Looking to Our Future: Pikes Peak Region 2030 video released

One of many things Colorado Springs residents can be thankful for this holiday are all of the great, sustainable efforts moving forward in our community. This short 5-minute video, which first aired to great acclaim at the Colorado Sustainability Conference last month, explores sustainability and showcases just a few of our community’s many success stories. A much longer piece, being created in partnership with Pikes Peak Regional Building, Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, Pikes Peak Library District and others is expected to begin airing on PPLD TV next month. Happy Thanksgiving!

City of Colorado Springs earns Bicycle Friendly Business recognition

In October, the League of American Bicyclists recognized the City of Colorado Springs with a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) award for its City Administration Building (CAB). The CAB facilities provide employees access to showers, lockers, bicycle lockers, secure bicycle parking and a wellness program with rewards for physical activity. When employees bike they become healthier, reduce heath care costs, connect to community and save money. The City joins a group of close to 500 local businesses, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies across the United States incorporating bicycling into the American workplace. In fact, it was earlier this year when Colorado Springs Utilities was awarded the first BFB in Colorado Springs that the City recognized their opportunity to apply. Currently, the Colorado Springs community is ranked a Silver Bicycle Friendly Community. To help reach the next level, we challenge other Colorado Springs businesses to also apply to the free BFB program. Learn more at bikeleague.org/businesses.

2012 Colorado Springs bicycle infrastructure improvements

As bicycle infrastructure season winds down, we can celebrate some of our 2012 improvements, including a milestone of reaching 100 miles of bicycle lanes. The City of Colorado Springs was able to add nearly 9 miles of bicycle lanes on 16 different streets in 2012, including the first buffered bicycle lanes on Union Boulevard (pictured) between Monterey Road and the Circle Drive overpass in the southeast part of the city.  The City was also awarded a $200,000 federal grant to construct bicycle lanes on Hancock Avenue/Expressway between Hancock Drive and E. Bijou Street – that project will begin design in 2013. Finally, included in the PPRTA extension 2015 – 2024 project list that was recently approved by voters are $3M for more on-street bikeway improvements and $5M for trail improvements in Colorado Springs. Ride on!

Give! 2012 offers chance to support everything from recycling to the great outdoors

This year’s Give! 2012 campaign is on track to raise more funds and support more local non-profits than ever before. Why? Because donating will also get you cool rewards like coffee, gallery admissions, tacos and the chance to qualify to win a Heuburger Subaru car or SunShare solar panels. Nearly 20 sustainability-minded non-profits and many others are available for your support from Pikes Peak Recycling on the Rise to Pikes Peak Urban Gardens, from Catamount Institute to the Energy Resource Center, from the Trails and Open Space Coalition to Colorado Springs Community Centers, from the Friends of Red Rock Canyon to the Friends of Monument Valley Park, from Kids on Bikes to the Mile High Youth Corps of Colorado Springs. The groups that get the most donors under the age of 36 will win additional cash prizes (up to $5,000 extra). That and matching grants mean that even contributing the minimum $10 donation can add up to much more. Visit indygive.com through Dec. 31 to learn about participating non-profits, check out rewards and donate either time or money to the causes of your choice!   

Fort Carson announces Sustainability Award winners

In October, Fort Carson announced their 2012 sustainability award winners both on base and in the community. Pictured are community winners Colorado Springs Urban Intervention (for Better Block Pikes Peak) Alicia Archibald, Sarah White (for Looking to Our Future: Pikes Peak Region 2030) and others. Note that all of the community winners have been partners with the City on their efforts. Congratulations!

