Green Umbrella in the News

  • November 03, 2018 2:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WCPO

    By Pat LaFleur, Nov 3, 2018

    CINCINNATI -- The sun wouldn't rise for another 40 minutes after 15-year-old Gabriella Rodriguez was struck by one vehicle and dragged by another on Harrison Avenue -- a collision that would take her young life later that day.

    The Sept. 10 crash made the Western Hills University High School softball star one of the latest casualties of what transportation officials have identified as the most dangerous time of day to walk or ride a bike in Ohio: just before sunrise or just after sunset.

    With Sunday morning's time change, the Ohio Department of Transportation is warning drivers to be extra careful. Of the 145 people killed in Ohio after being struck by a vehicle while walking last year, 78 percent were hit at dawn, dusk or after dark, according to ODOT spokesman Matt Bruning.

    The switch from Daylight Saving Time to Eastern Standard Time -- the "fall back" -- means drivers' evening commutes suddenly will switch from daytime to nighttime driving conditions, with the sun going down as or before people even begin heading home.

    The switch back to EST also means November and December are the most dangerous months of the year for people walking or riding a bicycle in Ohio.

    "We know that with the time change, it's going to get dark earlier," Bruning said. "A lot of people who commute home at the end of the day obviously are used to driving in daylight over the last couple of months. Well, now it's going to be dark for that commute home."

    This means particular hazards for pedestrians, Bruning said, because visibility becomes a real challenge -- especially in the hours when it transitions from daylight to twilight.

    "I think a lot of that happens at that transitional period where you're thinking, 'Hey, it's bright enough. I don't need headlights on my vehicle to see,'" Bruning said. "But you're not thinking about the fact that those headlights help you be seen."

    It's not just headlights that become more important than ever, but other sorts of reflective gear that people walking or riding a bicycle can use, said Wade Johnston.

    Johnston heads up Tri-State Trails, a local nonprofit that works to advocate for active transportation infrastructure in the Greater Cincinnati area.

    Once the sun begins setting, walkers or bike commuters need to start thinking differently, he said.

    "Make sure you are being seen by motorists. Don't expect motorists to see you," Johnston told WCPO. "That means as a pedestrian or runner, maybe wear some lighting -- flashing lighting or reflective gear. As a cyclist, it definitely means getting your lights out, putting on the reflective vest, especially if you're going to be riding in the roadways."

    Johnston said street design plays a role, too.

    "If we have road infrastructure that has bike lanes and really well-marked crosswalks and good signage, then it's going to show drivers that there's a right to the road for pedestrians and bicyclists that we need to accommodate when we're out there," he said.

    Mostly, though, it boils down to enforcement, Johnston said -- and not police enforcement, necessarily, but self-enforcement. In other words, pay extra attention and follow the rules of the road.

    "We all have a responsibility to be following the rules of the road, following the speed limit and not driving distracted with our phones," he said. "There's only so much we can do in the way of enforcement to stop people from doing this. It's a call to action to everyone to take it on themselves.

    "Make sure you're visible."

    Clocks fall back an hour at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4. The sun will rise at 7:10 a.m. for Monday morning's commute and set at 5:33 p.m. that afternoon.

    The American Automobile Association offers these tips for drivers:

    • Turn on your headlights to become more visible during early morning and evening hours
    • Keep vehicle headlights and windows (inside and out) clean
    • Do not use high beams when other cars or pedestrians are around
    • Yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks and do not pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks
    • Avoid distracted driving, including use of cell phones or any other activity that could draw your attention from the road

    and for pedestrians and cyclists:

    • Cross only at intersections and look for cars coming from both directions before crossing
    • Avoid walking in traffic where there are no sidewalks or crosswalks, but if you have to walk on a road that has no sidewalks, walk in the opposite direction as traffic
    • Evaluate the distance and speed of oncoming traffic before you step into the street
    • Wear bright colors or reflective clothing if you are walking or biking near traffic at night. Carry a flashlight when you walk in the dark
    • Avoid distracted walking - including looking at your phone or listening to music. If you listen to music, make sure it is at a low enough volume to hear vehicles approaching
    • Bicycle lights are a "must have" for safe night riding.

  • October 29, 2018 2:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Cincinnati Business Courier, by Chris Wetterich

    Mayor John Cranley’s plan to lessen Cincinnati’s impact on the climate will get major financial assistance from Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire philanthropist and former New York City mayor, the city and Bloomberg Philanthropies announced Monday.

    Bloomberg Charities will award the city $2.5 million, which includes the value of some technical expertise, to power city-owned facilities with renewable energy as well as accelerate energy efficiency programs for commercial and residential buildings.

