• June 22, 2017 2:12 PM | Anonymous

    Kids Outdoors! A Green Umbrella Success Story

    Outdoor activities provide well-documented health benefits, both physical and mental.

    Nature brings us “good tidings,” as John Muir wrote so simply a century ago.  More explicitly, best-selling author Richard Louv tells us that “direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults.”

    But many children instead spend their time looking at those oh-so-addictive screens.  Many more live in paved urban areas where access to greenspace may be limited.

    Introducing children to the wonders of outdoor adventure can result in healthier citizens and a more sustainable community.

    Green Umbrella addresses the issue with the annual Kids Outdoor Adventure Expo, one of the nation’s largest outdoor recreation and nature education events for children.  This free event for children ages 5 to 12 features activities designed to let kids move, splash, explore, and discover nature.

    On a morning in July families, day camps, recreation centers, and other participants bring some 5,000 children to a spacious local park.  Buses from all over the city provide special opportunities for many children, some of whom rarely leave their urban neighborhoods.  The bus transportation is free, with participation limited only by funding available to Green Umbrella.

    On arrival, kids find more than sixty activities and exhibits to enjoy.  In 2017, the event’s twelfth year, they can have fun participating in active adventures including

    • Let’s move!  Learn about safety, nutrition, and health — run, jump, climb, dance, and complete an obstacle course.
    • Let’s explore!  Learn about nature and wildlife — discover and get up close with things found in our own back yards.
    • Let’s splash!  Learn about aquatic life and water safety — fish, paddle, and get drenched with knowledge.
    • Let’s be green!  Learn how to care for our world by reducing, reusing, and recycling — plant, garden, and make crafts from reused material.

    The people who make Kids Outdoor Adventure Expo happen are staff from Green Umbrella and Great Parks of Hamilton County, volunteers from our Outdoor Action Team and member organizations, and exhibitors.  Providing thousands of children with unique experiences and lasting memories is rewarding work for all.  Funds from sponsorships and donations make the event possible.

    Green Umbrella considers the equity aspects of Kids Expo especially important.  Our sustainability mission extends to all citizens of our region, and the inclusion of those with more limited opportunities is a benefit for everyone.

    Children who learn to enjoy nature can become the next generation of healthy stewards of the environment.

    Written by Bob Temple, longtime member of Green Umbrella's Board of Trustees.


    Green Umbrella is the leading alliance working to maximize the environmental sustainability of Greater Cincinnati. We drive collaboration to fuel measurable improvements in key areas of sustainability. Our vision is to have the region recognized as one of the top 10 most sustainable metro areas in the nation by 2020. For more information or to become a member, please visit www.greenumbrella.org.

  • June 22, 2017 11:05 AM | Anonymous

    In the last month, members of the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council (FPC) have been involved in two important successes for creating a healthier, equitable, sustainable food system in our region. These are exciting first steps for Council in accomplishing their 2017-2019 Policy Agenda:

    • Cincinnati City Council passed an Urban Agriculture motion on June 1 directing city departments to work together to increase access and reduce the costs of city land for urban agriculture. Thanks to Alan Wight, Denisha Porter, Robin Henderson, Tevis Foreman and all the others on the FPC who helped facilitate the conversations with the right people!
    • The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) issued guidelines on "Sharing Tables", allowing students who have whole, unopened food they will not eat to place the food on a common table for others to consume and for distribution through weekend backpack programs and food pantries. Thanks to Jenny Lohman, Kelly Schwegman and members of the Assessment, Planning, Zoning and Food Waste work group for sharing their knowledge and helping spur ODH to issue this guidance.
  • June 20, 2017 11:06 AM | Anonymous

    There's still time to register your event or become a sponsor for the14th annual Great Outdoor Weekend. The event will take place on September 23 & 24, providing the opportunity for 10,000+ people to sample the best outdoor recreation and nature awareness programs in the Greater Cincinnati region. The deadline to have your event or sponsor recognition included in our print materials is July 7. To register an event, click here. To become a sponsor, click here.

  • June 19, 2017 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    Sharing Resources for Food Security: A Green Umbrella Success Story

    Green Umbrella recognized a funding opportunity for our members.

    In mid-2016, a legal settlement known as the Duke Class Benefit Fund offered grants for projects related to energy efficiency.

    Green Umbrella’s Executive Director saw an opportunity connecting multiple sustainability focus areas — energy, food, and waste.  One of our seven working groups, the Energy Action Team, targets renewable energy and energy conservation.  Another group, the Local Food Action Team, works to encourage production, distribution, and consumption of local food.  A third group, the Waste Reduction Action Team, seeks to reduce waste going to landfills.  A related Green Umbrella initiative, the Regional Food Policy Council, addresses food security as it works to advance a healthy, equitable, and sustainable food system.

    Green Umbrella’s idea to address multiple areas of opportunity was energy-efficient refrigeration.  Refrigeration is a costly factor in the food chain and one that reduces waste.  Help with funding would benefit several Green Umbrella member organizations.

    A grant application went forward in October 2016 and received approval a month later.

    Green Umbrella invited member organizations to share the grant funds.  About a dozen members applied.  A review committee — knowledgeable people not associated with the applicants — made the selections.  Regrettably, not all worthy applicants could be funded, since requests totaled three times the available funds.

    On April 10, 2017, a press release announced:

    Green Umbrella Members Work Together to Support Farmers, Feed the Hungry, Reduce Food Waste, and Conserve Energy

    Six member organizations shared $75,000 to provide energy-efficient refrigeration.  By special request, the grantors made funds available early, for use in this growing season.

    Briefly, these are the recipients and their missions:

    Our Harvest Cooperative creates access to healthy, local food in a way that honors land and labor.

    Ohio Valley Food Connection helps increase the amount of local food purchased by bridging the logistical gap between buyers and suppliers.

    La Soupe helps close the gap between food waste and hunger by rescuing otherwise wasted food to create nutritious meals.

    Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati builds community through gardening, education, and environmental stewardship.

    Gabriel’s Place creates a space for neighbors in Avondale to reclaim health, self, and sense of community through the language of food.

    Dirt: A Modern Market expands the market for local growers and producers and promotes community involvement with healthy eating and living.

    With their new refrigeration capacity, these grant recipients will be able to carry out their various missions better — getting locally sourced food into the hands of people in need, encouraging local agriculture and gardens, and reducing food waste.

    Collective Impact made this happen — reinforcing one another’s efforts around a shared agenda.  Green Umbrella, the Regional Sustainability Alliance, is the “backbone” organization that coordinates joint initiatives.  As in this example, the results exceed what individual organizations can achieve individually.

    Written by Bob Temple, longtime member of Green Umbrella's Board of Trustees.


    Green Umbrella is the leading alliance working to maximize the environmental sustainability of Greater Cincinnati. We drive collaboration to fuel measurable improvements in key areas of sustainability. Our vision is to have the region recognized as one of the top 10 most sustainable metro areas in the nation by 2020. For more information or to become a member, please visit www.greenumbrella.org.

  • June 12, 2017 4:30 PM | Anonymous

    Great Outdoor Weekends! A Green Umbrella Success Story

    Dozens of active events in nature, hosted by the major outdoor-oriented organizations in the region, all free — it was a huge hit right from the beginning.

    The idea came from the Cincinnati Nature Center. They modeled it on Arts Sampler Weekend, sponsored by the Fine Arts Fund (now ArtsWave). With permission, they (sort of) copied it and called it Great Outdoor Weekend, a community-wide showcase of outdoor recreation and education.

    The first GOW, in September 2004, featured about 100 events at three dozen locations across the Tri-State Region. Planned as an all-volunteer effort, the need for some kind of responsible management quickly became evident. In ensuing years, the Nature Center, Cincinnati Zoo, and Hamilton County Parks (now Great Parks) took turns with the job. Participants grew toward 5,000.

    After the 2009 event, Great Outdoor Weekend was in trouble.  Despite continuing and growing popularity, the original lead organizations were finding the effort burdensome. Without long-term commitment by a reliable presenter, the entire thing seemed about to die.

