City Hall demonstration vegetable garden takes root

Hopefully, City employee Green Team members also have green thumbs. Budget cuts that eliminated the City?s Springs in Bloom program earlier this year destined two triangle planters at the southeast entrance to City Hall to remain bare patches of dirt. Instead, the City?s Green Team has adopted these beds and planted a demonstration vegetable garden. City employees have volunteered over the lunch hour to plant carrots, radishes, beets, collard greens, swiss chard, asparagus, rhubarb, potatoes, broccoli, zucchini and squash. Mentoring the Green Team, many who are first-time gardeners, is Larry Stebbins with Pikes Peak Urban Gardens. Any vegetables harvested throughout the year will be donated to local food charities. Growing local food and eating plant-based meals cuts down on food-related greenhouse gas emissions and, in this case, will provide healthy unprocessed food for families in the Colorado Springs community.

USGBC conference has strong Colorado Springs presence with help from Councilmember Martin
Councilmember Jan Martin celebrated Earth Day this year at the Rocky Mountain Green Conference hosted by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Colorado Chapter. On April 22, Councilmember Martin spoke at the conference in Denver with elected officials from other Colorado communities.  She covered the environmental stewardship of the City organization and the chain reaction it has had on the larger community.  Councilmember Martin mentioned that despite a municipal budget deficit, the City?s Green Team has found creative ways to fulfill its goal to be a more sustainable organization and lead the community by example, including fostering sustainable building practices. She discussed the sustainable initiatives and practices of our local military institutions, such as the LEED-certified buildings on Fort Carson and a future solar array at the Air Force Academy, as major community assets.  She also mentioned several of our community?s LEED-certified buildings, including Colorado Springs Utilities? silver-certified water lab, University of Colorado College?s gold-certified recreation center, and the first core downtown building to receive LEED certification - the silver-certified Stratton Point Building. 
Make a fun shift... ride everyday - June is Bike Month in Colorado Springs
Metro Rides of the City of Colorado Springs organizes the Bike Month festivities every June to encourage bicycling for personal and community health, alternative transportation, recreation, and sustainability.  This year with be the 17th annual Bike Month, serving to unify the entire city and set a path for 2011 Bike Season.  The mission, is to Inspire the Pikes Peak Region?s cycling community through encouraging the use of bicycles as transportation, promoting safe riding habits and decreasing the barriers that the general public perceive to becoming a ?cyclist?. June Bike Month events to register for now:
May 27 ?Green? Bag lunch-n-learn: Time travel to a sustainable Colorado Springs ecocity

What if we could travel 50 years through time to the year 2060 where the City of Colorado Springs has become a thriving, sustainable metropolitan ecocity. What would that look like? At the Thursday, May 27 ?Green? Bag Lunch-n-Learn, Bill Beard, a local architect, LEED AP, and Pikes Peak Community College instructor, will share his vision for transitioning from a community burdened by resource-intensive sprawl to an ecologically healthy Colorado Springs. Beard?s vision proposes a culturally-vibrant, highly-livable city of 750,000 consistent with many of the values of the City?s current Comprehensive Plan. As a thesis project for the Southwest Studies Institute at Colorado College, Beard looked to apply knowledge available through twenty-first century planning, design and development theories to recreate a future urban environment for the health of both residents and natural places. Click here for event details. See below for future lunch-n-learn topics.

Explore nature with Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center programs this summer
Respect for our natural environment is core to environmental sustainability. There is no better way to create that respect that learning about the native plants and animals around us amid a spectacular setting. Part of the City?s Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center mission is to teach visitors and residents about the park?s amazing biodiversity. Each Wednesday you can join a guide at 5 p.m. for a free Prairie Falcon Walk. Or, beginning June 15 you can enjoy free Bat Walks at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday nights. Free wildflower, bird, and insect walks are also scheduled throughout the summer season.    
Going Greener - upcoming eco events:

Environmental Sustainability E-Newsletter from the City of Colorado Springs

Question? (719) 385-CSGN (2746) or cmccausland@springsgov.com. 
This e-newsletter funded by the State of Colorado Department of Local Affairs and City of Colorado Springs.