    Cranley also announced two new participants, Procter & Gamble and Fifth Third Bank, in Cincinnati’s 2030 District, a public-private partnership spearheaded by the local environmental group, Green Umbrella, in which organizations and companies commit to reducing their buildings’ energy and water use as well as their transportation emissions by 50 percent by 2030. About 60 percent of Cincinnati’s global-warming causing greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings and 30 percent from transportation.

    “I’m confident that the gravitas of those institutions will inspire through peer pressure additional members,” Cranley said.

    The city plans to install large-scale renewable power generation at Greater Cincinnati Water Works as well as use 100 percent renewable energy to power city of Cincinnati facilities.

    Bloomberg’s American Cities Climate Challenge is a $70 million effort to accelerate 20 cities’ efforts to deal with climate change and promote a sustainable future. The city will be one of 20 in a two-year acceleration program and provided resources with the goal of helping it meet or beat the city’s near-term carbon reduction goals. Cities account for more than 70 percent of global carbon emissions.

    “Cities are helping to keep America moving forward on climate change despite the lack of leadership from Washington, and this challenge was designed to help innovative mayors reach their goals,” Bloomberg said in a news release. “We were looking for cities with ambitious and realistic plans to cut emissions in ways that improve people’s lives, and mayors committed to getting the job done.”

    The Green Cincinnati Plan includes 80 strategies to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent below 2006 levels by 2050.

    “It has become clear that cities and local municipalities will lead the global effort to fight climate change, and Cincinnati is on the front lines,” Cranley said. “I am encouraged by the changes we are making, but we have a lot of work left to do.”

  • October 24, 2018 12:12 PM | Anonymous member

    Source: Cincinnati Business CourierChris Wetterich

    Kroger will help lead a new effort to make urban properties green, Mayor John Cranley announced in his annual state-of-the-city speech on Tuesday.

    The nation’s operator of traditional supermarkets will be a founding member of Cincinnati’s 2030 District. 

    Cincinnati would be the 21st such district in the world. It is a public-private partnership spearheaded by the local environmental group, Green Umbrella. About $310,000 has been raised for the effort. 

    “The vision of the network is to establish a global network of thriving high performance building districts and cities, uniting communities to catalyze transformation in the built environment and the role it plays in mitigating and adapting to climate change,” according to the 2030 Districts website.

    Cincinnati’s environmental goals include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 84 percent below 2006 levels by 2050. Establishing a 2030 District, whose first phase would include most of downtown, is a part of the 2018 Green Cincinnati plan. Buildings and transportation are two of the city’s largest emission sources. Downtown contains about one-third of the city’s commercial square footage.

    Future phases would include Over-the-Rhine and Uptown as well as Covington and Newport in Northern Kentucky. 

    Other cities with districts include Albuquerque, N.M.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Austin, Texas; Burlington, Vt.; Cleveland; Dallas; Denver; Detroit; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Ithaca, N.Y.; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Portland, Maine; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; Stamford, Conn. and Toronto.

    Other local members include the Newsy Brand Studio, Emerson Design, Xavier University, Sol Design + Consulting and Rojas Design. 

    Kroger will commit to slashing its buildings’ energy and water use and transportation emissions by 50 percent by 2030. 

    They have lots of real estate,” Cranley said. 

    Kroger’s subsidiary, consumer data firm 84.51, also will join the effort along with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. 

    The mayor also hailed Kroger for eliminating plastic grocery bags by 2030. 

    Source: Cincinnati Business Courier, Chris Wetterich, 10/24/18

  • October 23, 2018 2:01 PM | Anonymous member

    Source: Journal-News, Mike Rutledge


    There’s a glowing, eerily peaceful blue-and-green Van Gogh bicycle path in Nuenen, the Netherlands, where artist Vincent Van Gogh lived and worked from 1883-1885. With a growing importance of bicycle paths and arts in Hamilton, some think the Butler County seat would be a good place for something similar.

    The path is illuminated using solar powered, light-emitting stones. Costs of such a project are not known.

    While nobody has formally proposed such a glowing path in Hamilton, two observers mused about the possibilities.

    “Hamilton has done such a great job of embracing the arts and promoting history and culture in their community,” said Wade Johnston, director of Tri-State Trails. “I think a trail is a really amazing way to see that manifest itself into the built environment.”

    MORE: The Great Miami River could be the next big destination in Hamilton. Here’s why.

    “What if we could have public art and beautiful landscaping that could be installed along the (proposed) Hamilton Beltline (bicycling/walking trail in the West Side), for promoting a sense of place, and encouraging reinvestment in Hamilton, which already has got some great momentum,” he said.