    Green Umbrella took on the challenge, beginning in 2010. A volunteer manager stepped forward. A hired coordinator, sponsors, and more volunteers joined the effort. GOW went on again that year, with 45 organizations hosting an estimated 6,000 participants.

    Green Umbrella does its work through Action Teams, organized to drive progress on specific sustainability issues.  The Outdoor Action Team, focused on outdoor recreation, embraced GOW as a project beginning in 2012.  As Green Umbrella grew in organizational strength, its staff took over the management. A member organization, Cincinnati Wild Flower Preservation Society, came forward to provide major continuing financial support.

    Today Great Outdoor Weekend continues to provide opportunities for children and adults to sample the best outdoor recreation and nature awareness programs in our region. Three partners make the event happen every September — Green Umbrella staff, volunteers from the Outdoor Action Team, and the member organizations that host events. Many organizations find GOW a valuable benefit of their membership, a way to promote themselves and attract new supporters.

    The success and long-term stability of this important community event illustrate the power of Collective Impact.  This disciplined approach brings organizations and individuals together around a common vision, reinforcing one another’s efforts. The resulting collaboration can produce results far surpassing efforts from individual organizations on their own.

    Great Outdoor Weekend in 2017 will offer more than 120 events at about 50 locations in three states, with participation anticipated to exceed 10,000. We believe this is the largest free showcase for outdoor activities in the United States.  Check it out at www.greatoutdoorweekend.org.

    Plans call for more events that will expand appeal to new audiences and all ages. More activities in urban areas and accessibility by public transit will open Great Outdoor Weekend to underserved citizens.

    The last weekend in September is Great Outdoor Weekend — now a signature event of Green Umbrella!

    Written by Bob Temple, longtime member of Green Umbrella's Board of Trustees.


    Green Umbrella is the leading alliance working to maximize the environmental sustainability of Greater Cincinnati. We drive collaboration to fuel measurable improvements in key areas of sustainability. Our vision is to have the region recognized as one of the top 10 most sustainable metro areas in the nation by 2020. For more information or to become a member, please visit www.greenumbrella.org.

  • June 08, 2017 12:04 PM | Anonymous

    PRESS RELEASE                                                                                      
    For Immediate Release

    For more information contact:
    Kristin Weiss, kristin@greenumbrella.org513.541.1538
    Executive Director, Green Umbrella 

    Greater Cincinnati is the Outdoor Mecca of the Midwest – Here’s Why

    CINCINNATI, OH – In honor of Great Outdoors Month and the third time that Cincinnati will be hosting the Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit – both taking place this June, Green Umbrella compiled the top 10 reasons why Greater Cincinnati is the outdoor mecca of the Midwest. To see how the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky metro area ranks in terms of access to outdoor adventure, greenspace, and locally-grown food, we gathered national accolades and asked park managers, regional planners, health department officials, conservation leaders, outdoor outfitters, canoe liveries, paddling enthusiasts, bicycling and trail advocates, local food gurus, and more. Here’s what they said:

    1. Trails: Where else in the Midwest can you access 23,000 miles of long distance trails and a local network of 330 miles of multi-use trails, 250 miles of hiking trails, 80 miles of on-road bike lanes, and 60 miles of mountain-biking trails? We're also home to the Little Miami Scenic Trail – the third longest paved trail in the country.

    2. Greenspace: Our verdant topography features scenic hilltops and abundant greenspace – over 101,000 acres of protected greenspace to be exact. A leader in these conservation efforts is Great Parks of Hamilton County, which alone preserves and protects over 17,000 acres of greenspace.

    3. Parks: Cincinnati's park system is ranked Top 10 by the Trust for Public Land which ranks the "Parkscore" of the 100 Largest Cities (and we have the most top 10 rankings). Local favorites include Smale Riverfront Park, Washington Park, and Eden Park but don’t forget to check out Mt. Airy Forest.

    4. Paddling: We have 5 rivers (FIVE!) that flow year-round with nearly 6,000 stream miles in the region which support 14 canoe/kayak/SUP board liveries. One-of-a-kind local events celebrating these waterways include The Ohio River Paddlefest - one of America’s largest paddling events and the largest SUP race in Midwest, and the oldest triathlon with a canoe/kayak leg replacing the traditional swim portion at Morgan’s Canoe.

