear holding a heart-shaped pillow? As you look for creative ways to treat others – or yourself – this Valentine’s Day, keep the following options in mind:

Love Local. If homemade gifts and cards aren’t your forte, find a neighbor who is bursting with creativity. Check out markets and craft fairs to support local farmers, artists, and other craftspeople. Locally or homemade chocolate is a great alternative to the boxed kind at the grocery; you can’t go wrong with Kentucky bourbon balls! Also think local when planning Valentine’s Day outings by looking for restaurants that highlight local, in-season ingredients on their menu. Bonus points if your find is made from repurposed materials!

Let your Love Grow. Instead of purchasing flowers that may have been farmed unsustainably and likely travelled a long way between being cut and being bought, give your loved one a living plant. Living plants last much longer and are much better for the environment. Try a potted, flowering plant or get one that you can eventually place in your yard and watch grow, like a native pawpaw tree or blueberry shrub.

Spread the Love. Spend your Valentine’s Day giving back to your community! Volunteer at a local nonprofit with family and friends or give to those in need in lieu of less meaningful gifts to your loved ones. Share your home, and the love of those who live in it, by adopting an animal from your local humane society.

Love your Mother. Mother Nature, that is! Bundle up and spend some time outdoors this February. People tend to forget about litter cleanups in the colder months, so make an effort to pick up your neighborhood for a few minutes each day during the week of Valentine’s day to show some love to your community. Check out other outdoor events happening in conjunction with Valentine’s Day, such as Kentuckians for the Commonwealth’s 10th annual I Love Mountains day happening in Frankfort on February 12th. Organized events are a great way to meet people with similar interests and can get you out of the house if you’re fighting the Valentine’s Day – or simply the cold weather – blues.

earth love


New Video Series Highlights Lexington Green Businesses

At Bluegrass Greensource, we’re always looking for fun new ways to promote our LiveGreenLexington Partners. Our newest adventure takes us into the realm of video.  The recently-launched Green Stories series will take you on a tour of Lexington’s leading green businesses. Each episode will focus on one LiveGreenLexington partner, and we will be highlighting the things they do to be more sustainable.

Our goal is to show that any organization, no matter how large or small, can make a significant impact by making changes. We hope that this series will educate, inform, and inspire you to act in your own business or your home.

If you know of an organization doing a great job at being more sustainable, please let us know. We’d love to feature new ideas and new people.

We’ll be posting these every month or so on our News page, and on our new YouTube channel!

Our first episode focuses on local marketing and design firm Bullhorn Creative. Bullhorn has been a LiveGreenLexington partner since 2010. They are both recycling and energy partners, and this video gives a great intro to the work they have done in those arenas.

Coming up in our next episode, learn about the work the Lexington Public Library has done to make your library experience a more sustainable one!


Bluegrass Greensource and Bluegrass Tomorrow Team Up to Host Bluegrass Forever Green Sustainability Summit

Bluegrass Greensource and Bluegrass Tomorrow have teamed up to host the first-ever Bluegrass Forever Green Sustainability Summit on October 30th.  The goal of the summit is to bring leaders from throughout the region together to share information and best practices, as well as to discuss ways to find regional support and solutions for green initiatives.

Attendees will hear about successful and growing organizations’ sustainability efforts in Louisville and in Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky. We will also hear of other examples like Bluegrass Greensource, Empower Lexington, LFUCG’s Greenspace Commission, Kentucky Sustainable Business Council, Bluegrass Bike Hike Horseback Trails Alliance Master Plan, the Kentucky River Water Trail Alliance, and more.

The most important part of the summit will be getting input from attendees. What do they think needs to be done to support green and sustainable initiatives in central Kentucky? Next steps will be dictated by the folks that are at the summit!

Please see the Green Summit flyer for more info.


Ready, set, go with the 2015 LiveGreenLexington Green Business Challenge

Lexington professionals, listen up: if you’re interested in becoming more sustainable, you love saving money on your utility bills, and you have a little bit of a competitive streak, this one’s for you! The 2015 LiveGreenLexington Green Business Challenge is now underway, and it’s anyone’s game to win.

The launch party is tonight, Oct. 2, at the Carnegie Center for Literacy in Lexington from 5-7 p.m. Join us to represent your business and find out more about the challenge. You’ll also have a chance to meet our partners, network with peers, register to compete if you haven’t already, and enjoy light refreshments.

