Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lights Out: Earth Hour March 23rd

On Saturday, March 23rd at 8:30 p.m., thousands of cities around the world will go dark for one hour during Earth Hour, WWF's annual campaign that raises awareness on environmental challenges we all face, such as climate change.

Many residents of Knoxville are turning out lights and urging our community to take part in Earth Hour. Here's how:

1. Turn off all non-essential lights in and around our government buildings
2. Promote the event and encourage landmarks and businesses in our community to join in

The City of Knoxville has participated for the last 3 years and is already an Earth Hour City Challenger.

The Earth Hour City Challenge provides a software into which the Sustainability Office is uploading City of Knoxville energy consumption data in order to better organize and understand the City's energy consumption by commodity (gas, electric, water) and subsequent CO2 emissions.

With the assistance of the EHCC-provided software and a software called Utility Trac Plus, we are compiling a comprehensive data set to update our energy inventory baseline and identify opportunities for energy efficiency improvements.

To best accomdate emergency services operated by the City, lights out in the City County Building will be at 7:00 PM, March 23rd, instead of 8:30 PM.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Edible Forest and Green The Block 2013

Seeed plans to dedicate the month of March to greening the blocks of inner-city Knoxville.

Saturday, March 16, 2013, Seeed will plant its Edible Forest at the Morning Side Community Center from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

In addition to planting the fruit trees, Seeed will complete five other projects : renovating the basketball court, painting retainer wall, clearing fence line, building raised beds, and laying wood chip path.

Sunday March 17, 2013, Seeed will hold its 3rd Annual “Green the Block” from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Seeed will give away over 70 fruit trees in order to spread the Edible Forest all around inner-city Knoxville while finishing up any projects not completed Saturday.


Seeed has been giving the chance to receive a $2,000 matching grant for the maintenance of the Edible Forest. As a fundraising effort to raise our $2,000, Seeed needs your help finding sponsors to purchase a fruit tree for $43 a tree and have your tree named after you in the Edible Forest or donated to an inner-city family member.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Get Involved

1.) 24th Annual River Rescue
A community action event, coordinated by Ijams Nature Center, which involves hundreds of volunteers. This annual cleanup covers 50 miles of Tennessee River shoreline and the streams that flow into it.

2.) Adopt a Stream
With a bit of adult leadership/supervision, there are a number of Streams that could be adopted in Knoxville.

3.) Free Rain Garden Workshops
March 7, 9, 14: How to create and maintain a home rain garden.

4.) City Neighborhood Conference:

The Neighborhood Conference to be held in three weeks at the Knoxville Convention Center is meant to strengthen neighborhoods and neighborhood organizations. All 32 of the workshops and 40 information booths at the conference are designed to help achieve this goal. Just for example:

• Neighborhoods are more livable, and neighborhood organizations more effective, when neighbors get along with each other. The session on “Disputes between Neighbors” will suggest effective ways to handle disputes before they escalate into long-term conflict.

• In the session on parks and greenways, the parks & recreation directors for the city and county will provide details on all city and county recreation programs, which can help to keep our youth occupied and out of mischief.

• Just like many other communities across the nation, Knoxville and Knox County have experienced an influx of new neighbors from other countries, particularly those in Central and South America. The “New Neighbors, New Opportunities” session will address myths about and suggest ways to reach out to these new neighbors.

• When it comes to money, neighborhood groups are like any other non-profit: Manage it badly, and your organization can suffer. The session on “Managing Money without Controversy or Suspicion” provides professional advice to help your organization earn everyone’s trust.

• To have money to manage, you have to know how to raise it. “Grassroots Fundraising” will help your group develop some independent fund-raising skills.

• A variety of city and county agencies, along with nonprofit groups, will offer a wealth of information at the 40 exhibition booths at the conference. This is information that can be useful to individual neighbors as well as neighborhood organizations.

Two hundred people have now registered for the conference. To guarantee your participation, browse to to download the program and register on line. Or call 215-3456 to have material mailed to you.

*** Admission to the conference is free and open to anyone interested in neighborhood improvement.

*** Online registration ends at noon Tuesday, March 19. Your registration must be in hand by that time to guarantee a free box lunch. Early registration also ensures that you get into the workshops you want.

*** When you register online, you should receive a confirmation email. If you did not receive this email, call Eden Slater at 215-3456 to make sure you are registered.

*** The conference ends at 3 p.m. after a drawing for door prizes. Door prize tickets are obtained by participating in the workshops.

5.) Be a Beardsley Volunteer:

Every year about 1,000 volunteers come to Beardsley Community Farm! Without the help of our many amazing and generous volunteers, Beardsley Farm would not be able to donate 4,000 lbs of fresh, healthy produce to local food pantries. Volunteers will have the opportunity to learn a wide range of gardening skills, such as composting, seed saving, beekeeping, basic construction, and everything in-between. We need your help and we welcome volunteers of all ages and skill levels to get involved.

Volunteer hours are Monday-Friday, 9 AM – 4 PM

- Beardsley Groups:

Beardsley Community Farm also works with youth and adult groups from schools, colleges, religious organizations, greek organizations, businesses, etc. We ask that large volunteer groups schedule with us at least a week in advance.

- Receive College Credit:

Beardsley Community Farm also welcomes volunteers seeking college credit internships. Internships typically last 90 hours, but may vary per college. Check with your institution to see if you can receive credit for interning at Beardsley!
To start volunteering, message them through their contact page or call 865-546-8446.

6) Schedule a clean up with Keep Knoxville Beautiful

This is a good quarterly/annual activity for any civic-minded group.

7) Transportation Options – Use these and encourage others to as well

Ride the bus
Ride a bike
Use ZipCar

All of these can help improve our air quality when used in lieu of a personal single occupancy vehicle trip.