August 22, 2012
Note: New items are in *asterisks*
This digest now includes a new “Green Schools” section. Check it out right before the “Other” section.*
*EPA Awards $2 Million to Small Businesses to Support Environmental Innovation and Protect Health*
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded seven contracts totaling more than $2 million to small businesses across the nation to develop new technologies to keep the environment clean and healthy. Companies won the contracts through the highly competitive annual Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program competition, which encourages small businesses to explore and develop environmental technologies from concept to commercialization. “The innovation, passion, and commitment of these small businesses will have a lasting impact on our country by creating jobs, increasing economic competiveness, and protecting people’s health and our environment,” said Lek Kadeli, acting assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. In the last ten years SBIR has funded over 200 of these small companies, helping them grow and extend their capabilities. For more information, please visit: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/79c090e81f0578738525781f0043619b/9a4820865edac20e85257a5300681612!opendocument.
*U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces More than $363 Million in Grants for State Highway Projects*
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently announced more than $363 million in grants to fund a wide variety of highway improvements, from interstate rehabilitation and reconstruction to technologies that result in improved safety and reduced construction congestion."Investments in transportation projects like these create jobs right away in communities across the country, and lay a foundation for future economic growth," said Secretary LaHood. "Thanks to these grants, states, cities and local communities can move forward with the transportation projects Americans need to reach their destinations more safely, quickly and efficiently." The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) invited states, cities, tribal governments and local planning organizations to apply for federal funding from 12 grant programs. Nearly 1,500 requests poured in from every state, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. totaling approximately $2.5 billion. Grant funding was made available through enactment of the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, Part II. All 50 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico were awarded grants. Some examples of selected projects:
- Louisiana received more than $3 million to improve I-10 from the Lafayette Parish Line to the Atchafalaya Floodway Bridge. In addition to new pavement, the project will upgrade the guardrail and add new roadway striping to the route. The road is a high-volume truck corridor and is one of the state's major hurricane evacuation routes.
- Ohio received $3.34 million to improve I-75 in downtown Dayton from Fifth Street to Riverview Avenue. This two-mile stretch of interstate is Ohio's second-most congested area. The project will improve driver safety and reduce traffic congestion for the 104,000 drivers who use it each day.
- Missouri received $2 million for engineering work needed to replace the two bridges on I-44 over the Meramec River and to add an eastbound lane to reduce congestion and improve safety for drivers in St. Louis County.
*National Endowment for the Arts Announces the 2012 Our Town Grant Recipients - $5 million supports creative placemaking in 80 communities across the country *
When Chairman Rocco Landesman arrived at the agency in 2009, he began a national conversation around "creative placemaking," how cities and towns are using the arts to shape their social, physical, and economic characters. 80 Our Town grant awards represent the NEA's latest investment in creative placemaking, totaling $4.995 million and reaching 44 states and the District of Columbia. Combined with grants from 2011, the NEA has invested $11.58 million in Our Town projects in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Through Our Town, the NEA supports creative placemaking projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at their core. The grantee projects will improve quality of life, encourage creative activity, create community identity and a sense of place, and help revitalize local economies. All Our Town grant awards were made to partnerships that consisted of a minimum of a not-for-profit organization and a local government entity. "Cities and towns are transformed when you bring the arts — both literally and figuratively — into the center of them,” said NEA Chairman Landesman. "From Teller, Alaska, to Miami, Florida, communities are pursuing creative placemaking, making their neighborhoods more vibrant and robust by investing in the performing, visual, and literary arts. I am proud to be partnering with these 80 communities and their respective arts, civic, and elected leaders." For more information, please visit: http://www.nea.gov/grants/recent/12grants/12ourtown.php
*October 18: National Science Foundation Paleo Perspectives on Climate Change program
Meetings, Conferences, & Events
September 10-12: Missouri Recycling Association (MORA) Annual Conference – St. Louis, Missouri http://mora.org/
Webinars & Conference Calls
* August 27, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. (EDT) - EPA Webcast: Energy Efficiency/Renewable Energy Manual*
EPA is starting a new initiative to encourage state, tribal, and local agencies to incorporate energy efficiency and renewable energy policies and programs in their State and Tribal Implementation Plans. This initiative includes a manual, training, tools, and technical assistance. The webinar will provide an overview of the manual, tools, and technical assistance. For those who cannot view it live, the webinar will be recorded and posted at EPA’s Air Pollution Training Institute website. The primary audience for this webinar is state, tribal, and local air agencies that develop air quality plans. For more information, including background information and training videos, go to EPA’s Incorporating Energy Efficiency/Renewable Energy in State and Tribal Implementation Plans website. To register, please visit: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/414731616.