    Johnston said he believes an ideal location would be near the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, which is next to the Great Miami walking/biking path and also overlooks the Great Miami River.

    “The sculptural park is right in that vicinity, too,” Johnston said. He noted Cincinnati has its Mill Creek Greenway, which has an art installation called “The Space Walk,” a to-scale depiction of the solar system, with solar panels that make it glow during the night.

    RELATED: Hamilton’s Marcum Park named one of 5 Great Public Spaces in America

    “They also have edible landscaping along the trail, which is really cool, so during certain times of the year you can go and pick a fresh pear, and have that be part of your trail experience,” Johnston said.

    Ian Mackenzie-Thurley, executive director of the Fitton Center, said he has seen images of such paths.

    “It sounds interesting,” Mackenzie-Thurley said. “Anything that can lead to safer, more interesting bike paths…. It’s always good to be looking ahead.”

    And the idea about a segment near the Fitton Center?

    “We’d love that,” Mackenzie-Thurley said. “Anything ingenuitive, interesting, engaging to the Fitton Center and the city of Hamilton, we’re all about. And the usage you see on the trails is fantastic.”

    “Like any good arts center, we should be open to all new ideas, all new concepts,” he said, noting the new ramp that links the bike path to Hamilton’s Marcum Park and its RiversEdge concerts has further encouraged bicycling.

    “I have friends who park their cars in German Village and hop on the bike trail, come back in, grab something to eat,” he said. “They go to (Municipal) Brew Works. It’s not just recreational — it’s a social connector also.”

    “Hamilton has proven to be a place that’s willing to look at new things and new concepts, and try stuff out. I think it’s been a big part of the success that’s going on at the moment,” Mackenzie-Thurley said.

  • October 04, 2018 11:35 AM | Anonymous member

    Source: EIN Newsdesk

    The Fernald Preserve was recently selected as a regional “Greenspace Gem” by the Greater Cincinnati regional environmental sustainability alliance called Green Umbrella. Green Umbrella serves a 10 county region with a vision to facilitate positive environmental action resulting in the region being recognized as one of the top 10 most sustainable metro areas in the nation by 2020. Green Umbrella announced their five newly named regional  “Greenspace Gem” honorees on September 22, 2018 -- National Public Lands Day.

    Each of the five sites represents a story of public action to protect natural resources. Sites were selected by a team of experts from Green Umbrella's Greenspace Action Team, with a goal of highlighting natural areas in Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and southeast Indiana. Green Umbrella utilizes the “Greenspace Gems” as a way to raise awareness of regional greenspaces and the strategies used to protect them. This is a very positive recognition for the remediation, restoration, and community engagement work done at the Fernald Preserve which resulted in a regional, community asset that features expansive greenspace.

  • September 26, 2018 2:43 AM | Anonymous member

    Source: Northern Kentucky Tribune

    From wildflowers to trees and mussels to wetlands, Kenton County Parks & Recreation and the Kenton County Conservation District invite you to explore the natural surroundings of the Morning View Heritage Area on Saturday, September 29.

    Guided hikes will cover hilly, wooded, possibly wet and muddy terrain. Enjoy information booths staffed by local outdoor and nature-oriented organizations.

    Guided hikes will take place from 9:30 – 10:15 AM and 10:30 – 11:15 AM.  The approximately 1-mile mostly-forested trail will be muddy, wet, and rocky in places. Long sleeves and pants, a walking stick if desired, sturdy shoes with good treads are recommended.

    Feel free to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy during the visit. No dogs are allowed in the preserve.

    This event is a part of Great Outdoor Weekend through Green Umbrella – September 29 to 30. Check out other events here

    All ages are welcome, but anyone under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Attendees will be asked to sign a waiver prior to hiking.

    The Morning View Heritage Area is located at 15168 Decoursey Pike, Morning View 41063.

    Driving Directions: From Independence KY, go south on KY-17 (Madison Pk). Continue south through the KY-16 intersection. After an “Atwood” community sign, turn east (left) on KY-2042 (Moffett Rd). After 5.2 miles turn right on Kenton Station Rd (which is still KY-2042). Turn right on KY-177 and drive south about 5 minutes.

    Look for the preserve’s parking lot about ½ mile south of the KY-14 intersection where there is a Morning View Post Office. There is no sign yet but the new gravel parking lot is on the west side of Decoursey (KY-177), on the opposite side of the road from the railroad track. It has 2 entrances. A black barn with above sign is obvious behind a wood fence.

