Green Umbrella in the News

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  • May 12, 2020 1:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WCPO

    By: Pat LaFleur

    What can the COVID-19 pandemic teach the Tri-State about using its street space?

    For Northside resident Mark Samaan, the historic Cincinnati neighborhood's already narrow sidewalks have felt even narrower during the coronavirus pandemic.

    "Northside, like a lot of other Cincinnati neighborhoods, is really old and was built with narrower streets, narrow sidewalks, denser living," said Samaan, a resident and planner who has consulted with the neighborhood's community council on pedestrian safety. "It's what a lot of people like about the neighborhood and why they live here."

    The character and charm that has come to define his neighborhood, however, now could pose a risk in the midst of a public health crisis.

    "At a time like this when you need to spread out a little bit, it's a weakness because of how narrow the sidewalks are," he said.

    As the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, have spread across the globe over the last four months, cities have begun to rethink how they use their public rights-of-way as social distancing recommendations become a part of everyday life.

    It's a movement that's beginning to take hold here in Greater Cincinnati.

    For downtown Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine restaurants preparing to reopen outdoor seating later this week, Mayor John Cranley's announcement that certain neighborhood streets would close or partially close -- to allow establishments to expand their patio spaces into the streets -- came as a welcome and creative solution.

    "I like the concept a lot," said B&A Street Kitchen employee Henry Barker. "I think more people would be more open to going out and being outside, which is very important at this time."

    The city of Loveland went so far as to designate part of its business district as a "DORA" -- a designated outdoor refreshment area -- when restaurant and bar patrons can purchase alcoholic beverages and roam the neighborhood. It's a designation that previously applied only to special occasions but is now in play to accommodate local businesses impacted by the COVID-19 shutdown.

    The city of Cincinnati has considered open-container districts as early as 2016, and the concept has always applied during large festivals like Taste of Cincinnati or Oktoberfest, within festival limits. Similar measures also have applied for nearby festivals like Maifest and Oktoberfest in Covington.

    "At a time like this when you need to spread out a little bit, it's a weakness because of how narrow the sidewalks are," he said.

    But some would like to see the concept expand beyond just food and dining.

    "It's a huge challenge, especially in our cities, where you have people closer together, to have that opportunity to space," said OTR resident and pedestrian safety advocate, Derek Bauman. Bauman -- who also ran for City Council in 2017 -- was influential in steering city officials toward adopting a "Vision Zero" approach to traffic policy. "Vision Zero" refers to a conglomeration of road design, policy and enforcement principles with the goal of reducing traffic fatalities to zero.

    "We need to look at these public spaces that we have on our streets: How can we reimagine them? How can we expand opportunities for more use than just by cars racing through?" he said. "I think this crisis has really created an opportunity to fast-track that."

    Pandemic or not, Samaan has a history of pushing the city of Cincinnati toward projects that could slow down traffic through his neighborhood. In 2018, he helped the Northside Community Council measure the impact of 24-hour street parking along Hamilton Avenue through the neighborhood's business district. Replacing a travel lane with a parking lane in each direction resulted in a 70% reduction in rush-hour crashes through the busy corridor.

    In light of new social distancing recommendations, Samaan said he'd like to see some neighborhoods repurpose some street lanes into space for people walking.

    "When I've been walking around Northside during the day or on weekends... people are staying distanced for the most part, but when you need to pass someone, people are just passing each other, violating the six-foot rule," he said. "Or, folks are stepping into the street, which is good -- you stay away from the other person -- but technically that’s illegal, and you can’t really do that."

    Tri-State Trails is one local organization that hopes to leverage this moment to steer conversation toward repurposing a lane on the Veterans Memorial/Fourth Street Bridge connecting Newport and Covington in Northern Kentucky. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet in April temporarily closed the 84-year-old span over the Licking River after an inspection found evidence of corrosion on a load-bearing structure.

    The bridge later reopened with one lane of traffic closed and a reduced weight limit.

