At Lightning 100’s Team Green Adventures, we love the outdoors. We are passionate about maintaining a clean, sustainable environment for all to enjoy, and it is our goal to get the community of Middle Tennessee involved in our efforts. That’s why we incorporate as many community service events as we can to help raise awareness about environmental concerns.
Each year Team Green Adventures hosts multiple waterway cleanups to collect litter from our beautiful creeks and streams. In 2015, over 100 volunteers gathered for six different waterway cleanups; together we gathered 167 bags of trash and 118 tires!
With 2016 well under way and 2015 fading in the distance in our rear-view, it can be easy to forget all that we accomplished over the last year. Supporting the Nashville community through service is a core part of Team Green’s mission, and 2015 was our best year yet in terms of how much we gave back to Middle Tennessee. Before we dive too deep into the new year, let’s take a look back at all of the great opportunities we had over the last year to lend a hand to the community that so enthusiastically support us day in and day out:
With a thriving music scene, trendy restaurants, and a flourishing community, Nashville is rapidly gaining attention as a top destination in the US. As the city expands, it is increasingly important to invest in its preservation and well-being. This week, we met with one of the key advocates for our community, Nora Kern, Executive Director of Walk Bike Nashville. Nora has channeled her passion for active transportation into a movement that enables people all over Nashville to fall in love with our city in a brand new way.
The Start of a Movement
Walk Bike Nashville was founded in 1998 by a group of passionate advocates in the community who saw a need for increased accessibility to alternative transportation. The mission of the organization is simple: to see more people out riding bikes and walking on the sidewalks of Nashville. When I sat down with Nora, I was instantly drawn into her energy and passion. Within minutes of the start of our conversation, it became clear that Walk Bike Nashville is less about just eliminating emissions and more about an exciting – and contagious – lifestyle.
“For us, it’s all about Nashville, its about the city, and our community,” Nora said. “That’s the great thing about biking. It ties us all closer to our city. When I bike to work I run into friends and I meet new people, and when I’m out walking I see the city from a much more intimate perspective. We want to have more people know about us so that we can get more people out riding and on the sidewalks.”
Nora’s team accomplishes this by focusing on educational programs as well as engaging events to bring together our community.
Whether you’ve never gotten on a bike or use one every day, there are opportunities for you to get involved in a more active lifestyle. Walk Bike University is a program geared towards educating the Nashville community about the world of active transportation. Classes are free or low-cost and cover everything from how sidewalks are made to how to ride a bike. More advanced classes include hands-on experience with city bicycling to build confidence and safety. To get involved, check out the Walk Bike University class schedule here.
If you’re already comfortable on a bike and find yourself riding to events around town, be sure to take advantage of Walk Bike Nashville’s free bike valet.
“There are more and more great events and festivals in Nashville, but often there is no place to park your bike,” Nora explained. “It’s really important to know that you will have a secure location to leave your bike so that you know it’s not going to be stolen or picked up. It’s a great service because it makes biking a legitimate form of transportation, on the same level as parking a car, and it also helps events that are concerned about the environment and the impact transportation might be causing. The great part about bikes is that there are no emissions and no traffic.”
The process is simple – ride to an event that has bike valet set up and park it with Walk Bike Nashville. They will give you a claim tag, carefully watch over your gear, and return it to you at the end of the night. The service is free to bicyclists and eliminates the need to find and pay for parking. Lightning 100 offers this incredible service during every Live on the Green and parked hundreds of bikes during the festival this past weekend. For more information on Walk Bike Nashville’s bike valet, check out this link.
Looking to hit the roads more regularly? Give it a shot and bike to work once this week. It will take a bit more planning than usual, but you might find it to be an addictive and energizing way to start your day. Follow this simple checklist before taking off.
Check your gear – make sure that your tires are inflated to the proper pressure (indicated on the side of the tire wall), your brakes operate smoothly, and that your chain isn’t rusty or damaged.
Bring the necessities – wear a well-fitted helmet and pack a water bottle. If you know you’ll be leaving your bike outside, bring a bike lock as well.
Know your route – as the trails and bike routes in Nashville increase, it is becoming easier to get from point A to point B. Check out these bike mapsto plan your commute.
Plan to pack – bring a bag with a change of clothes, a snack, and your work gear to insure that your day is as great as your morning ride.
Remember that you don’t have to bike to work everyday to improve your lifestyle. Even getting on the roads once a week will help you connect with the city in a new way and invigorate your normal routine. Nora shared several reasons why she enjoys biking to work:
“For me, walking and biking are all about being a part of our city. I’m from Nashville; I know the city really well and have always had an appreciation for it. The last two or three years, I’ve spent a lot of time on foot and on bike and it really made me appreciate the city from a whole new perspective and it makes you feel like you’re actually a part of the city, not just passing through it. I want to help create a city that encourages human interaction, healthy lifestyles – a city that is meant to be lived in, not driven through.”
