Join the GreenForce!

It has almost been a year since we started the Bluegrass GreenForce volunteer program. There have been dozens of people who have gotten involved with zero-waste events, rain garden planting, litter clean-ups, and storm drain stenciling all across the Bluegrass.  But we know there is still more work to be done to promote environmental education in Central Kentucky!

We want you to join the GreenForce!  Don’t know how to get involved or get started?  Then you should come to our next GreenForce 101 training class (this will be the last training of the year):

GreenForce 101

When: Saturday Nov. 21st, 10am – 12pm
Where: Bluegrass Greensource, 835 National Ave
Why: Learn the basics of environmental education and volunteering at Bluegrass Greensource.

RSVP by Nov. 20th to

Want to volunteer, but can’t make it to the training?  We have the following volunteer opportunities coming up:

Gobble Grease Toss

When: Friday, November 27th 10am – 2pm (day after Thanksgiving)
Where: Sayre School, 194 N Limestone, Lexington
Why: Help Lexington collect oil/grease.  The used oil will be turned into biofuel.

We will need one volunteer per hour to assist with unloading oil from cars and handing out educational materials.

Holiday Litter-clean up and FOG Education

When: Saturday, December 5th 2-4pm
Where: Location TBD

Everyone is welcome to help clean up litter and pass out FOG (Fats Oils and Grease) educational hangers.

Children’s Environmental Education

When: Tuesday, December 22nd, Times TBD
Where: Athens-Chilesburg Elementary, 930 Jouett Creek Drive, Lexington

You will be assisting our Environmental Educators with activities during ESP (extended school program) – 3 volunteers needed.

For more information about the GreenForce or to get involved with any or our volunteers trainings or events, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Ashley Bryant Cheney, at


Rain Garden Volunteer Opportunity this Saturday!

Rain Garden Volunteer Training/Opportunity this Saturday, September 26th 10am-2pm!
Rain Gardens help to reduce storm water runoff and improve water quality. We will be discussing rain gardens, their role in stormwater management, how to locate a site and construct a rain garden, plant selection, care, and maintenance of a rain garden, and how to renovate an existing rain garden. The workshop format provides both classroom and hands-on instruction including working examples and a hands-on exercise in renovating an existing rain garden.

This Saturday we are offering an opportunity to our volunteers to learn about the basics of rain garden, and then get some hands-on experience working in a local rain garden.

When: September 26th, 10am – 2pm
Where: Bluegrass Greensource office and Morton Middle School
Schedule: Training 10am – 11:45
Lunch 11:45 – 12:30
Rain Garden Maintenance 12:45 – 2pm

Space is limited! Please register by emailing by Friday September 25th!

*If you are interested in installing a Rain Garden, this workshop makes you eligible for a $250 grant to install one at your home!*

This training is open to new volunteers!
Please pass on this opportunity to your friends and family.

This work was funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under §319(h) of the Clean Water Act.

Community cleanups across the Bluegrass need everyone to pitch in

Lawrenceburg's Main Street Clean Sweep crew (Photo provided)As the region’s beautiful scenery springs to life, Bluegrass Greensource volunteers will be working with communities to create a clean, healthy environment for residents and visitors. And we want you to join us.

There are plenty of opportunities for you, your family and community groups to volunteer to benefit our environment this spring. Take advantage of the beautiful weather and get out with your family or community group to pitch in to make the Bluegrass a better, healthier place to live and visit.

April Volunteer Opportunities:

4/11: Reforest the Bluegrass, throughout region
4/17: Downtown Trash Bash, Lexington
4/18: Garrard County Watershed Festival, Garrard County
4/22: Main Street Clean Sweep, throughout region
4/25: Boyle County Watershed Festival, Boyle County
4/25: Arbor Day at the Arboretum, Lexington

If you or your group or organization are looking for a fun Earth Day project – Main Street Clean Sweep is for you Main Street Clean Sweep is a community-led litter clean-up coordinated by Bluegrass Greensource (sponsored by PNC Bank and Republic Services). Last year Main Street Clean Sweep had more than 400 participants from counties and collected 286 bags of trash. This year 17 communities have committed to participating, and we hope to have over 1,000 participants across 12 counties. Supplied with trash bags, volunteers will clean up 17 communities around the Bluegrass. The more volunteers we have – the more miles we can cover.