    "The Fourth Street Bridge is functionally obsolete, which means it was designed for something different than what it's currently doing today," said Wade Johnston, director of Tri-State Trails. "The sidewalks on it, specifically, are not (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. They're about 4 feet wide, and if you are an individual in a wheelchair coming up the bridge and you see another individual in a wheelchair on the bridge, one of you is going to have to back out to allow the other person to pass."


    Johnston and members of the local cycling community submitted a letter to KYTC District 6 requesting the unused traffic lane be converted -- at least temporarily -- into a walking and biking lane.

    "In this moment right now, we have a bridge that's functionally obsolete, we have a global pandemic, and we're being told to keep [6] feet apart and a sidewalk on the bridge that currently doesn't allow for that," Johnston said. "Make this lane closure permanent and create a barrier so that the westbound lane could be used for bike and pedestrian traffic only."

    KYTC District 6 spokeswoman Nancy Wood told WCPO in an email Monday that the cabinet is planning emergency repair measures to bring the bridge back to its original 17-ton weight limit and three-lane road capacity, but also said her district is working with Covington and Newport to determine if using a lane on the bridge could be possible to promote safer cycling conditions.

    "This is not a quick fix," Wood wrote. "There are several factors such (as) weight distribution on the bridge and continuity with the cities," Wood said.

    He said he hopes the COVID-19 pandemic helps government agencies overseeing street projects adjust what they think is possible.

    "The problem is never doing it. The problem is that (these projects) can have some unintended consequence on something else," Samaan said. "In many cases, that's cost or it will impact traffic congestion too much. When we're talking about these sort of temporary, emergency measures, I think what the city needs to learn is that it can be easy to change the street."

    While commuting to work is down during the pandemic, he said, other matters, like the potential for traffic congestion, "may not be an issue to worry about at this time."

  • May 11, 2020 1:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: City Beat

    By: 

    Solve This Bike Month Scavenger Hunt from Tri-State Trails While Exploring Greater Cincinnati on Two Wheels

    May is National Bike Month and Tri-State Trails — a self-defined "alliance of community advocates advancing a vision to connect and expand our region’s trail and bikeway network" — is offering some fun ways to explore the city on two wheels.

    From March 16 to April 6, local bike trail use was up 30 percent compared to last year — some trails have even tripled their traffic, according to Tri-State Trails — as people are using their quarantine time to get outdoors and exercise.

    “Trails and bikeways are one of the few places that have remained open during the stay at home order, and have proven to be an essential amenity for our community during this crisis,” said Wade Johnston, director of Tri-State Trails at Green Umbrella.

    And the network has been posting some fun prompts on its social media to help continue this outdoor trend of exploring the area's more than 570 miles of trails, including a scavenger hunt.

    Solve This Bike Month Scavenger Hunt from Tri-State Trails While Exploring Greater Cincinnati on Two Wheels

    Find all the spots on the hunt and get a free Tri-State Trails sticker

    May is National Bike Month and Tri-State Trails — a self-defined "alliance of community advocates advancing a vision to connect and expand our region’s trail and bikeway network" — is offering some fun ways to explore the city on two wheels.

    From March 16 to April 6, local bike trail use was up 30 percent compared to last year — some trails have even tripled their traffic, according to Tri-State Trails — as people are using their quarantine time to get outdoors and exercise.

    “Trails and bikeways are one of the few places that have remained open during the stay at home order, and have proven to be an essential amenity for our community during this crisis,” said Wade Johnston, director of Tri-State Trails at Green Umbrella.

    And the network has been posting some fun prompts on its social media to help continue this outdoor trend of exploring the area's more than 570 miles of trails, including a scavenger hunt.

    Find trails to ride that may correspond to these prompts at tristatetrails.org/find-a-trail. And if you think you've found all the answers to these clues, send your results to tristatetrails@greenumbrella.org and get a Tri-State Trails sticker in the mail.

    And as we are all still social distancing, Tri-State Trails has a list of safety precautions to keep in mind while you ride to help avoid the spread of COVID-19.


  • May 06, 2020 3:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Eagle Country, 99.3 FM

    By: One Dearborn, Inc.

