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Mahoning River Corridor People’s Garden Program

January 31, 2013 in ACT, Mahoning, Quality Connected Places, Trumbull

The Mahoning River Corridor People’s Garden Program, funded by a grant to the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC) by the United States Department of Agriculture, will provide microgrants for the establishment of gardens to serve as community educational resources to residents of Mahoning River Corridor communities. Groups located within Lowellville, Struthers, Campbell, Youngstown, Girard, McDonald, Niles, Warren and Newton Falls are eligible to apply. All projects must be new garden spaces, and can be vegetable gardens, recreational gardens, or wildlife gardens. Projects will be chosen based on innovative design, community impact, project sustainability, and the project’s potential for community environmental education. Training workshops will be held In the month of February (see dates and locations below). A representative of each group applying for a grant must attend one of these training workshops. In 2012, the program supported the creation of 10 new gardens in Mahoning River Corridor Communities, including community vegetable gardens and native planting gardens. In 2013, the program will support 10-12 new garden spaces.

Grants will assist community groups with the establishment of new gardens, including vegetable gardens, recreational gardens, and wildlife gardens. Grants will be awarded through a competitive process, in which grantees will design their garden project and demonstrate community support and resources for the projects. Projects must be new or beginning their first year of full operation. Projects will be chosen based on innovative design, community impact, project sustainability, and the project’s potential for community environmental education. The program will be focused on neighborhood associations and resident groups, building their capacity to respond to challenges in their own neighborhoods through the creation of gardens on existing vacant land and the establishment, maintenance, and use of community forests as neighborhood assets. All garden projects will receive technical assistance and educational signage.

For additional information on how to apply

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Regional Land Protection in Northeast Ohio

January 15, 2013 in Environment, News, Quality Connected Places, Sustainability

The Western Reserve Land Conservancy (www.wrlandconservancy.org) has recently completed Common Ground, a regional land protection report for northern Ohio. The Western Reserve Land Conservancy is a nonprofit conservation organization in Moreland Hills, dedicated to preserving the natural resources of northern Ohio. Common Ground is the first-ever collaborative look at conservation in Northeast Ohio. The report is the result of the efforts of the region’s conservation community over the past year. It will soon be released to additional conservation partners and to the public.

Regional land conservation provides many benefits for Northeast Ohio. The ultimate objective of land conservation is to preserve the natural resources of the region that optimize quality of life for its inhabitants, including animals and plants as well as humans. Conservation protects existing open spaces, productive agricultural lands, ecologically-sensitive areas, and encourages more efficient land use within the existing development footprint. The ultimate vision of Western Reserve Land Conservancy is to ensure Northeast Ohio will be an authentic place where development is concentrated in historic urban areas such as Akron, Elyria, and Youngstown, in historic Western Reserve villages such as Chagrin Falls, Medina, Wooster, and Hudson, and, as needed, in new areas that promote lasting, community-oriented development. Working farms and urban gardens will flourish, supported by local markets that provide healthy and fresh produce that connects citizens to the land in a tangible, enduring way. Parks and preserves will connect people to the land, provide a safe place where children can play, and support a quality of life that attracts and retains diverse residents.

However, the Western Reserve Land Conservancy is not alone. Other land conservancies, both small and large, have operated successfully to protect many acres of farms, forests, and fields from spreading development. Some of these include national-level organizations like the Trust for Public Land (www.tpl.org) and The Nature Conservancy (www.nature.org). Others include local-level organizations within Northeast Ohio such as Gates Mills Land Conservancy (http://gatesmillslandconservancy.org/), the Killbuck Land Trust (www.killbucklandtrust.org) and the West Creek Preservation Committee (www.westcreek.org).

The Western Reserve Land Conservancy plans to release Common Ground over a series of events during the month of February. For more information about the report’s release, please contact the Conservancy at (440) 528-4150 or info@wrlandconservancy.org.

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“Treecycling”

December 29, 2012 in Communications, News, Sustainability

As the last post of the year, we thought it would be good to focus on a creating a more sustainable holiday. Every year, there is a debate about which is more environmentally friendly: artificial or natural Christmas trees. Regardless of what you chose this year, you can’t leave it up forever. There are a number of ways you can dispose of your natural Christmas tree to reduce the environmental impact. Here is a great infographic from GOOD.is on some of those the ways. Click on the image below to visit the original post.

A GOOD.is

Stark County Education Network for Environmental Sustainability

December 14, 2012 in Stark, Sustainability

Are you interested in learning more about sustainability and what is going on in Stark County? The Stark County Education Network for Environmental Sustainability (SCENES) “facilitates the sharing of information, and takes advantage of  the combination of strengths, and opportunities in effort to raise community awareness and advance sustainable development and a healthy environment.” The project, led by Stark State College,  is supported by a consortium of colleges, universities and environmental groups in and around Stark County. Funding for this effort is provided by the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation.

The SCENES website highlights eight focus areas: Advocacy, Building and Construction, Ecosystems, Energy, Green Business, Green Tips, Transportation, and Waste.  It also features ways to get involved and best practices occurring throughout Stark County. Visit the site at http://www.starkscenes.org/ or read their most recent newsletter by clicking here!

