May 25th, 2011
GWUSA is thrilled to report that our network of Trusts has been very busy in 2010, cleaning up vacant properties for reuse; converting brownfields to greenfields; planting trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables in schoolyards and community gardens; and engaging young people and community members everywhere through programs aimed at job training, environmental education, and community improvement. Please click here to download!
Highlights of our achievements in 2010 include:
- the launch of FIVE new Trusts in Washington, D.C., Buffalo, NY, Dona Ana County, NM, Richmond, CA, and Wyoming County, WV.
- GW Dallas removed and recycled 6,000 tires from 7 illegal dump sites in the Great Trinity Forest.
- GW Denver expanded its Green Team Youth Program to year-round and doubled the number of youth employed by the service learning program.
- GW Hudson Valley provided training and employment for 10 unemployed men (18-24 years old) in partnership with NPS Roosevelt Vanderbilt NHS.
- GW Lawrence and the City were awarded a $2.6 million state grant to build the Spicket River Greenway, linking 3 brownfield to park projects.
- GW Portland earned a ‘clean bill of health’ for the Emerson Street Community Garden, a brownfield to greenfield project.
April 22nd, 2011
Between April 3-5, representatives from GWUSA and 8 Groundwork trusts — Anacostia (DC), Bridgeport (CT), Buffalo (NY), HudsonValley (NY), Lawrence (MA), Providence (RI), Somerville (MA), and Wyoming County (WV) — attended the Brownfields 2011 conference at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Highlights for the GWUSA network included:
* Groundwork Somerville’s interactive, standing-room-only session titled “Community Corridor Planning: Engaging the Community in Participatory Land-Use Planning” eloquently delivered by staff and youth Green Team members
* a ceremony to honor Groundwork Lawrence, recipient of the 2010 Brownfield Renewal Award for Social Impact on behalf of Manchester Street Park, a 7-year, $1.3 million brownfield-to-park transformation project the trust led from 2002 to 2009
* participation by several trusts in the Brownfields 2011 Equitable Development Institute, as well as the Economic Redevelopment Forum.
In addition to these highlights, Groundwork USA hosted a booth in the Exhibit Hall, at which staff and board members from the national office and representing trusts took questions and shared information with conference-goers from dozens of distressed American communities about the Groundwork model, as well as the process by which communities apply to become a Groundwork trust.
For more information on Groundwork’s brownfield transformation projects, please click here. For more information on how to become a Groundwork trust, please click here.
April 22nd, 2011
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has named the five cities that will be the first to participate in the Greening America’s Capitals program and receive free expert assistance to turn their towns into models of sustainable design.
The state capitals that were chosen as the inaugural beneficiaries of the program are Boston, Jefferson City, Mo., Hartford, Conn., Charleston, W.Va., and Little Rock, Ark.
Launched this summer, Greening America’s Capitals is a project of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which is a collaborative effort involving the EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
As part of the project, the EPA provides and funds the design teams that are to work with state capitals.
Green development projects can include cleaning up and finding new uses for vacant lands, providing greener housing and transportation options, and devising ways to reduce costs for infrastructure and energy. The goal is to create neighborhoods provide social, economic, environmental and public health benefits.
Greening America’s Capitals is one of many efforts focused on creating more sustainable neighborhoods.
In April after a three-year pilot, the U.S. Green Building Council launched its LEED standard for neighborhood development, LEED-ND, which serves as a national benchmark for sustainable community design.
In July, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation announced its funding of the Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant Program, which is intended to break down barriers to pursuit of LEED-ND projects in which affordable
green housing is a key component. The deadline for application for the first program grants is September 9. Application information is available from the USGBC.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors also has several initiatives to make cities and the buildings in them greener.
Greening America’s Capitals is a project of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities between EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to help state capitals develop an
implementable vision of distinctive, environmentally friendly neighborhoods that incorporate innovative green building and
green infrastructure strategies. This program will assist three to four communities per year, with the first projects
beginning in the fall of 2010.
EPA will offer technical assistance by funding a team of designers to visit each city to produce schematic designs and exciting illustrations intended to catalyze or complement a larger planning process for the pilot neighborhood. Additionally, these pilots could be the testing ground for citywide actions, such as changes to local codes and ordinances to better support sustainable growth and green building. The design team and EPA, HUD, and DOT staff will also assist the city staff in developing specific implementation strategies.
The assistance may include, but is not limited to, the following issues:
- Brownfield or infill redevelopment
- Aligning transportation and housing choice
- Climate change response planning
- Engaging disadvantaged communities
- Public art and civic design strategies
- Green and energy efficient building strategies
- Green infrastructure for multiple community benefits
EPA is providing this design assistance to help support sustainable communities that protect the environment, economy, and
public health and to inspire state leaders to expand this work elsewhere. Greening America’s Capitals will help communities consider ways to incorporate smart growth strategies into their planning and development to create and enhance interesting, distinctive neighborhoods that have multiple social, economic, and environmental benefits.