    Retired Great Parks of Hamilton County CEO Will Lead Dearborn Co. Trails Assessment

    (Dearborn Co., Ind.) - A new partnership is a big step toward the improvement and creation of trails within Dearborn County and their connection into neighboring counties.

    One Dearborn, the local economic development organization (LEDO) for Dearborn County, has contracted with county resident Jack Sutton to conduct a “State of Trails in Dearborn County” report in 2020.

    “Having a strong network of multi-use trails that connect people and communities will ensure Dearborn County remains a great place to live, work & play. I look forward to working with One Dearborn and our community leaders in planning for the future,” says Sutton.

    Sutton brings a high level of expertise in enhancing outdoor recreation and preserving natural resources in the Cincinnati region. He retired as the chief executive officer of the award-winning Great Parks of Hamilton County in May 2019 following a career which began with the public park system in 1989. Prior to serving as CEO, he held positions including park planner, planning director and deputy director. Sutton has served as chairman of the Hamilton County Natural Resources Assistance Council. He also served on the board of Green Umbrella, a sustainability alliance dedicated to the environmental health and vitality of the region, and the Tri-State Trails Committee. Additionally, Sutton is a committee member helping with the formation of the Ohio River Recreation Trail.

    The foundational “State of Trails in Dearborn County” report will give Dearborn County’s local governments, as well as non-profits and businesses with interests in trails, a common document from which to continue and enhance their trails planning and implementation efforts. It may also become a first step toward development of a Comprehensive Trails Master Plan for Dearborn County. Having such a master plan in place would allow those entities to check off a key qualification for obtaining grant funding.

    Sutton’s work under the contract will consist of four tasks:

    Inventory and analysis of existing trail assets and initiatives;

    Identification of potential funding resources for trail-related planning and construction;

    Preparation of an executive summary report documenting findings and next steps;

    Sharing the project findings with city and county officials, community stakeholder groups and citizens.

    Trail connectivity is one of the Big 8 Economic Development Drivers identified in the One Dearborn County Regional Economic Development Action Plan. The plan prioritizes extensions and improvements of the Dearborn Trail and Aurora Riverfront Trail, completing segments of Bright trails, and new trail projects across the county.

    “Not only does Jack Sutton have a zeal for the outdoors and recreation, but his professional and volunteer experience brings a unique and deep understanding of how to inventory trail and park assets across multiple communities. Jack is the perfect person to lead this important project,” says One Dearborn President and CEO Terri Randall.

    One Dearborn will play a supporting role behind Sutton’s work.

    Sutton’s report may also compliment One Dearborn’s August 2019 Dearborn County Housing Market Analysis & Implementation Action Plan in planning for neighborhood growth. Greenway trails are shown to have a significant positive impact on housing preferences and increase home values near the trails.

    “As One Dearborn strives to improve the quality of life for all in Dearborn County, understanding trails is increasingly vital to that discussion,” Randall adds.

    For more information on One Dearborn or to access the Dearborn County Regional Economic Development Plan or Dearborn County Housing Market Analysis & Implementation Action Plan, visit www.1dearborn.org/reports.


  • May 06, 2020 10:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Cincinnati Business Courier

    By: Bill Cieslewicz

    Former Great Parks of Hamilton County CEO Takes on New Role

    The former CEO of Great Parks of Hamilton County has landed a new position in Greater Cincinnati.

    Jack Sutton has contracted with One Dearborn, the economic development organization for Dearborn County, to conduct a “State of the Trails” report in the Southeast Indiana county of 50,000 people in 2020. The partnership is a big step toward the improvement and creation of trails within Dearborn County and their connection into neighboring counties.

    “Having a strong network of multi-use trails that connect people and communities will ensure Dearborn County remains a great place to live, work and play,” Sutton said in a release.

    Sutton, a resident of Dearborn County, retired in May 2019 following a 20-year career with the award-winning public park system. He was succeeded by Todd Palmeter, chief of planning

    Prior to serving as CEO, Sutton held positions including park planner, planning director and deputy director. Sutton also served as chairman of the Hamilton County Natural Resources Assistance Council, and on the boards of Green Umbrella, a sustainability alliance dedicated to the environmental health and vitality of the region, and the Tri-State Trails Committee. Sutton is also a committee member helping with the formation of the Ohio River Recreation Trail.