Cleanups are planned in Burgin, Cynthiana, Frankfort, Georgetown, Harrodsburg, Irvine, Lancaster, Midway, Nicholasville, Paris, Richmond, Sadieville, Stamping Ground, Stanford, Versailles, Wilmore, and Winchester from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., rain or shine. On April 22, you can pick up your trash bags, gloves, t-shirts (adults who pre-register) and stickers (kids) at local kick-off locations. Individuals and business are encouraged to clean designated areas in their communities.

For more information about Main Street Clean Sweep or any volunteer opportunities, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Ashley Bryant Cheney, at To register for Main Street Clean Sweep, click here or call 859-266-1572.

Ashley photo

Ashley Bryant Cheney is the green jobs coordinator for Bluegrass Greensource, connecting green businesses with a young workforce and preparing students for green careers in the Bluegrass. From Knoxville, she’s worked in volunteer and program management at various nonprofits. She has a bachelor’s in osychology from Carson-Newman University and a master’s in urban studies and community development from Eastern University.

This article appeared in KY Forward on April 2, 2015.


New year is an opportunity to do new, better things; join GreenForce

Green Acres trash cleanup (Photo provided)Whether you reflect proudly on your many accomplishments in the past year or you can’t wait to turn a new page and look toward the future, the new calendar year is an opportunity to do new and better things.

Whether your resolution is to become healthier, learn a new skill or be happier, there is one you can do to help you get there: volunteer.

Volunteering in your community is the resolution that keeps on giving. You could say that volunteering is the perfect New Year’s resolution, because it brings so many great benefits. Volunteerism has countless benefits to the community, but it also benefits the health and happiness of individuals who commit to volunteering.

People who volunteer report physical, mental and emotional health benefits. “Doing Good is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study” reveals key benefits of volunteering that make a positive impact on people’s health including feeling better mentally, physically and emotionally.

No matter how you decide to volunteer, you will also help create and support a healthier community. Whether you have an hour a week or an unlimited amount of time to commit, you need to get out in the community and volunteer. Often, the best way we can make the world a better place is by starting with our own neighborhood.

There are hundreds of places to volunteer all throughout Kentucky, so find an organization in your community that interests you. If you are ever interested in volunteering in the realm of environmental education, give Bluegrass Greensource a call. We have many different kinds of volunteer opportunities.

In fact, Bluegrass Greensource is launching a new volunteer program in 2015 called Bluegrass GreenForce. Joining the GreenForce is an opportunity for you to be trained on important environmental issues, lead stream cleanups and storm-drain stenciling events, collaborate with our education and outreach staff, educate the community at community events, and implement your own ideas for greening Central Kentucky.

If you are interested in volunteering with Bluegrass Greensource, email or call 859-266-1572.

Ashley photo

Ashley Bryant Cheney is the green jobs coordinator for Bluegrass Greensource, connecting green businesses with a young workforce and preparing students for green careers in the Bluegrass. From Knoxville, she’s worked in volunteer and program management at various nonprofits. She has a bachelor’s in osychology from Carson-Newman University and a master’s in urban studies and community development from Eastern University.

This article appeared in KY Forward on January 8, 2015.


College Students Lend a Helping Hand for the Environment

As most of us know, schools are back in session. And for those of us that live in college towns, that includes many of the local college and universities. Central Kentucky is fortunate to have many institutions of higher learning that are invested in giving back to their local communities. Bluegrass Greensource partnered with both University of Kentucky and Georgetown College recently on several outreach endeavors.