    Pre-registration is encouraged. Call Rhonda Ritzi from KCP&R at (859) 525-PLAY (7529). There is no cost to attend this event, however KCP&R collects donations of non-perishable food and personal care items for Be Concerned. To learn more about the Morning View Heritage Area, visit the Kenton County website.

    Kenton County Fiscal Court

  • September 24, 2018 1:32 PM | Anonymous member

    Source: WVXU Cincinnati, Dan Hurley

    Greater Cincinnati not only has a vibrant and growing arts, cultural and entertainment scene, it's also an amazing place to discover life in the great outdoors. And the 15th annual Great Outdoor Weekend, September 29 and 30, is the perfect opportunity to explore all our region has to offer.

    One of the largest outdoor samplers in the U.S., Great Outdoor Weekend features more than 100 free family-friendly events at more than 40 locations throughout Greater Cincinnati.

    Joining Cincinnati Edition for a preview of this year's Great Outdoor Weekend are Director of Tri-State Trails with Green Umbrella Wade Johnston; and Co-Chairs of Green Umbrella's Outdoor Action Team Chris Clements, executive director of Imago and Owen Nyswonger, Outdoor Programs and Outreach Market coordinator for REI

    Tune in to Cincinnati Edition September 24 at 1 p.m. to hear this segment.


    One of the largest outdoor samplers in the country features more than 100 free events throughout Greater Cincinnati, including Eden Park, pictured here.

  • September 24, 2018 9:24 AM | Anonymous member

    Source: Dearborn County Register

    Green Umbrella, Greater Cincinnati’s environmental sustainability alliance, has selected five new “Greenspace Gems” as part of an initiative celebrating the region’s expansive acreage of protected greenspace.

    The announcement is part of the organization’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of Public Lands Day, Sept. 22, which recognizes the connections between people and greenspace and promotes environmental stewardship.

    Greenspace Gems – selected by a team of conservation experts from Green Umbrella’s Greenspace Action Team – highlights natural areas in the Tri-State for their outstanding scenic value, biological diversity, scientific importance, or historic interest.  This set of Gems follows the inaugural set of five released earlier this year.

    The sites selected as part of the second round of Greenspace Gems are:

    • Oxbow (Dearborn County)
    • St. Anne Woods and Wetlands (Campbell County)
    • Fernald Preserve (Hamilton County)
    • Gilmore MetroPark (Butler County)
    • Sharon Woods Gorge (Hamilton County)

    Each of the sites represents the ecological diversity of Green Umbrella’s 10-county region and tells a story of public action to protect natural resources.

    “We hope this series will raise awareness of our greatest places and the strategies being used to protect them,” says Bob Temple, a founding member and current board member of Green Umbrella. “Expanding urbanization threatens our quality of life and the essential services that greenspaces provide. With public support and smart planning, we can keep our metro area sustainable, healthy and equitable.”

    Several of the Gems will host events during the 15th annual Great Outdoor Weekend, September 29 to 30.

    At the Oxbow, an Oxbow West Hike will be held Saturday, Sept. 29. Oxbow sunsets bring animals and birds galore. See it yourself during an Oxbow West 1.25 mile flat hike from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. No restrooms. Herons, beavers, egrets, otters and eagles are possible. Trips start at the upper Oxbow parking lot located off U.S. 50 in Lawrenceburg near Shell/Subway. You can also use Google Maps and search for “Oxbow Nature Conservancy.”

    An Oxbow East Hike will be held Sunday, Sept. 30. Oxbow East 1.5 mile flat hike will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. No restrooms. Heron, Diving Ducks and Eagles are possible. Meet in the Oxbow West parking lot  and carpool to the hike location.

    The largest outdoor recreation sampler event in the region, the weekend offers nearly 100 free, family-friendly outdoor events in nine counties including at several Gem sites.

    “Great Outdoor Weekend offers everyone from outdoor enthusiasts to those curious about the great outdoors opportunities to explore natural spaces throughout our region,” says Green Umbrella Outdoor Action Team Co-Chair and Director of Imago, Chris Clements.

    This year, Public Lands Day, the nation’s largest single-day volunteer event, will focus on restoration and resilience of public lands with beautification and clean-up events as well as free admission to federal lands. Green Umbrella has worked towards that mission since 1998 when it was launched to conserve greenspace and unite citizens and groups concerned about preserving and restoring the region’s wildlife and plants.

    Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, Green Umbrella’s work highlights the region’s great achievement in having protected over 116,000 acres of greenspace to date.

  • September 20, 2018 12:14 PM | Anonymous member

    Source: The River City News

    A site in Campbell County is among five newly named "Greenspace Gems" by Green Umbrella.