    5. Tree Canopy: Ohio has been ranked #1 in Tree City USA Communities for 37 years by The Arbor Day Foundation, and regionally over 280,000 trees have been planted through the Taking Root campaign.

    6. Outfitters: We are proud to have over 60 outdoor outfitters and bike shops to support the outdoor active living that we enjoy year-round with our 4-season moderate climate.

    7. Local Food: With more than 90 restaurants and cafes that source locally, nearly 60 farmers markets including Findlay Market – Cincinnati’s thriving open-air market, PLUS 34 craft breweries, our region's commitment to locally-grown food is serious (and seriously delicious).

    8. Sample the Outdoors: Every September, adults and kids alike can sample the region's best outdoor recreation and nature awareness programs during Great Outdoor Weekend with 100+ free activities in 3 states over 2 days.

    9. Equity: Cincinnati just received a Playful City USA designation by ensuring that kids in our community, particularly from low-income families, get the active play they need to thrive. Local initiatives connecting low-access communities to the great outdoors include Outdoor Adventure Clubs, Kids Outdoor Adventure Expo, and Everybody’s Treehouse.

    10. Best in Class: We've got the greenest zoo, the oldest observatory, and the largest member supported nature center in America, a certified green marathon, a bike share program with over 50 stations, and world class climbing just two hours away at Red River Gorge.


    Green Umbrella is the leading alliance working to maximize the environmental sustainability of Greater Cincinnati. With major funding from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and Interact for Health, we drive collaboration to fuel measurable improvements in key areas of sustainability. Our vision is to have the region recognized as one of the top 10 most sustainable metro areas in the nation by 2020. For more information or to become a member, please visit www.greenumbrella.org.

  • May 24, 2017 2:39 PM | Anonymous

    May 25, 2017

    For more information, contact:
    Danny Korman, Tri-State Trails Ambassador

    Tour Draws Attention to Canal Bikeway, a Model for Cincinnati’s Expanding Bicycling Infrastructure

    CINCINNATI, OH –Tri-State Trails hosted the Canal Bikeway Ride, a 13-mile, beginner-paced tour that traveled from downtown to Northside and back on May 21. Tri-State Trails Ambassador Danny Korman led 50 bicyclists on a tour along this historic transportation corridor, the former Miami and Erie Canal, which bicycling advocates lovingly call Canal Bikeway.

    “Canal Bikeway Ride exhibits the full spectrum of bike infrastructure Cincinnati has to offer, such as multi-use trails, protected and standard bike lanes, and shared paths,” said Frank Henson, Chair of Tri-State Trails and President of Queen City Bike. “We’re excited to get more folks actively using this corridor and simultaneously building support for continued improvements.”

    The beginner-paced ride started at the Sawyer Point Ride Bike station and then departed for Eggleston Avenue and Central Parkway, before connecting with the Mill Creek Greenway in Northside and returning along a section of Spring Grove Avenue in Camp Washington. The route is mostly flat with slight grade changes up Eggleston Avenue and down Ludlow Viaduct. This corridor also features an ArtWorks mural called Locks, Docks, and Barrels, which celebrates the former canal as an historic part of Cincinnati’s commerce and infrastructure, which connected trade from the Ohio River to the Great Lakes.

    Cincinnati Metro had a hybrid bus with a bike rack at the ride midpoint in Salway Park. Riders practiced loading bicycles and received basic bus information, bike-and-ride brochures, and giveaways. Tanner Yess updated riders on Groundwork Cincinnati-Mill Creek’s efforts to plant trees, build trails, and engage the public in river improvements.

    “As biking becomes more popular in Greater Cincinnati, we want to encourage more people to bike and ride the bus,” said Alison DeFisher, External Affairs Specialist for Metro. “Partnering with Tri-State Trails was a great opportunity to get out in the community and show how easy it is to go Metro with your bike.”

    Tri-State Trails with support from Green Umbrella, Cincinnati Metro, Queen City Bike, and UC Sustainability collaborated on the ride. It is one of several Green Umbrella outdoor event series in 2017, including Kids Outdoor Adventure Expo July 14 at Winton Woods and Great Outdoor Weekend Sept. 23-24 held at various locations around the region.