For the first time, Bluegrass Greensource worked with University of Kentucky’s FUSION Program to coordinate two Great American Cleanups and distribute water quality information to local neighborhoods. Fusion is an annual day of service that matches incoming freshman with non-profit organizations looking for volunteers. Between the two cleanups, 16 pounds of trash and nearly 30 pounds of recyclable materials were collected from the streets around UK’s campus and the Elizabeth Park area. Additionally, students assisted Bluegrass Greensource in distributing water quality door hangers to 836 residences near Southland and Castlewood Parks. The door hangers provide information about fats, oils, and grease (FOG) and included a lid that residents can use for the collection of oils they produce during cooking. Forty-five students volunteered with Bluegrass Greensource for the day and, in spite of the heat, worked hard to improve the environment in their community. Many people do not realize that litter and FOG are two important issues that impact water quality. During a rain event, litter is washed from our streets into the storm drains which lead directly to our local streams and rivers. FOG impacts water quality by clogging up residential and city pipelines and causing blockages.

 Sandys group


Lisas group

Bluegrass Greensource also partnered with Georgetown College on Friday, August 22nd as part of the Georgetown College Freshmen Orientation Program. The program, coordinated by Georgetown staff, seeks ways to bring together the incoming Freshmen and the Scott County community by sending small groups of students and a faculty leader out into the town to assist with a variety of different service projects. Working with funding provided by Kyle Goodwin and the city of Georgetown’s engineers, Greensource sponsored two service projects, specifically litter cleanups at both Brookings Park (more commonly known as Scott County Park) and the Yuko-En Japanese Friendship Garden. Dr. Nancy Lumpkin, a professor in the department of Business Administration and Economics at the college, led the morning group around Brookings Park for about three hours as they helped pick up nearly 30 pounds of trash, mostly cigarette butts and food wrappers. Dr. Jeff Asher, a professor in the Religion Department, brought his group to the Japanese Friendship Garden for the afternoon session, where they not only helped clean up litter near Elkhorn Creek, but also assisted the in the Garden with several landscaping tasks. Each of these cleanups served as great opportunities for the students to not only get to know their community but to also serve others that will be living around them during their four year college experience.

Brooking Park Cleanup (2)

Japanese Garden Cleanup (3)

We want to thank the students from UK and Georgetown who volunteered to make these events a huge success! We hope to work with you again in the near future.


Volunteer Opportunities Available Throughout the Year

With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering are enormous to you, your family, and your community. The right match can help you meet new friends, make a positive impact on your community, and learn new skills.

TCMS litter cleanup 023

mont middle volunteers

Regardless of your work experience we have a volunteer opportunity for you!  Volunteer opportunities change throughout the year.  Spring and fall are perfect for the volunteer that likes to work community outreach events.  Winter offers opportunities for the volunteer that would like to express their artistic side.  Summer is the best time for the volunteer that likes to work with children.  And all year long we need volunteers to assist with waste reduction at events, help with litter cleanups, and to assist in our office.

If you would like to learn more about volunteering with Bluegrass Greensource please click here.  Or contact our volunteer coordinator for upcoming opportunities.


Downtown Trash Bash 2014

Help Keep Downtown Lexington Clean and Green at the 2014 Downtown Trash Bash

Come on out to the Downtown Trash Bash on Friday, April 18 and make our downtown more beautiful while helping to protect water quality in the Town Branch watershed!

Individuals and businesses are invited to join us any time between Noon and 4 p.m. at one of five starting locations, where we will provide the tools you need to help remove litter from our cityscape.

Our check-in booths are located at:

  • Fifth Third Bank Pavilion at Main Street
  • Thoroughbred Park at Main Street
  • Duncan Park on North Limestone
  • Jefferson and Short Street
  • South Limestone at Avenue of Champions

Each location will provide snacks and thank-you gifts for participants. Prizes will be given to the organization with the most volunteers, all organizations who register at least 10 volunteers, and the top 3 businesses with the most improved storefronts (must be within the Central Business District)! Event and registration details are available at or by calling 425-2590.

In case of rain, the event will take place on April 25, 2014.

This year, we have partnered with the Downtown Lexington Corporation and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government to help expand the scope of this annual event to include multiple areas of downtown. We have been further assisted by our partners at the University of Kentucky Student Sustainability Council, Fayette Alliance, and NoLi Community Development Corporation in organizing the sign-in locations.