This design assistance is being made available to all 50 state capital cities, plus the District of Columbia. EPA is soliciting letters of interest from mayors of state capitals. Any city department, office, or agency may submit the letter of interest, but only one proposal should be submitted on a city’s behalf.
April 15th, 2011
CDC Report Highlights Lack of Healthy Food Environments for Children
Communities can influence children’s diets by ensuring that nutritious, healthy food choices are accessible in their areas. The 2011 Children’s Food Environment State Indicator Report and National Action Guide, newly released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, includes data about food access, regulations, and policies that may improve childhood obesity. Policy and environmental indicators across early care and education (child care), school, and community settings are included along with behavioral indicators on sugar drinks, family meals, and television viewing.
REPORT and NATIONAL ACTION GUIDE: The 2011 Children’s Food Environment State Indicator Report compiles data from a variety of sources. To view the full report and National Action Guide visit http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/resources/reports.html
NEW TOOL! Communities can assess their retail environment to better understand the current landscape and differences in accessing healthier foods. See CDC’s new document — Healthier Food Retail: Beginning the Assessment Process in Your State or Community. http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/solutions.html
STATE ACTION GUIDES: Association of State and Territorial Public Health Nutrition Directors site featuring Children’s Food Environment Indicator Report State Action Guides as well as customizable PowerPoint presentation for presenting the Indicator Report to audiences within your state
Additional information on childhood obesity is available at http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood and http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/solutions.html
Please address all inquiries and comments to email@example.com
April 26, 2011
Contact: CDC Division of News and Electronic Media
CDC report highlights lack of healthy food environments for children.
More support needed in communities, child care facilities and schools.
States can do more to improve food access, regulations and policies to promote healthy eating and fight childhood obesity, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 2011 Children’s Food Environment State Indicator Report also notes that the communities, child care facilities and schools all have roles to play.
“Childhood obesity has tripled over the past 30 years,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. ”This report underscores the need to make healthier choices easier for kids and more accessible and affordable for parents.”
Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia scored at or below the national average for the Modified Retail Food Environment Index (mRFEI), a measure of the proportion of food retailers that typically sell healthy foods within a state. Scores can range from 0 (no food retailers that typically sell healthy food) to 100 (only food retailers that typically sell healthy food). States with lower mRFEI scores have more food retailers, such as fast food restaurants and convenience stores, that are less likely to sell less healthy foods and fewer food retailers, such as supermarkets, that tend to sell healthy foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Nationally, the average mRFEI score was 10. State-by-state scores ranged from highs of 16 in Montana and 15 in Maine to lows of 5 in Rhode Island and 4 in the District of Columbia.
The report shows that as of December 2008, only one state – Georgia – had enacted all of the following state licensure regulations for child care facilities: to restrict sugar drinks, to require access to drinking water throughout the day, and to limit TV and computer screen time. CDC and other experts see the childcare setting as an important opportunity to address nutrition and physical activity issues.
Twenty-nine states had enacted one of these regulations, while 13 states and the District of Columbia had enacted none.
Forty-nine percent of middle and high schools allowed less healthy foods like candy, soft drinks, and fast food restaurants to be advertised to students on school grounds. In Ohio nearly 70 percent of middle and high schools allowed such advertising, while in New York only 24 percent of schools allowed it.
“To feed their children healthy food at home, parents must have ready access to stores that sell affordable, healthy food,” said William Dietz, M.D., Ph.D., director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. “Parents also want their children to continue eating well in school or child care facilities. This report highlights actions that states, communities, and individuals can take to improve children’s food choices and influences.”
CDC supports a number of programs that help states, tribes, and communities combat both childhood and adult obesity. The agency funds 25 state-based nutrition, physical activity, and obesity programs to develop and implement science-based interventions. The current focus is to create changes that support healthy eating and active living where Americans live, work, learn, and play.
Additionally, CDC funds 23 state and territorial education agencies and tribal governments to help school districts and schools implement coordinated school health programs. This approach can increase the effectiveness of policies and programs to promote physical activity, nutrition, and tobacco-use prevention among students.
CDC’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative funds 47 communities, three tribes, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories to use tested strategies to creating healthier community environments.
The 2011 Children’s Food Environment State Indicator Report compiles data from a variety of sources, including Preventing Obesity in the Child Care Setting: Evaluating State Regulations and CDC’s School Health Profiles. The full report is available at http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/downloads/ChildrensFoodEnvironment.pdf.
State tables are at http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/downloads/ChildrensFoodEnvironment.pdf#page=8.
For information about childhood obesity visit www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
April 15th, 2011
The U.S. Department of Education announced today the creation of the Green Ribbon Schools program to recognize schools that are creating healthy and sustainable learning environments and teaching environmental literacy. The new awards program will be run by the Education Department with the support of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“Preparing our children to be good environmental citizens is some of the most important work any of us can do,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said at an event announcing the new program. “It’s work that will serve future generations and quite literally sustain our world.”