    Tri-State Trails is an initiative of Green Umbrella with funding from Interact for Health. It’s a coalition of trail advocates, physical network of trails, and vision to connect Greater Cincinnati. The mission is to connect people and places via a regional trails network that promotes vibrant communities through equitable access to active transportation and outdoor recreation. For more information, visit www.tristatetrails.org.

  • May 24, 2017 1:47 PM | Anonymous

    For May 24, 2017

    For more information contact:
    Amy Yokel, amy@greenumbrella.org
    Communications & Program Manager, Green Umbrella

    Where Sustainability Meets Equity: Creating a Greener Future for ALL
    Join national and local leaders in Cincinnati to find ways to create a greener and more inclusive economy

    CINCINNATI, OH – Can one solution fix two problems? Imagine creating opportunities for economic growth that not only support our vulnerable planet, but uplift vulnerable populations as well. This year’s 3rd Annual Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit on June 9th at Xavier University’s Cintas Center is looking to bridge that gap by exploring economic opportunities that are both socially and environmentally just.

    Green Umbrella is partnering with the City of Cincinnati, The Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier University, Greater Cincinnati Green Business Council, and Hamilton County Planning + Development to bring this event to the region.

    “At this year’s Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit, we’ll explore new and promising areas of environmental sustainability, while taking a deeper look at the issue of equity,” says Kristin Weiss, Executive Director of Green Umbrella, “This event is about engaging in new and thoughtful dialogue, sharing best practices, celebrating work currently being done in sustainability throughout the Midwest, and identifying areas for future collaboration. Each year, we seek to widen the table around the issue of environmental sustainability, and we’ve been encouraged by the huge business and community interest in exploring this year’s theme of equity and sustainability.”

    To underscore this theme, the keynote speaker this year is Van Jones. Jones is, among many things, a leader working to build an equitable green economy. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in linking the economy, the environment and social justice, notably through initiatives he has founded such as The Dream Corps, Green for All and Rebuild the Dream. The event will also feature:

    • A panel discussion among leaders of our city and peer regions, with Van Jones moderating, on how equity can become more universal in city sustainability work.
    • A lunchtime awards ceremony honoring area local small business leaders who have successfully incorporated sustainability into their business practices,
    • Ten breakout sessions diving deeper into sustainability topics such as sustainable business supply chains, the digital workforce, waste reduction and the circular economy, transportation, economic development, and the Green Cincinnati Plan.

    This event is open to the public. Presenting sponsors are The Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier University and Fifth Third Bank. For more information and to register, visit www.midwestsustainabilitysummit.org. Registration includes full day admission, a locally-sourced lunch, and a reception featuring local craft beer from MadTree Brewery at the conclusion of the event.


    Green Umbrella is the leading alliance working to maximize the environmental sustainability of Greater Cincinnati. We’re driving collaboration to fuel measurable improvements in key areas of sustainability. Our vision is to have the region recognized as one of the top 10 most sustainable metro areas in the nation by 2020.

    For more information, visit www.greenumbrella.org.

  • May 23, 2017 3:29 PM | Anonymous

    Green Umbrella received a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly Business rating from the League of American Bicyclists. Five Cincinnati businesses received ratings from the league, including members Trek Bicycle Stores of Cincinnati and Human Nature, Inc. To learn more and see the other awardees, click here.

  • May 16, 2017 10:48 AM | Anonymous

    Friday, May 19 is Bike to Work Day! This last day of Bike to Work Week is your chance at a free commute, but for one day only! Cyclists across the Greater Cincinnati region can commute for free on Friday, thanks to a partnership between Metro, the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK), Clermont Transportation Connection (CTC) and Butler County Regional Transit Authority (BCRTA) for National Bike to Work Day. To learn more, click here.

    Bike to Work Week is a voluntary commuter challenge started in 1956 by the League of American Bicyclists designed to encourage everyone throughout the US to ride their bicycles to and from work for one week out of the year. Each year in Greater Cincinnati the program becomes more and more popular and sees an ever-increasing number of participants. 

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