Become a Bluegrass Greensource Ambassador

Volunteer photo

Bluegrass Greensource Ambassadors serve as representatives of Greensource at assigned outreach and education events.  These may include community fairs and festivals, neighborhood events, farmers markets, watershed festivals, etc.  We are focusing on two main areas at this time:

Zero Waste team members to assist at outreach events.  This may include coordinating with event planners and/or assisting at events.

Children’s outreach events.  Volunteers will work with Bluegrass Greensource staff to offer educational activities geared toward children.

Volunteers must demonstrate an ability to conduct themselves in a professional manner, willingness to learn details of Bluegrass Greensource’s programs and educational activities, and comfort communicating with the general public.

Bluegrass Greensource Ambassadors will be expected to attend a mandatory training that will cover Bluegrass Greensource’s programs and educational activities.

Interested in volunteering?  For additional information please contact Pattie Stivender, Volunteer Coordinator, at (859)266-1572 or


Want to help others be more earth-friendly? Join the Zero Waste Team

As winter approaches, many of us look for ways to contribute to our communities. Whether we serve food at a shelter, donate to our favorite nonprofit, or give time to our community, this time of year has traditionally been one of volunteerism and giving.

My own family has seen the rich rewards that come from volunteering and giving to our community, and we try to instill in our children a love for the intangible benefits that come from giving to others.


Zero-Waste-Recycle-graphicWe at Bluegrass Greensource have been looking for new ways to engage our volunteer base in the betterment of our community, and as a result have developed a new Zero Waste Team to help us make community events a little more environmentally friendly by going zero waste or reduced waste.

So what exactly does zero waste mean? A zero waste event diverts 90 percent or more of its waste material away from landfills by recycling, composting and avoiding disposable materials. This is an especially important goal to achieve because events have the potential to create a lot of waste due to their temporary nature and the use of disposable plates, cups and other similar items. These items end up in landfills, causing a cascade of other problems. It’s not difficult to implement zero waste at public events, but it does require planning ahead, and that’s where our volunteer team comes in to help.

We hope to encourage event planners to go zero or reduced waste by providing the resources and volunteers they may need to reach that goal. For the volunteers, it provides an opportunity to help the community in concrete ways while participating in fun community events.

Our volunteer base is divided into two groups – the Zero Waste Planning Committee and the Zero Waste Event Team. When we get a call requesting support for a zero-waste event, we will send out a call to our volunteers to help. Members of the Zero Waste Planning Committee will work with the event planners to assist with all of the coordination that must be done in advance to support zero-waste events. This includes working with vendors to use recyclable, washable, or compostable goods, procuring the correct containers and bags, strategizing the best way to deploy resources, and promoting the zero-waste goal of the event to patrons through advertising and signage.

On the day of the event, the Zero Waste Event Team will spring into action, setting up containers in the appropriate places, making sure signage is in place, answering questions for patrons and staff, and helping people properly sort their waste.

Not only do our volunteers get the satisfaction of making our community a more sustainable place while participating in fun community events, they will also get “Zero Waste Team” shirts. They’re cooler than they sound, I promise!

One of our first partners is the NoLi CDC’s Night Market. They first approached us about supporting recycling at their event, and we are now working with them to fully support zero-waste at future Night Markets. Now is the time to jump on board and help this great community event and others become more sustainable.

Our goal is to eventually provide zero-waste support for all counties in our service area, but for the moment, this support is limited to Fayette County. In the meantime, we do have resources to help events outside of Fayette County reduce their waste through recycling.

If you are interested in joining our Zero Waste Team or in hosting a zero-waste event, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Pattie Stivender, at or give us a call at 859-266-1572.

Schuyler Warren is an outreach specialist for Bluegrass Greensource, focusing on participation in the LiveGreenLexington initiative by businesses in the city core. A native of the Bluegrass Region, he received a master’s in community and regional planning and in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon. He is a board member for Town Branch Trail and Castlewood Neighborhood Association.

This article appeared in KY Forward on November 21, 2013.