Taking the Next Step
Interested in learning more about Walk Bike Nashville? Be sure to check out their website and get involved. You might just find that an energizing and exciting new lifestyle is closer than you think!
Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again – the weather is hot, school is back in session, and Lightning 100’s Live on the Green is returning! This year marks the 7th time we’ll be taking over Public Square Park for the biggest free concert series in town, and we hope you’ll join us for the fun!
Live on the Green started with a vision to create an event that was by Nashville and for Nashville, and we’ve always tried to make sure the festival embodies the values Music City stands for. For that reason, sustainability has always been a central component of Live on the Green’s mission, as we want to host an event that is as environmentally and socially responsible as possible. The festival takes place in what is perhaps Nashville’s most eco-friendly park, where the courthouse lawn doubles as a green roof over a parking garage and the fountains use recycled rainwater to supply Nashvillians young and old with a place to cool off on a hot summer day.
We do as much as possible to make our event sustainable, but we need your help to make it happen! As a follow-up to our Buzzfeed feature on 10 reasons to be excited about Live on the Green, here are 10 ways you can help us and our community partners make 2015 the most environmentally-responsible year of Live on the Green yet:
1. Ride A Bike
Each year, we partner with Walk Bike Nashvilleto host a free bike valet for anyone who wants to use a little pedal power to get to Live on the Green. Last year, more than 800 Nashvillians biked to Live on the Green, setting a new record for bike valet usage. We’re hoping for an even greater number this year, and with the capacity to check more than 250 bikes during each show date, we think we can do it! Bonus: You can also ride a Bcycle to Live on the Green, with three convenient check-in locations near Public Square Park, including at the bike valet station at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Union St.
2. Take the Bus
Taking the bus is one of the easiest ways to get to and from Public Square Park, and it’ll save you a lot of money over paying for parking downtown (one-way fares are just $1.70). Music City Central (Nashville’s main bus terminal) is located just a block from the park, and the Music City Circuit is a great option to get from downtown to Germantown, SoBro, or The Gulch. Bonus: Music City Circuit buses are free! Check out Nashville MTA’s website to learn all you need to know about riding the bus, including how to bring your bike on the bus if you happen to ride to the festival but don’t want to ride home after dark. You can also take a peek at Transit Now Nashville’s handy trip planner if you’re unsure of which bus you need to take to get to the festival – it’s so easy!
If you live or work downtown, we definitely encourage you to walk to the festival! Bring a change of clothes to work and show up early to Public Square Park to get a good spot on the lawn. The festival site officially opens at 5pm, meaning you can grab dinner from one of our delicious food trucks and save yourself a trip home. If you walk, you also avoid the hassles that downtown traffic and parking can cause, creating a headache-free Live on the Green experience for you and your friends.
If you must drive into downtown, please carpool! You’ll save money by splitting parking costs with friends and do your part to help reduce traffic and air pollution downtown caused by idling cars trying to find a parking spot. Parking is easiest in the Nissan Stadium lots just across the river, so please utilize these resources whenever possible and avoid driving downtown altogether. Bonus: For the first time ever, we’re partnering with Uber this year to host an official Live on the Green pick-up and drop-off lane. You can see the drop-off location at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Union Street on our official 2015 festival map, and Uber makes it easy to split the fare with friends!
We’ve always tried to divert as much of our waste as possible from landfills, but we need your help to make this happen! Recycling stations are clearly marked and located throughout the event site, so please use them. This year, we’re switching to selling all beer in aluminum cans because they’re the most recyclable and eco-friendly option available to us. Bonus: Hands On Nashville volunteers will be stationed throughout the festival to help you dispose of your food and drink waste properly, so be sure to give these folks a high five when you see them and thank them for their help! Want to go one step further and volunteer yourself? Do it.
6. Bring a Reusable Bottle
It’s August in Nashville, and we know it gets hot! Every year, we partner with Metro Water Services to provide you with free drinking water on site to help keep you hydrated and happy. Bring a reusable water bottle to Live on the Green this year and take advantage of this complimentary service! Your body, and your wallet, will thank you.
7. Eat Some Food
Did you know Live on the Green encourages all of its food vendors to use eco-friendly and compostable serviceware? We make sure that nobody is using harmful products like styrofoam, and we also advocate for the use of locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. It makes it even better that all of our food trucks are small local businesses, so eating dinner at Live on the Green means you’re actively supporting Nashville-based entrepreneurs – a win-win for the environment and the local economy!