* August 28, 11 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (PDT), Policy Link Webinar: Equitable Strategies for Growing Urban Agriculture*
The urban agriculture movement is gaining momentum, creating pathways to healthy food and improving the vitality of communities. PolicyLink continues its mini-series of webinars focusing on how low-income communities and communities of color are incorporating urban agriculture into their community development efforts and into policy infrastructures supporting this work. This second webinar highlights the challenges and opportunities in building support within city government and effective strategies for advancing policy and fostering partnerships that promote urban agriculture. Featured speakers include Kimberley Hodgson the founder of Cultivating Healthy Places, Harry Rhodes from Growing Home in Chicago, and Jennifer Ly a Sustainability Associate with the City of Richmond. They will share their experiences with public/private partnerships and discuss the role of local policy advocacy in supporting urban agriculture. To register, please visit: https://cc.readytalk.com/cc/s/showReg?udc=9frgv2qrunf3&msource=urbanag.
The Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities (OSHC) 2012 Summer Smarts Series (All webcasts at 2:00 – 3:30pm Eastern Time)
Session 5: MON, 8/20 Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (Promise, Choice, DOJ, HHS)
Session 6: THU, 8/30 USDOT on the Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program
Web links for individual webinars will be sent out prior to each date.
Reservations are not necessary; however, this webcast series is intended specifically for HUD's Sustainable Communities grantees, those with Preferred Sustainability Status, and grantee partners and consortium members. For more information, contact Rachel Kirby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Country Health Rankings and Roadmaps Offers “Take Action Cycle Webinar Series- Learn how to improve the health of your community”
The Country Health Rankings and Roadmaps organization is hosting two webinars each month (until October) focusing on a step in the Take Action Cycle. The first will provide an introduction to the Action Step - what the step is, why it's important, and how to apply it to your own work. The second webinar will be limited to the first 40 registrants, and will be a more in-depth and interactive discussion of the Action Step. Note: The webinars will be limited to the first 40 people who register. Please email email@example.com with any questions.
Take Action Cycle Webinar Series - All on Tuesdays,
3-4pm EST / 2-3pm CST / 1-2pm MST / 12-1pm PST
Webinar Series: Improving Children’s Health through Federal Collaboration, Second Thursday of every month from 2:00-3:30 p.m. (MST)
The Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8, and the Health Resources and Services Administration, Region 8, have organized, in collaboration with other Federal partners, a one-year-long webinar series titled Improving Children’s Health through Federal Collaboration. Protecting the health of children where they live, learn and play is fundamental to making the world a better place for future generations. The purpose of this webinar series is to encourage coordination, collaboration and information sharing across government agencies and organizations, health care providers, educators, and the general public in addressing children health issues. Please save these dates for the following FREE webinars. For additional information about each of the webinars, including registration information, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region8/humanhealth/children/webinars.html.
- September 13, 2012 - National Children’s Study
September 25, 2012 - Free Webinar: Plastics Recycling: Moving Beyond Bottles
The public is anxious to recycle more types of plastic packaging but before a community can commit to program expansion, it needs to evaluate market concerns specific to the region. This web seminar will outline steps, tools, and evaluations communities should use as they decide when and how to move beyond bottle collection. To register, please visit: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/940826970.
*EPA Energy Star Webinars*
Want to improve the energy performance of your buildings? EPA makes it easy for you to get the information and knowledge you need. Through ENERGY STAR, EPA will help you lower operating costs, improve your energy management program, and expand your professional development.