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Via Good…Infographic: How to Have a 100-Mile Thanksgiving

November 20, 2012 in ACT, Communications, News, Sustainability

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, we wanted to share a recent post from the Good website proposing a 100 mile Thanksgiving challenge.  Happy Thanksgiving!

In the spirit of using less fuel and supporting local farms and food artisans, we challenge you to try a 100-mile Thanksgiving. A 100-mile Thanksgiving uses ingredients sourced from within 100 miles of your dinner table. Think of it as an opportunity to celebrate local food, rather than an obligation to source every last ingredient from within 100 miles. Food miles, or the amount of miles a certain product has traveled to its final destination, are an important consideration when trying to reduce your carbon footprint and the amount of oil and gasoline used in making a meal.

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Lots of Green in Youngstown

November 19, 2012 in 12 County Tours, Mahoning, Quality Connected Places, Toolkiit

Back in June, NEOSCC took its board meeting to Mahoning County.  As part of our 12 Counties in 12 Months Program, the NEOSCC Board had an opportunity to tour some of Youngstown’s unique assets as well as some of the redevelopment work that is occurring.

Part of the tour was led by Youngstown Neighborhood Development Council (YNDC), a multifaceted neighborhood development organization launched in 2009 in partnership with the City of Youngstown and The Raymond John Wean Foundation to catalyze strategic neighborhood reinvestment in neighborhoods throughout the city.  YNDC highlighted some of the neighborhood revitalization work during the tour.

We wanted to showcase a recent YNDC publication:  Lots of Green 2012 Impact Report.

YNDC’s Lots of Green program is a nationally-recognized, vacant land reuse strategy implemented in Youngstown neighborhoods by the YNDC and multiple partner organizations. The program engages residents and volunteers through several programs, including Iron Roots Urban Farm, Market Gardener Training, Community Gardens, Green Jobs Training, Lots of Green 2.0, People’s Garden, and Basic Land Stabilization, in reclaiming all vacant land in strategic neighborhoods, transforming the physical fabric of the neighborhood and increasing neighborhood pride and ownership.

In 2012, the YNDC developed Iron Roots Urban Farm that put 1.7 acres of vacant land back to productive use, created jobs for 7 individuals, operated a second year of the Market Gardener Training Program with 25 participants, and trained 14 young adults through the Green Jobs Training program. The organization continued to oversee 5 community gardens,and created 13 new gardens through the Lots of Green 2.0 and People’s Garden microgrant programs. In total, the YNDC implemented vacant land stabilization projects on 90 new lots (14.4 acres).

Read the entire report (pdf download).

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Explore, Live and Transform at Green City Blue Lake

November 5, 2012 in Communications, Environment, Toolkiit

NEOSCC Consortium Member, the Green City Blue Lake Institute has launched a wonderful new website:

 

The new site is based on a three-step process:

  • Explore: Until you experience Northeast Ohio and the natural systems that support life here the soils, the water, the plants and animals, the climate it’s hard to know how to take care of this place. So the first step is to explore the bioregion, root yourself here, learn to love your home territory.
  • Live: Empowered with the intimate knowledge of place, you can begin to improve your own life. You can lead a healthier, more fulfilling life that has less environmental impact.
  • Transform: Beyond the changes you can make in your own life, we all need to work together on big, complicated things like the design of more sustainable cities, buildings, and transportation systems. We need a sustainability policy agenda and projects that transform the region.

 

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Learn and Share: Are environmental conditions in Northeast Ohio getting better or worse?

October 31, 2012 in Conditions and Trends, Environment

Photo by Peggy Turbett, The Plain Dealer

With the weather, rainfall and flooding in the news, we thought it an appropriate time to discuss the Environment Work Stream findings.  Are environmental conditions in Northeast Ohio getting better or worse? The answer to that question depends a lot on the type of environmental issue being considered.  Here is a bit of a summary for rainy day reading.

Since the 1970s, the region has made a lot of progress cleaning up what is typically thought of as “pollution.” Industry has reduced emissions from smokestacks and effluent pipes. Wastewater treatment plants are doing a much better job treating sewage. And some of dirtiest sources of industrial pollution have closed down or moved to places with lower environmental standards. As a result, the air and water are cleaner than they used to be.

But other types of environmental issues have been harder to address. These are “nonpoint” sources of pollution — sources that are numerous and dispersed rather than a single point that is simple to regulate and control. For example, the region’s lakes and streams are impacted by polluted stormwater runoff, which flows off countless streets, parking lots, and farm fields. Similarly, the big problem affecting the region’s air quality now is the motor vehicle pollution from more than two million cars and trucks.

Environments Work Stream

These nonpoint sources are a big reason why the region struggles to make further environmental progress. Most Northeast Ohio counties still fail to meet federal air quality standards for ozone and fine particulates. Flooding from stormwater runoff is a persistent and costly problem. And there are disturbing signs that the health of Lake Erie, which had been improving for several decades, may be deteriorating again (lack of data further frustrates understanding of potential trends).

It is important to note that these environmental problems are related to patterns of land use. As development has spread out over more land, there are more paved surfaces and rooftops to shed rain, and people have to drive farther to reach far-flung destinations. The spread of development also affects the diversity of plants and wildlife. And it impacts emerging environmental issues, such as the rising level of carbon emissions that impact the region’s future precipitation patterns and conditions for agricultural production.

Visit our Conditions and Trends Platform to Learn More!

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