The challenge is a sustainability competition for Lexington’s business community. It uses practical activities – from energy conservation to transportation, and everything in between – to help you set and achieve your sustainability goals and have a little fun while you do it.

Whether you’re just starting out, or you’re already as green as can be, the challenge has something to offer your business – it provides structure and direction, lets you brag on the things you’re already doing, and encourages you to keep improving all year long. And with more than 100 activities to choose from, it’s flexible enough to meet any organization’s needs and budget.

The challenge is free and available to any Lexington business or organization, and it comes with plenty of perks, thanks to support from Elite Partners Office Depot, Graybar, and Klausing Group.

Challenge participants can take advantage of free energy and lighting assessments, free landscaping assessments, free waste audits, and exclusive training opportunities on topics ranging from green purchasing to water quality best management practices.

Head over to to find out more about this great opportunity and register while you’re there. Competition runs through June 30, and registration is open until Feb. 1. If you sign up early, you’ve got more time to earn those points.

1 bethBeth Oleson is an outreach specialist for Bluegrass Greensource, working primarily with Lexington businesses to help build a more sustainable community. A Lexington native, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marine science and environmental studies from the University of South Carolina before returning home to the Bluegrass to pursue non-profit work. When she’s not busy with Greensource, Beth’s other passion is animal rescue and welfare.

This article appeared in KY Forward on October 3, 2014.


Take the Challenge: Competition Opens October 1

GBC Logo

Lexington’s business community is invited to participate in a new-and-improved sustainability competition starting October 1: the LiveGreenLexington Green Business Challenge!  Formerly the LiveGreenLexington Games, the Challenge offers a structured – and fun – way for Lexington businesses to earn recognition for their sustainability initiatives, set and work toward efficiency goals, and take advantage of a broad range of trainings, resources, and services along the way.  Whether your business is already one of Lexington’s sustainability leaders, or you’re just getting started, the Challenge has something for you.

One of the big changes coming in this year’s Challenge is its new format: competition is activity-based, and all online at  Powered by Green Per Square Foot, the Challenge website is more than just a way to earn points; GreenPSF also assists businesses in tracking their utility usage, finding financial incentives, and locating outside resources to help make their sustainability goals a reality.

Another exciting perk for 2015 Challenge participants is the opportunity to take advantage of exclusive resources and services, thanks to support from partner organizations Office Depot, Graybar, Klausing Group, and Bluegrass Greensource.  Office Depot will be offering a workshop on green purchasing; Graybar is offering comprehensive lighting and energy assessments; Klausing Group is offering consultation on green landscaping; and Bluegrass Greensource is offering waste audits, staff training, and printed materials.  The best part?  It’s all free for Challenge participants.  Even if you’re not in it to win it, you don’t want to miss out on these great events and services.

Lexington’s business community is diverse – from mom-and-pop to large-scale industrial operations – but the Challenge is flexible enough to work for any organization of any size.  The 9-month competition period running from October 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 allows participants plenty of time to complete activities on their own schedule.  Participants can peruse over 100 activities, and choose the ones that suit their needs – as many or as few as they prefer.  And if your business is already green, never fear: many of the activities can be completed retroactively, so you’ll get credit for the things you’re already doing.

Registration is open now at  Sign up before competition opens on October 1 and you’ll hit the ground running with 50 points from the Earlybird Bonus activity!  Any and all Lexington businesses and organizations are welcome to compete.

Whether you’ve already signed up or just want to learn more, please join LFUCG and Bluegrass Greensource as we launch the 2015 Challenge on Thursday, October 2, 2014 from 5-7pm at the Carnegie Center.  The launch will feature a welcome from the city, words of wisdom and inspiration from Challenge partners Office Depot, Graybar, and Klausing Group, Challenge Q&A, registration stations, and plenty of time to network with your peers – it’s a friendly competition, after all!

Register Now!

Questions?  Contact program administrator Beth Oleson.


2014 LiveGreenLexington Games wraps up with awards ceremony on July 31st

Thanks to our dedicated LiveGreenLexington business partners, another successful round of the LiveGreenLexington Games is in the books!  Competition wrapped up on June 30th, with eighteen local businesses participating in this year’s green business challenge.