    The "State of Trails" report will give Dearborn County’s local governments as well as non-profits and businesses with interests in trails a common document from which to continue and enhance their trails planning and implementation efforts.

    It may also become a first step toward development of a Comprehensive Trails Master Plan for Dearborn County. Having such a master plan in place would allow those entities to check off a key qualification for obtaining grant funding.

    Great Parks of Hamilton County, a system of 17 parks and nature preserves, was created in 1930 as the Hamilton County Park District. 
Its mission is to preserve and protect natural resources and to provide outdoor recreation and education to enhance the quality of life for present and future generations.

  • May 05, 2020 9:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Soapbox Media

    By: Ryan Mooney-Bullock

    Green Umbrella: Connecting the dots between trails, food, greenspace, and healthy workplaces

    Green Umbrella convenes people and organizations working to improve the health of our region’s people, landscape, and climate impact. We connect education, non-profit, business, and government sectors, creating strong networks in times of crisis.

    It has been awe-inspiring to see the increased demand for and appreciation of the community assets we have been helping to strengthen over the last decade, most notably a connected trail network, protected natural areas, and a robust local food system.

    With gyms closed and less time at work, residents are finding recreation on our region’s trail network. Tri-State Trails compared the trail usage data from March 2019 to March 2020 and saw a huge increase in activity. On some trails the traffic tripled.

    We want to increase the number of residents who can easily get on a trail by continuing to connect trails to each other. That’s why we are advocating to build out the CROWN, the Cincinnati Riding Or Walking Network, which will connect at least 356,000 people in 49 Cincinnati neighborhoods to schools, parks, healthcare, and jobs.

    As spring unfolds, people are flocking to our parks, nature preserves, and other protected greenspaces. Time outside is providing us physical activity, mental clarity, opportunities for learning, and a break from being home 24/7. A few popular destinations have been seeing more people than is ideal given physical distancing.

    Green Umbrella’s list of Greenspace Gems provides fresh ideas for natural destinations, helping residents spread out while they get outside. Our outdoor and environmental education partners have been sharing educational resources with teachers and families to help them engage students in fun learning while they are at home. How amazing would it be if a generation of passionate nature protectors emerged from this unexpected spring and summer?

    Sales at local farmers markets are skyrocketing as people realize that buying directly from farmers and food artisans is safe, convenient, and reliable. This increased demand paired with social distancing has presented both challenges and opportunities for the local food system.

    Green Umbrella’s Food Policy Council has helped farmers markets identify strategies for staying open and preparing for the summer season, when supply and demand will be at their peak. We are working on a coordinated approach so that market managers have the support they need to safely connect farmers to their customers. We have provided financial assistance to re-launch direct-to-household food delivery programs to support farmers who planned on selling their products to restaurants, schools, and institutions, which are currently closed. And you can help by expanding your local food purchasing by committing to a Community Supported Agriculture program. For more information, check out the 2020 CORV Guide.

    As we all begin to contemplate what a return to work and school will look like in the coming months, the Cincinnati 2030 District is convening employers and building managers to think through what their new normal can look like. How can telecommuting continue to be part of the solution, not just for social distancing but for climate impact? How can the design and conditioning of spaces save energy and water (and therefore money) and slow the spread of COVID-19?

    Now is a great time to become a part of Greater Cincinnati’s movement for sustainability, resiliency, and environmental quality. We are forming new collaborations focused on faith communities going green, the health impacts of housing quality, and how local governments of all sizes can get started on their environmental journey. We need your support to keep this transformative work going for our region. Find out how you can get involved and make a donation at greenumbrella.org.

    Ryan Mooney-Bullock is the Executive Director of Green Umbrella. A Cincinnati native, Ryan lives with her husband and four children in the wilds of Spring Grove Village. During this unexpected season of homeschooling, she is thankful for the goats, chickens, dogs, cat, bees, birds, trees, and flowers that have brought a sense of abundance to social isolation.



  • May 04, 2020 1:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WCPO

    By: Pat LaFleur

    It's Still Bike Month

    April and May are usually the busiest months of the year for Wade Johnston of Mount Washington. While the director of Tri-State Trails is keeping busy this spring, it's for different reasons.

    "For the first three weeks of...the stay-at-home order, we were monitoring trail use, and it was up, overall, 30% at the five locations that we do trail counting," Johnston told WCPO.

    Now that it's National Bike Month -- celebrated across the U.S. each May, usually with large social events and group rides throughout the month -- Johnston said he expects cyclists to continue using the region's nearly 600 miles of walking and biking trails.

    "Trail traffic appears to still be really high," Johnston said.

    But he also said -- now more than ever -- Bike Month is an occasion for cyclists to practice caution and maybe adjust their expectations.

    "Typically every year during Bike Month, we encourage people to go out and enjoy a group ride with friends and co-workers," he said. "We encourage people to bike to work. Obviously, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we've had to change our plans for group rides."

    Instead of dozens, or even hundreds, of cyclists gathering for group rides that culminate at picnics or breweries, Johnston said cyclists are organizing bike scavenger hunts and virtual group rides using mobile apps like Strava or Map My Ride.

    Tri-State Trails compiled this list of ways people can celebrate Bike Month while also observing the recommended amount of social distancing.

    "We're just encouraging folks to stay with your immediate household members and still get outside, still go ride your bike" Johnston said. "But make sure you're following all the guidelines from local health departments and the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]."

    A lot of Johnston's work at Tri-State Trails' over the last six weeks has been adjusting his messaging surrounding the region's trails. He said he's had to strike a balance between encouraging trail use while also encouraging caution.

    "If you go to a trail, and the trailhead is packed, or there's tons of people out there, we're encouraging you to go to a less busy trail so that you don't put yourself in an unsafe situation," Johnston said.

  • April 27, 2020 11:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU

    By: Ann Thompson

    Ways To Keep Workplaces Safe From COVID-19

    As millions of Americans get ready to return to work the subject of "healthy buildings" has come up, and Cincinnati facility engineers are explaining what's involved.

    Nobody is saying buildings have to be WELL certified (the equivalent of LEED but think employee health on top of energy efficiency). That could mean more money than most companies have in this pandemic economy.

    In a Cincinnati 2030 District sponsored event April 21, Siemens Building Technologies' Tim Foster and David Eslinger discussed individual steps businesses can take to ensure their facilities are healthy and promote wellness. Foster has specialized in building automation and energy efficiency for decades and Eslinger is an energy engineer with experience in building controls.

    Foster suggests installing a smart sensor system to measure employee movement throughout the building. It would create a digital map. "It really gives you more actionable data. Instead of cleaning every restroom, let's say four times a day, maybe you can kind of spot the restrooms that have the most (use) and you can deploy your cleaning resources to where they are most likely to be effective."

    Putting in hundreds of sensors would be expensive, but Foster suggests maybe the cost could be justified if the sensors were also used to monitor building occupancy, access and theft.

    What About Bringing In More Outside Air?

    "Certainly you wouldn't want to go out and replace your HVAC system," Foster tells building managers, "unless there was some other compelling need but you would want to understand at least how you're bringing in outside air."

    Without it, when somebody coughs the ventilation system moves those germs to another part of the building. So, Harvard's Joe Allen, who is an expert on healthy buildings, says the goal is to bring in 100% outdoor air with no recirculation. He tells facility managers if they have to recirculate air to have MERV or HEPA filters.

    But it can go bad if you don't change the filters, says Siemens' David Eslinger. "I go into a lot of these places and the air filter has a maintenance tag that says it was inspected last week and it turns out that the inspector came by and because the fan speed was so low at that moment in time it passed but you open it up and it's obviously coated in grime. ... When you open it up it will break apart the filter."

    Alternative Filtration Systems Are Likely To Gain Traction

    Think ultraviolet light like hospitals use for sterilization or ionization.

    "Not to say that's going to directly or indirectly help the COVID-19 situation but you may run into those applications," Foster says.

    Facilitiesnet.com reports having clean buildings isn't enough. Communicating what you've done to employees will be key to inspire confidence and peace of mind. Foster says it's important to make human resources executives aware of healthy changes made.


  • April 22, 2020 11:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: The Enquirer

    By: Chris Hopper

    Opinion: Greater Cincinnati among the greenest regions in US

    Fifty years ago, on April 22, 1970, an estimated 20 million Americans attended events across the country to support environmental reform. This first "Earth Day" is credited with launching the modern environmental movement in the United States. At Skanska, we believe in building for a better society, which includes constructing sustainable, resilient facilities such as schools, offices, hospitals, hotels, sports venues and aviation facilities that will benefit generations to come.

    While our country – and our world – have come a long way since 1970, we still have a long way to go. Last year, the world’s annual carbon emissions reached an all-time high, and while we are seeing a temporary reduction in emissions because of COVID-related travel bans, these emissions will likely resume their climb once this pandemic is resolved.

    The good news is that Greater Cincinnati is recognized as a national leader in environmental sustainability. In 2018, personal finance website Wallet Hub recognized Cincinnati as the "greenest" city in Ohio and one of the greenest in the country. In 2017 and 2018, Site Selection Magazine ranked our region the best in the country for sustainable development; we ranked second last year.

    Our community is fortunate that the city of Cincinnati has created an Office of Environment and Sustainability, and we have Green Umbrella, the regional nonprofit alliance with more than 200 member organizations whose mission is to create a vibrant and sustainable region.

    A cornerstone of sustainability efforts for both of these organizations was the creation of the Cincinnati 2030 District. It consists of regional property owners, developers and commercial tenants working together to create a network of healthy, high-performing buildings by reducing the energy use, water consumption and transportation emissions in these buildings by 50% by the year 2030.

    Skanska’s Cincinnati office is proud to be a member of the Cincinnati 2030 District because it is consistent with our long-term commitment to environmental sustainability, including LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building practices.


    In the Tristate, Skanska has constructed seven LEED Gold certified projects – the FBI Cincinnati Field Office in Kenwood, University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics Renovation and Expansion, three elementary schools for Northwest Local School District and two of Dayton Metro Library’s facilities.

    We’ve also built six LEED Silver certified projects, including the Teachers Complex renovation at the University of Cincinnati, Miami Valley Hospital’s Southeast Addition, and new buildings for Fairfield City Schools. Skanska is currently seeking LEED certification for our renovation of UC’s Fifth Third Arena, the upcoming UC College of Law renovation, and several new school buildings for Carlisle Local Schools, Winton Woods City Schools, Southwest Local Schools and Little Miami Schools.

    As a signatory to the Paris Climate Accord, Skanska has set aggressive global emissions-reduction goals. Assessments of a building’s emissions and life-cycle costs traditionally focus on energy efficiency, the operational carbon of a structure. Because of a lack of data or data too complex to evaluate, few tools have been available to benchmark the "embodied" carbon of a building, which reduces the carbon footprint of a structure even before it becomes operational.

    To address this problem, Skanska and its industry partners created the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator tool, an open-source platform that calculates embodied carbon emissions of building materials. Launched in September 2019, this tool allows developers and designers to make carbon-smart choices during the material-specifications and procurement process.

    In addition, Skanska and the U.S. Green Building Council created Insight, another tool that allows designers and developers to analyze the design attributes of LEED-certified building in specific geographic regions that allows them to adopt smart and practical sustainability strategies.

    As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day this month, we need to continue to develop innovative solutions to achieve the important goal of environmental sustainability – both in our community and throughout the world.

  • April 20, 2020 1:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: UC News

    By: Melanie Shefft

    'Gold-star' campus shines on Earth Day amid shutdown

    While University of Cincinnati's typical Earth Day events are normally observed through engaging activities held throughout the month, UC students are shifting the usual on-campus celebrations into a world of virtual adventures.