“Each day, we ask students across the nation to demonstrate excellence, integrity and leadership in the classroom, and in return, the Federal Government must do the same,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “The Green Ribbon Schools program will recognize healthy learning spaces that promote environmental literacy and prepare our leaders of tomorrow to win a clean energy future.”
“The schools taking part in this initiative will help kids connect what they’re learning in science class with the world around them, allowing them to envision solutions to tomorrow’s challenges while living healthier lives today,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “By making green living a part of everyday learning, Green Ribbon Schools will prepare our children to win the future by leading our global green energy economy.”
The Green Ribbon Schools program reflects President Obama’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy efficiency, and preparing today’s students for jobs in fields that provide clean energy solutions.
EPA Administrator Jackson and CEQ Chair Sutley joined Secretary Duncan at the announcement at a ceremony planting a tree at the Department of Education’s headquarters. The Texas live oak they planted is the same tree that is depicted in the Education Department’s seal, symbolizing the Department’s commitment to securing our nation’s future by promoting student achievement and fostering education excellence.
The Green Ribbon Schools program will be modeled after the Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Schools Program, which annually honors public and private schools that are either high performing or have improved student achievement to high levels.
Through the Green Ribbon schools program, the Education Department, the EPA, and CEQ will recognize schools for energy conservation, creating healthy learning spaces, and teaching environmental literacy.
“Environmental literacy is an important part of a well-rounded, world-class education,” Secretary Duncan said. “Through the Green Ribbon Schools program, we’ll be holding up schools that are leading the way in teaching science and in ways that show students the importance of developing clean energy sources and sustainable solutions for the environment.”
The application for the program will be released later this year, and the first group of “Green Ribbon Schools” announced next year.
March 28th, 2011
Groundwork Mishima sent us an outline of their tsunami relief efforts. See below:
-A tour to our local area.
Invite affected families to Izu Peninsula area around Mt.Fuji where there are hot springs. The plan would be to host 100 people at a time for a short stay-10,000 in total.
-A one- month stay for affected children.
About 100 children in total. In addition to this one-month stay, we are planning a six-month stay.
-Delegate 10 welfare workers with “a warm smile” and a 2,000-Groundwork support member to support those who are in need.
-A mobile food stalls
Serving 10,000 Bottles of water, 10,000 bowls of hot ramen, and Mishima buckwheat noodles.
-Three Bionics Toilets to disaster-affected area in order to maintain their environment.
Proper disposal of human waste by the nature of cider tips which break down that into carbon dioxide and water completely.
- Set up the northern Japan support committee.
Promotion committee including individuals who are linked with citizen groups home and abroad, governments and business firms.
Minoru Oaki, Chairperson
Shibahoncho 1-43, Mishima,
Shizuoka 411-0857, Japan
TEL +81-55-983-0136 FAX: +81-55-973-0022
March 25th, 2011
GWUSA will be participating in ‘The State of Environmental Justice in America 2011 Conference’, scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C. The Department of Interior (DOI) will be joining with several other Federal agencies and organizations in sponsoring this year’s Environmental Justice in America Conference. The conference is in support of Executive Order 12898 (Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations), which states in part that “each Federal agency shall make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations…”
The theme for this year’s conference is “Building the Clean Energy Economy with Equity”. The conference will encompass several of Secretary Salazar’s high priority goals, such as renewable energy development, tribal consultation, and youth and community involvement. This is a unique opportunity for participants to collaborate and network with a diverse and multi-disciplined audience that they may not otherwise have the opportunity to engage.
The conference seeks to bring together Federal employees, state employees, tribes, academics, business and industry, non-profit organizations, faith-based organizations, local community activists, and others to participate in dialog on achieving environmental equality and environmental protection.
You can find the Conference flyer here. Official conference web site: http://www.ejconference.net/
To learn more about environmental justice at the Department, please visit: http://www.doi.gov/oepc/justice.html
March 24th, 2011
On May 17th, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (D-MA) hosted a press event to announce the “Groundwork USA Act of 2011″ bill she’s sponsoring in Congress this session. In conjunction with GW Lawrence, the event was held at the recently-constructed Manchester Street Park along the Spicket River. If passed, this legislation would provide support for continued replication of the Groundwork model in communities across the US, as well as continued capacity-building support for existing trusts in the network. Please contact the Groundwork USA office if your Congressional representative is interested in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation so we can put him/her in contact with Representative Tsongas’ staff. Click here for more about Niki Tsongas.
March 15th, 2011
EPA celebrates Groundwork’s successful projects in Portland, Elizabeth, Yonkers, Lawrence, and Bridgeport. GW Lawrence is receiving EPA’s 2010 Brownfields Award for its Manchester Street Park project, at the Brownfields Conference taking place in Philadelphia April 3-5, 2011. Read about our great projects here:
March 11th, 2011
Listen to Congresswoman Niki Tsongas from Lawrence, MA, talk about GW Lawrence & GWUSA during Congressional hearings about the National Park Service budget.