Special thanks to all of our 2014 participants:

3M Ceradyne
A Sense of Order
Cardinal Hill Hospital
CDP Engineers
Dismas Charities, Lexington
Dupree Catering + Events
Element Design
Good Foods Co-Op
Growing Together Preschool
Kentucky American Water
Lexington Habitat ReStore
Lexington Public Library
Richards Electric
Salon Asa, LLC
Town Branch Tree Experts, Inc.

But who’s the greenest of them all?  Swing by the awards ceremony and find out!

The 2014 LiveGreenLexington Games Awards Ceremony will be held at Blue Stallion Brewing, Thursday, July 31st, from 5-7pm.  In addition to recognizing overall and category winners, we’ll be awarding innovation, education, and stewardship accolades to businesses who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to become more sustainable (nominate a business here – nominations will be accepted through Monday, July 21st).  The awards ceremony is also a great opportunity to network with other sustainably-minded folks in the Lexington business community, and there’s no better way to share great ideas than over a cold, locally-brewed beer.

The awards ceremony is also your first chance to check out all of the exciting changes coming in the next round of competition, starting September 1st!  Lexington is one of only four cities nationwide selected to receive a generous grant from the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives for the purpose of expanding and improving our green business challenge.  Just a few of the new perks coming on September 1st include an activity-based format with more than 100 activities to choose from and complete; GreenPSF (Per Square Foot) software for managing utility data, monitoring challenge progress, keeping an eye on the leader board, and so much more; and expanded trainings, services, and educational resources for participating businesses and their staff.  Registration for the 2015 LiveGreenLexington Green Business Challenge officially opens at 5pm on July 31st – test out the software, register, or simply find out more while you enjoy the awards ceremony!  We’ll even start you off with 50 extra points if you register by August 31st.


This Fourth of July, add a little (or a lot) of green to your red, white and blue

Ah, today is the last day of a short week, and time for one of my favorite holidays. Actually, if it weren’t for the heat, Independence Day may be No. 1 in my book.

(Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Being in downtown Lexington, watching a parade, walking the streets and meeting people I haven’t seen since the last Fourth of July. Then there is the eating… barbecue, funnel cake and beer before 5 p.m. … it does not get much better! Oh, and there is the patriotic part, too.

So how do we include green in our red, white and blue celebrations? Here is a quick list of four simple things you can do on the fourth that can have a great impact on our local environment.

1. Watch fireworks in a group. Fourth of July would not be the same without fireworks. I have many great memories of sparklers, snakes and bottle rockets, but the greenest way to watch fireworks is in a group. One of the biggest problems with home fireworks is the litter. If you shoot something into the air, chances are you will not find its remnants and they will get washed into a stream during the next rain. Most communities have fabulous fireworks shows produced by professionals – go there, save money, be with friends and don’t catch anything on fire!

2. Conserve water – July in Kentucky is HOT. Drink lots of water, but use tap water in a reusable bottle. Remember, recycling is the third R in Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Reduce and reuse are the most important parts.

3. Use propane – if you are a gourmet chef and believe that charcoal is the only way to cook, skip this part. According to a study showcased on Earth 911 “as a fuel, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) is dramatically more efficient than charcoal in its production and considerably more efficient in cooking.” Make sure to trade in your tanks when they are empty because this will save money as well as resources.

4. Make sun tea – I have to admit that I don’t like any sort of cold tea. I grew up on the West Coast, so sweet tea and sun tea are foreign to me, but I understand that you southerners love both. The idea of sun tea is great, though, and would make a nice, green addition to your holiday BBQ. If you need a recipe however, you will have to find a real Southern girl.

Happy Fourth of July!
1 Amy-SohnerAmy Sohner is executive director of Greensource and a graduate of the University of Kentucky in Natural Resource Conservation and Management. Sohner has worked with Greensource since its inception in 2002 and is a Certified Environmental Educator. She is involved with the Kentucky Environmental Literacy Alliance, the Bluegrass Rain Garden Alliance, the Licking and Kentucky River Basin Teams, and serves as vice-chair of the Keep Lexington Beautiful Commission. Sohner lives near the Kentucky River palisades with her husband, two daughters and a multitude of pets.

This article appeared in KY Forward on July 3, 2014.

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