8. Buy a Souvenir
We partner with Friendly Arctic Printing & Design to produce all of our generally awesome limited-run Live on the Green merchandise, meaning you can both feel and look good when you buy a hand-printed t-shirt, tank, or poster. Friendly Arctic uses only the most eco-responsible methods and supplies (they only use water-based inks, among other things) to print their products, and their high-quality work is designed to last a long time, ensuring you get a truly sustainable shirt.
9. Take What You Need
It’s easy to get excited about all the free stuff at Live on the Green. From the music to the promotional giveaways, there’s so much going on around the festival that won’t cost you a dime that it’s not hard to get carried away. Whether you’re grabbing yourself a super cool Lightning 100 sticker or koozie, some handy Erie Insurance sunglasses, or any of the other swag you find around the festival, be sure to only take what you need and leave the rest for someone else – Mother Nature, and the other festival-goers, will thank you.
10. Clean Up After Yourself
We want you to have a blast at the show, enjoy some food and a few drinks, and dance your heart out to your favorite songs, but sometimes having a lot of fun can get messy. On your way out of Public Square Park, make sure you pick up any trash lying around on the ground and dispose of it properly. As mentioned before, there are tons of recycling bins around the site, so put them to use! We rely on volunteers to clean up anything left on the site after each show, and as much as they love to lend a hand, they’re not your mothers! A little effort on your part goes a long way, and means that we get to keep hosting Live on the Green year after year… for free!
If you want to learn even more about Live on the Green’s sustainability efforts, check out the festival’s website, where you can also find out all you need to know about the music lineup, check on VIP ticket availability, and see photos and videos from past years. You can also download our newly-released and seriously awesome Live on the Green festival app to stay up to date on all things LOTG2015. We can’t wait to see you out there on Thursday!
If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you may remember that we did a feature on making your beer drinking a little more eco-friendly back in January. In that blog, we highlighted some of the efforts local breweries are making to minimize their environmental footprint, focusing on the work being done by our friends at Little Harpeth Brewing. This past Wednesday, Little Harpeth invited us to their brewery to take a little tour and chat more in depth about their sustainability mission as a part of our Engage Green workshop series with Urban Green Lab. We learned a ton, and wanted to showcase some of that new-found knowledge for you here if you weren’t able to make it to the workshop!
Little Harpeth’s sustainability mission began long before Michael Kwas, Founder, and Steve Scoville, Head Brewer, started producing beer in their current facility at 30 Oldham Street, a nondescript warehouse on the bank of the Cumberland in East Nashville. To prep their building for brewing, the Little Harpeth team had to completely gut the existing space and rebuild it to suit their needs, creating the potential for a lot of demolition debris. Kwas jokes that they’re not sure if they did this because they’re cheap or because they care about the environment, but they managed to salvage roughly 80% of their demolition debris for reuse in the construction of their new space, saving or recycling everything from electrical wire and wooden studs to doors frames and hardware. To outfit their new space, they utilized local resources like Habitat ReStore and Metro Nashville E-Bid, and were able to purchase the paneling for their walk-in cooler from a nearby scrap yard, making reuse a cornerstone of their build-out mission.
Not only was the construction of Little Harpeth’s space a highly-sustainable endeavor, but they also made it a point to show us how they take the environment into consideration throughout their brewing process as well. They source much of the corn used in their brewing process from mills in Middle Tennessee and North Georgia, minimizing the environmental impact of their ingredient sourcing when compared to other breweries that get their supplies from farmers in the Midwest and West. They also source 80% of their malt from Rahr Malting, who produces malt without the use of electricity. Additionally, Little Harpeth utilizes a high-efficiency boiler and only boils their wort for 15 minutes, allowing for a 60% reduction in energy use during the boiling process when compared to their peer breweries.
Finally, the whole beer-making process wouldn’t be sustainable without thinking about how the end product is distributed and consumed. Little Harpeth utilizes donated used pallets to ship their kegs around Middle Tennessee, and they tie these kegs down with reusable ratchet ties, rather than the traditional heavy-duty plastic wrap, eliminating the waste that is often generated through keg distribution. The team is also looking into canning their beer in coming months. Why canning, you may ask? Aluminum is lighter than glass to distribute and also takes up less room, allowing canned beer to be shipped in a more environmentally-friendly manner than glass bottles (more beer per delivery truck). Additionally, recycling rates are much higher for aluminum than for glass in Nashville because Metro Nashville only accepts glass at specific drop-off facilities and not in their curbside pickup program, making the immediate environmental benefit to Nashville clear.
If you want to learn even more about Little Harpeth’s sustainability initiatives, brewing process, and beer varieties, including the work they’re doing to support the Middle Tennessee honey bee population, check out their website!
To round out our learning experience, Little Harpeth generously offered everyone some beer samples in return for donations to the Harpeth River Watershed Association, a local non-profit focused on preserving and protecting the Harpeth River and its tributaries. We may be a little biased in saying this, but the beer tastes that much better when you know it’s brewed with the environment in mind. Cheers to Little Harpeth and all the other craft breweries that are making an effort to brew responsibly, and here’s to more breweries big and small making greater efforts towards increased sustainability in the years to come – a win for both beer drinkers and Mother Nature alike!
Here at Team Green, we love working with local non-profits and other community partners to create high-quality, engaging events, ranging from free workshops to volunteer opportunities. This week, we sat down with Jennifer Westerholm, the Executive Director of Urban Green Lab, who we partner with on our monthly Engage Green sustainability workshop series. Check out what she had to say about Nashville’s growth, being green, and reaching the next generation of sustainability leaders:
“’Sustainability’ is a term used by many different people and organizations in many different ways. The truth is, it’s a huge and dynamic concept, and it’s easy to get lost in all the hype around it. At Urban Green Lab, we define sustainability by sticking to the triple bottom line of ‘people, profit, planet’.” The organization’s website gives a solid overview of their strictures of sustainability, and to expand upon those principles, Executive Director Jennifer Westerholm sat down with us to talk a bit more about the mission of Nashville’s Urban Green Lab.
“The goal is to improve all around health and well-being through sustainable living,” said Westerholm. “We teach classes and workshops in schools and in the community about how we can make a healthier planet by implementing practical and green practices in our houses and businesses.”
According to “Nesting In Nashville”, approximately 85 people move into the city of Nashville every day. In an ever-growing small town gone rogue, expansion and sustainability are two concepts that tangibly collide every day, with this tension most common in trendier areas of town such as Hillsboro Village and 12 South.
“For us, it’s the perfect time to be in this line of work because it’s so needed. As Nashville expands, the need for sustainable development is higher now than ever before,” said Westerholm. “Our goal is to make this the culture of Nashville as it becomes a bigger city; inspiring the next generation of sustainability leaders.”
Since December of 2013 Urban Green Lab has been an official partner of Lightning 100’s Team Green, and together the Engage Green sustainability workshop series was re-born. These monthly workshops take place around Nashville, teaching skills such as making homes more energy-efficient, the environmental benefits of home brewing, small scale gardening techniques, and everything in between. While the non-profit does the majority of its work with classes of adults after work, they also reach out into Nashville’s community of middle and high schoolers in an attempt to enrich science curricula and teach towards real-world applications.
“We did a six week engagement series at Bailey Middle School last fall, and for the last couple of weeks the kids created these poster boards with drawings and collages and things that they presented at a community expo type thing,” said Westerholm. “It was very exciting for me to see 5th and 6th graders get excited about sustainable living and be like ‘Yeah, saving the planet! This is cool!’ It really gives you hope for the future.”
Starting this July 21st, Urban Green Lab will be kicking off an Indiegogo campaign to raise the funds needed to run their up-and-coming Mobile Lab. The Mobile Lab will showcase five areas of improvement through sustainability: water, energy, food/agriculture, transportation, and green-building.
“It’s kind of a mobile interactive museum of sorts with activities to do, and it’s all hands on, for both children and adults. We’re building it now and will be launching it towards the end of this year,” said Westerholm.
The hope for the Mobile Lab is to not only reach a larger audience in Nashville with the benefits of mobility, but also to advertise the non-profit and its mission of improving the health and well-being of our city on a personal level.
“I invite people to get involved in our work in whatever way they feel excited about!” laughed Westerholm. “We have a lot of volunteer opportunities, so it’s great if folks have a special use or talent we could use, or help us grow by connecting us with a company, or something like that, that would be interested in our work.”
Urban Green Lab can be found on Facebook and on their website, which has information on booking the Mobile Lab as well as a calendar of upcoming events. The next Engage Green event will take place on Wednesday, August 5th at Little Harpeth Brewing from 6-7pm. Like all Engage Green events, this workshop on Sustainable Brewing will be free of charge. Spots can be reserved on the Team Green Adventures website.
“Most everything we do is free or really cheap and open to everybody, so come out to see us at Engage Green!”
On the third Wednesday of each month, Team Green Adventures partners with the Nashville Farmers’ Market to host different Nutrition Workshop topics about seasonality. This month, CSAs are in season.
What does that mean?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and they are currently “in season” because right now is the time of year when local farmers are planting for the Spring growing season. Community Supported Agriculture programs are membership-based purchase plans in which consumers directly support the farm by helping to cover the upfront costs of farming. In return, the farmer shares the bounty of their farm with their CSA members BEFORE allocating produce to sell at Farmers’ Markets or grocery stores. Each farm has their own unique farming practices and offer different CSA features, so it’s best to speak with the farmer before investing in their CSA.