    The regional environmental sustainability alliance made the announcement on Thursday as part of the 25th anniversary of Public Lands Day on Saturday. The day celebrates the connections between people and greenspace, and promotes environmental stewardship.

    St. Anne Woods and Wetlands in Melbourne was among the sites selected by a team of experts from Green Umbrella's Greenspace Action Team, which aims to highlight natural areas in Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and southeast Indiana.

    Photo:  Hiking at St. Anne Woods and Wetlands, provided

    Other sites include Oxbow in Dearborn County, Fernald Preserve and Sharon Woods Gorge in Hamilton County, and Gilmore MetroPark in Butler County.

    Each of the sites represents the ecological diversity of Green Umbrella’s 10-county region and tells a story of public action to protect natural resources. ”We hope this series will raise awareness of our greatest places and the strategies being used to protect them,” says Bob Temple, a founding member and current board member of Green Umbrella. “Expanding urbanization threatens our quality of life and the essential services that greenspaces provide. With public support and smart planning, we can keep our metro area sustainable, healthy and equitable.”

    Several of the Gems will host events during the 15th annual Great Outdoor Weekend September 29-30. The largest outdoor recreation sampler event in the region, the weekend offers nearly 100 free, family-friendly outdoor events in nine counties including at several Gem sites.

    “Great Outdoor Weekend offers everyone from outdoor enthusiasts to those curious about the great outdoors opportunities to explore natural spaces throughout our region,” says Green Umbrella Outdoor Action Team Co-Chair and Director of Imago, Chris Clements. “There’s no better time to explore the Gems and learn about ways to protect our greenspaces for generations to come.” Many of the Great Outdoor Weekend events are accessible by public transportation.

  • September 18, 2018 12:11 PM | Anonymous member

    Source: Cincinnati Enquirer

    If 10 percent of consumers in our region shifted 10 percent of their food budget to purchasing foods grown within 100 miles of Cincinnati, it would infuse an estimated $56 million into our region’s economy. That’s about $12 a week for most families. That means a small behavioral shift by a small portion of our population could add up to some big economic wins for our communities. 

    For many people, buying local means shopping for in-season produce at farmers markets, where fruits and veggies are fresher, grown with minimal pesticides, and usually at or below the cost of equivalent produce at the grocery. For residents who live car-free, neighborhood markets such as Northside Farmers Market and the Healthy Harvest Mobile Market may be the most accessible source of quality fruits and veggies. If consumers are eligible for food assistance, Produce Perks Midwest will give them up to an additional $10/week to spend at a market for every $10 they spend on fresh produce.

    Shopping local does not mean having to shop at farmers markets, though. Community Supported Agriculture shares provide a weekly bag of fresh produce and other local products, and Local Food Connect allows consumers to shop online for local products and pick them up at locations across the region.

    While individual consumer practices can add up, there are also opportunities to effect bigger systems change. 

    For instance, Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) serves more than 8 million meals per year. Thanks to efforts by their school food service staff, a portion of that money is spent purchasing foods from local companies such as Our Harvest, Local Food Connect and KHI Foods. These businesses exclusively employ local workers and source products from local farmers. CPS’s efforts translate into increased jobs and wealth in our region.

    In an era dominated by national and global supply chains, purchasing locally is not always easy for big institutions like CPS. But with funding from the USDA Local Food Promotion Program, Green Umbrella is working to change that. Our Local Food Advocate is helping institutions understand how to increase their purchasing from local farmers, working to improve our regional aggregation and distribution systems, and helping local farmers undergo the food safety training needed to be able to sell to large companies.

    Another small thing consumers can do to create bigger systems change is to act as citizens of our democracy by letting our senators and representatives know that they want to see more healthy food options, reliable jobs and a stronger local economy supported in the 2018 Farm Bill. 

    The Farm Bill is an historically bi-partisan piece of legislation that is rewritten every four to six years to set numerous food and agriculture policies for our nation. The 2014 Farm Bill will expire at the end of September, and conference committee meetings are under way to resolve differences in the House and Senate versions of the bill. In the Senate’s version this year is the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP), which would permanently allocate $60 million to supporting activities like those described above that help expand access to fresh nutritious food for consumers, increase the customer base for small and mid-size farmers, and provide an economic boost to struggling rural economies.

    If you care about these things, I encourage you to call, write or tweet your senators and representatives and tell them you support LAMP in the Farm Bill. 

    Michaela Oldfield is Director of the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council, which is a cross-sector coalition advocating for an equitable, healthy, sustainable food system for all residents of the ten county region.

    Michaela Oldfield

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