    “One of the aspects of resourceful sustainability is being able to adapt to change quickly and efficiently,” says Daniel Hart, sustainability coordinator in UC's department of Planning + Design + Construction.

    “And in record time, students jumped in during the COVID-19 shutdown and turned shuttered campus events into open virtual activities for everyone, including tours of Burnet Woods and the Cincinnati Zoo, Netflix watch parties and online games with chances to win prizes — all accessed through UC Sustainability’s social media and university websites.”

    Throughout Earth Week, April 20-25, UC Sustainability’s social media sites will present virtual at-home events, a weeklong bingo game and chances to win prizes. Check out the UC | Sustainability Facebook page for virtual Earth Week activities and to download your bingo sheet.

    Cool, virtual Earth Day activities include:

    Monday, 6 p.m., Netflix watch party on Facebook viewing the documentary “The Devil We Know,” detailing DuPont's alleged decades-long cover-up of the potential harm caused by chemicals used to make popular Teflon products. Also, share your favorite sustainability-themed artwork for a chance to win prizes. Don’t forget to include #UCEarthWeek2020 when you post on social media to be entered to win.

    Tuesday, 2 p.m., "live" tour through Burnet Woods. And share a photo from your favorite local trail while including #UCEarthWeek2020.

    Wednesday, all day, Virtual cleanup with Clean Up Cincy by picking up litter where you are and post a photo to win a prize with #UCEarthWeek2020.

    Thursday, 3 p.m., At-home safari with Cincinnati Zoo. Share a photo or fact about your favorite animal to win a prize and include #UCEarthWeek2020.

    Friday, 2 p.m., Submit bingo sheets by 2 p.m. Winners are announced at 4 p.m.

    More than a pretty face

    Some of the great ways UC works on being green and sustainable are conserving energy and developing award-winning Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings. For example the new Allied Health Center, Gardner Neuroscience facilities on East campus are LEED certified. And the new Carl H. Lindner College of Business (LCOB) building has been submitted for LEED certification in hopes of receiving gold-level status — paralleling the gold earned in 2008 by UC College of Medicine’s CARE/Crawley Center for Academic Research on East campus.

    “LCOB actually has four intensive green roof systems on top of the building and a bioswale system on the western side of the building where it captures rainwater runoff,” says Hart. “Both features reduce our contribution to combined sewer overflow. So while it’s a really beautiful facility it has a lot of unique sustainable features within the design of the built space.”

    LCOB, as well as the new 1819 Innovation Hub and several other buildings on campus incorporate daylighting features, which uses daylight harvesting principals via architectural means to provide natural light and reduce electricity use.

    As part of UC’s geographic information system, a tree master plan maps where trees and natural vegetation strategically placed around campus buildings help effectively shade sun and block wind, adds Hart.

    UC’s new Sustainability + Climate Action Plan keeps the university on track, says Hart, serving as the guiding framework for how UC continues to work toward creating a culture of viable action while building awareness and encouraging behaviors that support the university’s strategic direction called Next Lives Here.

    Top-of-the-line utilities for a world-class university

    Facilities Management at UC supports over 40,000 people throughout its complex service network, and the university’s utilities keep main campus, UC’s College of Medicine and several surrounding hospitals in the area humming.

    “Our operations are driven by a state-of-the-art, high-efficiency, cogeneration central utility plant, making our energy resources twice as efficient as most power plants in the region,” says Mike Hofmann, director of UC’s Finance-Utilities Services. “While we maintain two plants supplying electric, steam and chilled water to main campus buildings, we are also cutting costs to our outlying campuses — maintaining a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions resulting in more than $1 million in rebates from Duke Energy over the last four years.

    “In lieu of natural gas or fossil fuels, we purchased a new green energy contract in 2019, sourcing 100% power from a more sustainable wind energy for the Clermont, UC Blue Ash, Victory Parkway and Reading campuses, as well as the 1819 Innovation Hub.”

    Students Pave the Way

    To showcase these milestones, engineering students in UC’s well-known co-op and experiential learning programs, partnering with Hofmann and UC Facilities Management, created, entered and won the national Campus Energy 2020 Student Video Contest.

    “This is a testament to how the integration of UC’s ongoing green/energy efforts are impacting the lives of students,” adds Hofmann. “And the engineering students who started the Society of Environmental Engineers group are making plans to help design the layout of the future solar applications of UC’s outlying buildings.”

    Sustainability as a focus has also been a key factor in the UC College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning ’s architecture program. For example fifth-year DAAP student Roger Chanin saw the value in sustainability early on while designing his path toward a career in architecture. “I think I’ll continue down the route of sustainability,” says Chanin in an interview with Venue magazine. “I got my LEED credentials because I realize there’s a lot of demand for an architect who can do sustainable design while also saving a company money.”

    The breadth and diversity of students currently weaving the value of sustainable living into their majors and future career goals is growing larger every year, Hart adds.

    Students are also taking the lead in research related to recycling behaviors in different areas of Cincinnati.

    “We looked at what influenced people to recycle, what restricted people, why it is important as well as some general trends to why people recycle or why not,” says Leo Readey, one of 13 UC students who surveyed the inner-city Cincinnati neighborhood of South Cumminsville and recycling habits there for a course-based senior capstone project.

    “Students take behaviors, perspectives and experiences from college with them for the rest of their lives, and it’s our intention that UC can serve as a living laboratory and demonstrative framework for what a sustainable community could look like,” says Hart. “Creating a culture of sustainability begins with the way we treat one another, the way we treat the land and what we envision the world to look like.”


    Practices that impact UC’s Gold-STAR rating include:

    UC’s Sustainability + Climate Action Plan, published in 2019, serves as the guiding framework for how UC continues to work toward enhancing a culture of sustainability and climate action.


    UC is a member of the Cincinnati 2030 District, a four-part collective commitment to reduce building energy use, water use and transportation emissions 50% by the year 2030, and includes a Wellbeing component being developed by UC professor Amanda Webb.

    UC’s Environmental Literacy Certificate Program is a co-curricular, not-for-credit professional certificate through the Office of Sustainability offered free to all students to demonstrate fundamental competencies in ecological principles and systems thinking.

    UC Food Service, directed by Katie Wahlke, received a 2019 Advancements in Waste Reduction Award for their efforts in waste reduction from Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District.

    UC annually sponsors the Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit, hosting sustainability student groups from all around the country.

    Almost a decade of composting spent coffee grounds from campus dining and cafe locations has yielded over 16 tons of compost for campus landscape fertilizer.

    Transportation to move quickly and efficiently from one building to another or to travel out of town are located all across campus for Bearcats on the go. Check out the options.

    In 2019, the League of American Bicyclists awarded the University of Cincinnati's Uptown campus as one of the country's most bicycle-friendly.


  • April 20, 2020 10:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Cincinnati Parent Magazine

    By: Sarah McCosham

    Find any hiking trail in Cincinnati with Tri-State Trails

    If you’re getting stir crazy from staying home, there is a solution. Find any hiking trail in Cincinnati with Tri-State Trails!

    Since Governor DeWine issued the Stay-at-Home order over a month ago, I’ve been taking my kids out hiking a couple times a week. As per the order, outdoor exercise is allowed, as long as social distancing guidelines are maintained. My kids know the rules, and we make sure to keep our distance and wash our hands thoroughly upon arriving back home.

    I’ve really treasured this time with my kids, who are always up for an adventure. We’ve visited such a great variety of parks, that we haven’t even missed going to playgrounds. Most hiking trails are ones I’d never been on before, and getting to see this side of Cincinnati has been wonderful. I’ve been using Tri-State Trails, a free resource, to find kid-friendly hiking trails in the area, and have discovered some true hidden gems.


    Using Tri-State Trails is easy — simply use the Find a Trail search engine your area code or suburb to find trails in your area. (There are over 570 miles of trails in Greater Cincinnati!) The search results will give you GPS coordinates, park address and website
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