Survival... via Sustainability Photo Snap-off Winners

Colorado Springs Sustainability and the Pikes Peak Library District teamed up to create a Survival… via Sustainability Photo Snap-off facebook contest to honor this year’s All Pikes Peak Reads selections surrounding the theme of survival. We can all relate to the need to prepare for devastating emergencies, food security via local food and resource conservation via recycling. Jessica McMullen of Colorado Springs won the Recycling category for her photo of a backyard chicken coop made from an old dog house and freecycled chicken wire. Jessica won: a Grant Family Farms sampler share (1 week of medium veggie share, fruit share and 1 dozen farm fresh eggs), Ranch Foods Direct family bundle of Callicrate beef, Pizzaria Rustica gift certificate, Pikes Peak Urban Gardens DVD Guide to Growing Vegetables in the Pikes Peak Region, reusable Waste Management aluminum water bottle and reusable grocery bag all packaged in a tote made from reused City banners. Christina Rochette of Colorado Springs won the Local Food category for her photo of rosehip jelly in progress made from wild rosehips and local honey.  Christina won: three months of advertising on a Greener Corners bin, a gift certificate for Salvation Army shopping; four Wine Punts drinking glasses made from reused wine bottles; durable REI coffee press mug; reusable Waste Management aluminum water bottle; gift certificate to Ranch Foods Direct; Bestway Recyclerrific t-shirt, hat, first aid kit and reusable grocery bag all packaged in a tote made from reused City banners. Congratulations! Check out our facebook page here.

Horticultural Arts Society Demonstration Garden at Memorial Valley Park receives All-America Selections national award

A renaissance is occurring at the more than 50-year old Demonstration Garden at Monument Valley Park as evidenced by a first place landscape design award from All-America Selections (AAS), a non-profit that promotes plants that work well across the country. In last summer’s garden, Horticultural Arts Society Gardener Peg Kohl concentrated on a "Winners Through the Decades" theme demonstrating an integrated vegetable garden. She selected tried, true and tested home garden plants including greens and cucumbers that were AAS winners in the 30s; tomatoes and radishes from the 40s; radishes, lettuce, and zucchini and beans from the 50s; squash and peas from the 70s; beans, herbs and peas from the 90s; and a slew of other varieties such as melons, carrots, eggplant, peas, squash, tomatoes and peppers from the 2000s. The Horticultural Arts Society, a 501C3 and the City’s oldest partner organization, supports the garden, including funding for Peg Kohl’s position, improvements and the coordination of volunteer staff. We can't wait to see what they do next growing season!

Colorado Springs trees will need water this winter

Even though urban trees in Colorado Springs are going dormant, our dry fall weather means that they will require care over the winter to remain in top health. “It’s very important to prepare your trees for winter’s cold, arid conditions, and also to continue watering them during drier periods over the next several months,” said Keith Wood, community forestry program manager for the Colorado State Forest Service. He emphasizes that younger trees require the most care. Wood says urban trees require additional, regular watering over the winter. During extended dry periods (2-3 weeks without rain or snow cover), provide supplemental water. The best time for winter watering is on warmer days, when snow has melted off and the temperature is above 40 degrees.

What to know for required residential electronics recycling in 2013: City Green Bag Lunch-n-Learn Thursday, Nov. 29

A state ban on electronic waste in landfills goes into effect in 2013 and means that resident electronics can no longer be thrown away (it’s already illegal for businesses to throw away e-waste). Learn how this bill will create jobs, where you can recycle electronics in Colorado Springs, what to look for in an e-recycling firm and how to protect yourself against identity theft. Drew Johnson, with Colorado Springs-based Blue Star Recyclers, will share Blue Star’s award-winning non-profit electronics recycling program, which employs members of our local disAbled community. The lunch-n-learn runs over the noon lunch hour, from 12:11 to 12:49 p.m., at the City Administration Building, 30 S. Nevada, in Suite 102. Attendees are encouraged to bring and enjoy their lunches during the presentation. Residents can support local recycling efforts and win rewards for themselves by donating through the Give! 2012 campaign. Contributing to Blue Star Recyclers or Pikes Peak Recycling on the Rise this month would honor America Recycles Day. Questions? Contact City of Colorado Springs Sustainability Coordinator Carrie McCausland, 719-385-CSGN (2746) or cmccausland@springsgov.com.

Going Greener: