Clear the Way- Trail Building 101

Clear the Way- Trail Building 101

Have you ever thought about how a trail is actually created? When I first began hiking, I was far too consumed with my natural surroundings to consider the work put in to design and construct a trail. Then I spent a Sunday morning rerouting the Fiery Gizzard Trail with Team Green Adventures, and my outlook on hiking trails was changed forever.

Hiking trails do not just appear out of thin air. They are created with in-depth forethought and are paved by nature lovers abound. Designing a trail requires proper vision with the most sustainable route in mind. Think long-term. How can we design a trail so it can be used for the next 50+ years, with the minimal amount of maintenance needed to keep it safe and functional?

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Volunteering 2015: Our Year in Review

Volunteering 2015: Our Year in Review

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:

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Brewing for a Better Future

Brewing for a Better Future

Beer has been a fan favorite of the human race ever since ancient Egyptians started brewing ale thousands of years ago. It’s great after a long day at work, when out on the town, or even paired with a nice meal. Enjoying an ice cold brew is one of the great pleasures of life, and is a part of the American tradition. In fact, the average American consumes over 20 gallons of the good stuff every year! If you’re as much of a beer lover as the average American then there are steps that you can take to make your Friday night not only fun, but eco-friendly too.

CONTAINER KARMA

Glass or Aluminum?
The aluminum beer can isn’t only for cheap brews anymore. The craft beer renaissance has created a gamut of canned choices that blow larger commercial beers out of the water. In fact, one of the simplest ways to go green when drinking beer is to lose the glass bottle and pick up a can. The easy-to-ship design and reduced weight of an aluminum can makes the distribution process more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. Not only that, but the lower cost and easier recycling process solidifies the aluminum can’s rank as top dog over glass.

Growlers
If you want to up your green game from aluminum cans, then invest in a growler. Conveniently sold in sizes ranging from 32 oz. to a whopping 2 liter, the growler has become the canvas grocery bag of craft beers. The ability to reuse one of these bad boys can cut down on the fuel and pollution expended on the constant process of canning and bottling. This growing trend is becoming popular across the U.S., and is popping up right in our own backyard. Craft Brewed Nashville, Hops and Crafts, The Filling Station, Corsair Taproom and Frugal MacDoogal are all excellent spots to fill up a growler and take the taste of draft beer home with you.

growler

Drafts
Nothing is quite like the fresh taste of a draft right out of the tap. If you’re like me and love going to a pub and having a pint then you are in luck, because Mother Earth loves it too! One of the most eco-friendly ways to imbibe your favorite libation is to get it right from the keg. If you’re feeling extra green you could even visit your own neighborhood bar, where everybody knows your name. Since you’re in the neighborhood, why not cut down on your transportation emissions by taking a leisurely walk there and back as well!

WHO’S YOUR BREWMASTER?

Home, Sweet Foam
If you want complete control in maximizing your eco-friendly beer endeavors, nothing gives you more say in what you’re drinking than making it yourself! Buying a home brewing kit, not only allows you to choose what you’re brewing, but allows you to take all the eco-friendly steps that you wish your favorite beer did. It gives you the freedom to compost, grow your own hops, grains, and spices, conserve water, and eliminate transportation costs. Plus as soon as you’ve invested in your kit once, you can reuse it as many times as you like, and drink efficiently for the foreseeable future.

Think Globally, Drink Locally
Drinking local not only gives you a taste of the Nashville flavor, but also helps the environment. By drinking locally-brewed beers you can severely reduce the size of the carbon footprint that is associated with the shipping and distribution of beer all across the planet. Grabbing a local brew also increases your chances of ingesting fresher ingredients from nearby sources. Don’t forget that drinking locally also helps the already vibrant brewing culture of Nashville!

Drink Organic
Organic beer? Really? Yes, really – your body and the environment will thank you in the long run. Hops, the crown jewel of beer, can be difficult to grow organically on a large scale because of it’s high susceptibility to insects and other pests. However, drinking organic beer guarantees that you, and the environment, are coming into less contact with insecticides and other industrial chemicals on a day-to-day basis. Finally, an organic drink that doesn’t have kale in it!

In fact, there are a few Nashville breweries that are dedicated to the idea that green beer isn’t only for St. Patrick’s Day:

TN Brew WorksTennessee Brew Works
This fine establishment boasts a brew system that is uniquely designed to offer a higher level of efficiency and automation than is typical for a brewery of its size. These savings equate to a more efficient use of energy and raw materials. In fact, this brew system can use up to 50% less water, 20% less raw materials, and 20% less energy than a traditional brew system.

Little Harpeth BrewingLittle Harpeth Brewing
Little Harpeth Brewing is relentless in its efforts to become as green as possible. When starting the company, Little Harpeth built their offices from reclaimed and reused materials, and recycled anything that went unused. They are also focused on energy efficiency through use of horizontal bright tanks, which cut down on the processing time of their brews and reduces energy consumption during the brewing process. Little Harpeth has also partnered with us on our Harpeth River cleanup events each of the last two summers, doing their part to support volunteerism and healthy waterways in Middle Tennessee! Check out this Q&A session we had with Michael Kwas, Co-Founder and Visionary of Little Harpeth Brewing:

  1. How exactly do the horizontal bright tanks help the efficiency of the brewing system? Essentially, it reduces energy consumption. The bright tanks are the last stage in the process known as conditioning. Horizontal tanks allow a three foot drop for yeast, compared to the ten foot or higher drop for vertical tanks. These horizontal tanks come from the German brewing tradition and generally make the process shorter and more energy efficient. Also, Little Harpeth’s boiling process is low energy, which reduces the level of natural gas consumption.
  2. What drove LHB to make eco-friendliness and sustainability a part of your business objectives?
    The Little Harpeth team is very into conservation. Their down-to-earth business mentality assists the brewery with green efficiency, and helps keep the moths out of their wallets. Michael Kwas is a hardworking bootstrapper, with a home learned skill for using only what he needs, and believes that “being green is a combination of moral obligation and efficiency.”
  3. Does LHB have any plans for incorporating any green measures in the future?
    Chicken Scratch Pilsner, currently their most popular beer, uses corn in the brewing process. Instead of buying cheap bulk ingredients, Little Harpeth opted to buy from a local miller in Dixon, who supplies them with non-GMO white corn sourced from organic farms. The local miller is using the funds from corn sale to invest in fixing a water wheel to power eco-friendly milling stones. The brewery plans on using this resource in the future for their Chicken Scratch Pilsner. Little Harpeth is planning on eventually acquiring a biodiesel delivery vehicle when funding comes together. They are also currently utilizing solar heating to naturally raise the temperature of water. The black piping that holds the water outside draws heat from the sun and helps cut down on energy used to bring water to a boil during the brewing process.
  4. Are there any organizations that Little Harpeth is especially active in?
    Michael donates time and beer to support Harpeth River Watershed Association, a local non-profit that helps look after the health and cleanliness of the Harpeth River. Little Harpeth Brewing donates time and resources to help promote the organization’s events, and they help with several of their river cleanups as well.

OTHER ECO-FRIENDLY BREWS

traveler logoTraveler Beer Co.
Travel Beer Company is based in Burlington, VT. and does it’s part to better the environment by being the official beer sponsor of Team Green Adventures all year this year! We’re partnering with Traveler Beer Co. to bring you eco-related volunteer events, from tree plantings to community garden days, throughout 2015. Any beer that helps support good causes is worth the try. In fact, sipping on a delicious shandy sounds like the perfect way to unwind after a long day of volunteering!

Sierra Nevada
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is lauded for its sustainable brewing practices, and in 2010 the brewery was named “Green Business of the Year” by the EPA. Sierra Nevada puts its money where its mouth is, and has invested in over 10,000 solar cell arrays on the brewery’s rooftop and parking lot.These solar cells power all of the daily operations at the brewery with enough left over to enable an electric vehicle charging station for employees and visitors.

New Belgium
New Belgium Brewing maintains a firm focus on operational sustainability and is currently aiming towards being a one hundred percent wind-powered operation. Also, about 10% of the brewery’s electric power comes from methane gas collected from an on-site water treatment plant in lieu of being released into the atmosphere.

Stone Brewery
Stone Brewery has covered its facility’s facade with 1500 solar panels and has cut its energy bills in half and offset an estimated 538,000 pounds of carbon emissions. That’s the equivalent of planting 204 acres of trees! Stone Brewery also uses bio-diesel delivery trucks to distribute its beer and branded products around the west coast.

Next time you get a hankering for suds, remember these green tips, and use this article as an excuse to go out and have a drink!

– Taylor (Team Green’s Spring Intern)

Partner Blog Shout Out!

Partner Blog Shout Out!

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been spending a lot of time gearing up for our first-ever Resolution Health & Recreation Fair. Coming up Sunday, January 25th from 11am-3pm, this event will showcase a ton of our local partners and the work they do around town to help Nashvillians lead healthy, active, and green lives. All this prep work has got us thinking about how great a resource many of these organizations really are, so this week, we’ve decided to showcase some of their great work by giving a shout out to their respective blogs and news pages. Here’s a quick list of some of our favorite partner blogs!

Walk/Bike Nashville

The official blog of Walk/Bike Nashville, Footnotes gives readers insight into all things pedestrian happening around Nashville. More than just a great source for news on events, legislation, and more, Footnotes highlights the stories of everyday Nashvillians who have made active transportation a centerpiece of their daily lives. This blog does a great job of showcasing the strength of the cycling community in Middle Tennessee, and is a pleasure to read for anyone who has an active investment in walking or cycling (a.k.a. everyone!).

Climb Nashville

In case you haven’t caught on yet, we’re huge fans of everything Climb Nashville-related, and their blog is no different. The Climb Blog is your one-stop shop for staying up to date on all the happenings at Climb Nashville. With stories on everything from their involvement with local schools to current membership specials, and climbing competition results to squeezing more yoga time in at work, there’s something on their blog for everyone interested in living an active lifestyle!

Bliss Holistic

Offering great content on a range of wellness topics, Bliss Holistic’s blog is a fantastic resource for anyone looking to get healthy in the new year. Focusing on diet and nutrition, this blog decodes a lot of common questions people have on how they should be eating, making complex nutrition topics simple. The Bliss Holistic blog also contains tons of great recipes for you to try at home and includes so many delicious-looking pictures that there’s no way you won’t get hooked on reading it!

Hands On Nashville

Show of Hands, Hands On Nashville’s official blog, is a great resource for anyone interested in volunteering more in 2015. Featuring lots of engaging content on their current service projects, their blog is one of the best ways to stay up to date on the work they’re doing in the community. They also take time to highlight special events going on around town that you can take part in to help support their mission, giving you opportunities to lend a hand (pun intended) even if you can’t make it to one of their many service projects every week.

Cumberland Transit

If you’re in search of some inspiration to get outdoors this year, then the Cumberland Transit blog is for you! Though this gear outfitter is based locally right here in Nashville, it’s staff are most certainly not afraid to get out and do a little traveling outside of Middle Tennessee. With a plethora of adventure stories and pictures, Cumberland Transit’s blog takes its readers on a journey through some of the most beautiful natural areas in the country. The blog also features tons of great stories about outdoors happenings around Nashville as well, providing readers with a great mix of local and global content.

Urban Green Lab

Can’t make it to all of Urban Green Lab’s events in-person? Their news page is a great way to learn about the work they do, as they often take time to recap many of their best events around town (including some of our Engage Green workshops). They also highlight a lot of their ongoing work and showcase many of their community partnerships and collaborations, giving you a well-rounded picture of the work of one of Nashville’s most innovative and dynamic sustainability non-profits. Definitely a must-read for even the most casual of environmentalists!

Nashville Paddle Company

If you love getting on the water, then you’ll want to take a minute to check out Nashville Paddle Company’s blog. With content about all things stand up paddle boarding, their blog is a great way to stay up-to-date on the paddle season schedule, to keep in the loop on SUP events taking place around Nashville, and to see recaps on hilarious happenings like the annual Santa Paddle!

Go Green Home Services

If you’re not familiar with them, Go Green Home Services is a joint venture of Hands On Nashville and Village Real Estate designed to retrofit homes to make them more energy efficient while providing the added benefit of providing financial support for HON’s Home Energy Savings Program. Their news page is a great way to learn about the work they do and to pick up some tips and tricks to make your home more efficient, safe, and comfortable – practical information for homeowners and renters alike!

Love what our partners are doing and want to get involved? You can meet all of these great organizations (plus many more) at our Resolution Fair next weekend! Featuring dozens of local vendors, interactive workshops, great food and drink, tons of giveaways, and more, this event is sure to be a blast. See you all out there!

– Matt (Team Green’s Event Coordinator)

‘Tis the Season for Giving Back

‘Tis the Season for Giving Back

Here at Team Green Adventures, we love being involved in the Nashville community as much as possible. From hiking local trails to canoeing nearby rivers, maintaining a close relationship with Middle Tennessee and the people and organizations that make it unique is vital to our identity as adventurers. Part of our duty, then, is to give a little back to the place we call home by lending a hand to help keep it a little greener, a little cleaner, and a little healthier.

We partner with great local organizations year-round to get out and volunteer, and we thought right now would be a great time to reflect on all we’ve done so far, and to thank all our volunteers for helping make change happen this year! Check it out:

This year, we partnered with Hands On Nashville, the Nashville Tree Foundation, and Belmont’s Massey School of Business to plant more than two dozen trees in local neighborhoods.

photo (3)

We teamed up with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee to distribute more than 24,000 pounds of food to 112 families in need, sort nearly 11,000 pounds of food in their warehouse, and pack more than 2,500 backpacks for hungry schoolchildren. 

Second Harvest

Speaking of schoolchildren, we took part in Hands On Nashville Day again this year, helping to beautify Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School by planting greenery and cleaning up the landscaping around one of Nashville’s most innovative public schools. 

pearl cohn

We partnered with Bridgestone Americas’ Tires4ward program, paddling more than 25 miles of local rivers to remove 55 tires and 50 bags of trash from our scenic waterways.

harpeth

We joined forces with the Cumberland River Compact and Hands On Nashville to clean up multiple sections of Mill Creek, including our very own mile-long adopted section adjacent to the Mill Creek Greenway. Over the course of 3 cleanups, we removed 62 bags of trash and tons of other large debris from the waterway.

creek cleanup

We worked with both Hands On Nashville and the Nashville Food Project in their community gardens, helping to provide access to healthy food for Nashvillians in need.

HON Garden

We helped out at multiple Habitat for Humanity builds, working towards providing eco-friendly and affordable housing options for low-income families in Middle Tennessee.

habitat

We even lent a hand to Ferrell Hollow Farm Senior Horse Sanctuary, helping them prepare for their annual fall fundraiser so that they can continue to care for horses that have been neglected, abused, or are suffering from disabilities.

ferrell

For a quick little summary of everything we’ve done, check out this cool infographic!

Team Green Volunteering 2014 (1)

Last but not least, we want to say a huge THANK YOU to all of our volunteers who helped make these projects possible over the last 12 months. It took 272 volunteers a grand total of 1074 man hours to accomplish everything listed above, and we couldn’t have done it without all of you! We’re so thankful to have such a dedicated group of people who help us make Nashville a better place, and we can’t wait to continue to lend a hand to our friends and neighbors in 2015!

Happy holidays!

– Matt (Team Green’s Event Coordinator)

Our 20 Best Adventure Photos of 2014

Our 20 Best Adventure Photos of 2014

The end of the year always gets us feeling a little nostalgic about the last 12 months of adventures, and this year is no exception! From the slopes of Breckenridge to the rolling hills of the Smokies, and the beaches of Georgia to the banks of our own Harpeth River, 2014 has been a year of incredible trips. Even if you couldn’t make it on any of our excursions this year, we hope you’ll enjoy living vicariously through our best pictures from the last year of travels near and far! Here are a few of our favorites:

January 9th – Breckenridge is one of our most-beloved ski destinations, and this view of the valley with the ski slope in the foreground is but one reminder of how beautiful a place this really is.

Adventure Blog 4

January 25th – Though it was a little chilly for an overnight backpacking trip, our group didn’t mind, catching this up-close view of one of the partially-frozen falls along the Laurel Snow trail in east Tennessee.

Adventure Blog 3

April 24th – In our first season, our GoKickball team came in 2nd in the league! Definitely one of the most fun things we’ve done this year, this weekly social (read: beer) kickball league always gave us something to look forward to spring through fall. We can’t wait to get back out there next year!

Adventure Blog 5

May 17th – One of our favorite annual trips, LeConte Lodge is a place that is truly unlike any other. The hike up was incredible, and the view from our cabin porch wasn’t bad either. Notice the clouds below us in the distance!

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June 21st – Ready to fly! Hang Gliding at Lookout Mountain is another of our favorite annual trips, giving us the opportunity to soar above the clouds (or through the clear, sunny sky) outside Chattanooga.

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July 2nd – Our Engage Green workshop series, in partnership with Urban Green Lab, gave us the chance to make some delicious meals like this one while focusing on sustainability. Pictured here is a vibrantly-colored gazpacho recipe prepared by local chef Shane Kelly using only seasonal ingredients from a nearby CSA.

Adventure Blog 9

July 20th – It’s always a pleasure to take a day trip down the Natchez Trace to visit Bernie Ellis at Trace View Farm. His organically-grown blueberries are arguably the most delicious things ever, and at $10/pound, you can’t beat it!

Adventure Blog 8

July 25th – One of four summer stand-up paddleboard sessions with Nashville Paddle Company, our sunset paddle might have been our favorite. Paddling around the coves at Percy Priest was an incredible way to wind down the work week, with some of us even deciding to add a little yoga in for good measure!

Adventure Blog 10

August 9th – The low-lying fog made our summer whitewater kayaking trip along the Hiwassee River that much cooler, casting an eerie haze over much of the trip. What a great weekend on the river!

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August 26th – Butterflies love canoe floats (and cold beverages) just as much as we do! Our summer river cleanups give us a great excuse to get out on the water while doing our part to help keep our favorite adventure spots pristine. We pulled 17 tires and more than a dozen bags of trash out of the river on this float alone, one of three this summer!

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September 6th – Nashville’s Dragon Boat Festival is one of the most unique annual celebrations in Music City, featuring more than 40 teams competing in a series of races to be crowned the champion of the Cumberland. Not only do teams get to have a blast wearing costumes and being generally ridiculous, everyone gets to feel good about raising money to help protect and improve the Cumberland River, as this is the Cumberland River Compact‘s largest fundraiser of the year!

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September 27th – King’s Bluff offers tons of great climbing routes for everyone from true beginners to experts, and is made even more appealing by the fact that it’s less than an hour from Nashville! Our late-September trip, guided by the pros at Climb Nashville, allowed us to catch the beginnings of some fall colors this year!

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September 28th – What a group! Our volunteer events are some of the most rewarding experiences we have all year, and our fall build day with Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County was no different. We partnered with the Nashville Jr. Predators team to do a Day 2 build here, installing windows and doors and adding exterior insulation to this home in Franklin.

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October 3rd – The sunsets on Cumberland Island, GA are truly remarkable, casting a warm glow over the white sandy beaches and making the landscape come alive. We can’t wait to go back to the island and do this trip again, one of our longest-standing traditional trips.

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October 18th – Though the hike was dry for us, the rain we had gotten the week before this fall day trip allowed the waterfalls to be flowing at full force. The Fiery Gizzard is a challenging trail, but the natural beauty the trail has to offer along the way makes the extra effort more than worth it!

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October 25th – Hurry up! The pups are clearly ready to hike on our fall backpacking trip to Hobbs Cabin in Savage Gulf. Not only do they make great trail companions, but these furry friends are also perfect tent buddies, helping to keep you a little warmer during those cool fall nights.

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October 26th – Teamwork makes the dream work! Our semi-annual ropes course with Adventureworks is always a blast, encouraging everyone to work together to make it through a complicated series of high and low ropes challenges. The beautiful fall weather made this one that much better!

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November 9th – Speaking of fall, check out the colors on our mountain biking weekend getaway to Mulberry Gap this November! We timed this one perfectly, making the temps warm enough for an enjoyable trip while allowing us to bask in the beauty of some of the most picturesque wooded trails in the southeast.

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November 16th – We spent a day this November helping Ferrell Hollow Farm Senior Horse Sanctuary get ready for their annual fall gala, which raises money to allow them to continue to take in and care for horses that are neglected, abused or disabled. Our group took a few hours to clean the barn and prep for their fundraiser, and made a few equine friends along the way!

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December 8th – Who says your adventures can’t be luxurious? This beautiful infinity pool at one of our hotels in Costa Rica says otherwise. One of many gorgeous photos from this trip, we encourage you to check out more here!

Adventure Blog 1

Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in and share any of our adventures with us this year, helping to make 2014 Team Green’s best year yet! We’re looking forward to another great year of experiences in 2015, and we hope you’ll join us!

– Matt (Team Green’s Event Coordinator)

P.S. To get more pictures like these, you can always follow us on Instagram.