The Basics of Benchmarking in EPA’s Portfolio Manager
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at 2:00 pm EDT
Whether you are looking to benchmark a K-12 school, fire station, courthouse, retail store, supermarket, or office, learn how easy it is to start benchmarking your building’s energy consumption and tracking its improvements in energy efficiency over time. See a live demonstration in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, EPA’s no-cost energy measurement and tracking tool.
The Federal Guiding Principles Checklist in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager
Thursday, August 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm EDT
Federal energy and sustainability professionals, understand the requirements and assess your compliance with the Guiding Principles for High Performance Sustainable Buildings required by Executive Orders 13423 and 13514.
Coming in September:
Financing Energy Efficient Upgrades with ENERGY STAR
September 6, 2012 at 2:00 pm EDT
For Licensed Professionals: Verifying Applications for ENERGY STAR Certification
September 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm EDT
Beyond the Basics: Advanced Features of Portfolio Manager
September 25, 2012 at 2:00 pm EDT
To register, or to see the full listing of ENERGY STAR live online training offerings, visit energystar.webex.com. If you have any questions about the offerings or the registration process, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
*EPA Region 7’s NEW Clean, Green and Healthy Schools Web page
More than 53 million children and about six million adults spend a significant portion of their days inside more than 120,000 public and private school buildings. Many of these buildings are old and in poor condition, and may contain environmental conditions that inhibit learning and pose increased risks to the health of children and staff. EPA Region 7’s new ‘Clean, Green, and Healthy Schools webpage is designed to provide one-stop access to the many programs and resources available to help prevent and resolve environmental issues in schools. Check it out at: http://www.epa.gov/region7/citizens/schools/index.htm.
*The New Era of Green Schools*
In February 2012 at the Green Schools National Conference in Denver, Colo., U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, expressed the view that green schools are no longer part of a fringe movement. Environmental Education is, in fact, necessary to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. Duncan, whose administration launched the Green Ribbon Schools Program, called for inclusion of EE in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. For more information, please visit: http://www.centerforabetterlife.com/eng/magazine/article_detail.lasso?id=297&source=1.
*Bed Bugs and Book Bags Curriculum*
Announcing the new Bed Bugs and Book Bags online training and curriculum developed by the University of Florida and the Jacksonville Bed Bug Task Force.
The curriculum is designed for third through fifth grade students, although it can be adapted to any age group. There are three topics with a total of ten activities and a teacher's guide that focus on bed bug biology, feeding, and prevention and are appropriate for classrooms, day cares, camps, and meetings. This award-winning 4-H curriculum uses the experiential learning model for each lesson allowing students to "Do, Learn, Reflect, and Apply" what they have learned. The curriculum is aligned with the Florida Next Generation Educational Standards and Benchmarks for Health Education. The curriculum is benchmarked for health educators, although is popular with science teachers, pest management professionals, 4-H leaders, and camp counselors. Check it out at http://duval.ifas.ufl.edu/Bed_Bugs.shtml.
*EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection Child Care Website*
The Office of Children's Health Protection (OCHP) has posted two new items on their child care website. The first is a webinar on integrated pest management (IPM) in child care settings and a brand new set of training modules for integrated pest management in child cares. In response to requests from participants interested in using their materials for their own training purposes, they have posted both the presentation and the webinar recording. The second new item is a comprehensive set of training materials for IPM in child care. Funded by an EPA/OCHP grant, this training was developed through a partnership between EPA/OCHP, EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs, EPA Region 2, Cornell University, Penn State University's Philadelphia School and Community IPM Program, and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The training is composed of the following modules:
Module 1 - Introduction
Module 2 - for Child Care Center Directors
Module 3 - for Child Care Center Maintenance Staff
Module 4 - for Child Care Center Teachers and Caregivers
Module 5 - Mice and Rats
Module 6 - Cockroaches
Module 7 - Bed Bugs
Module 8 - Flies
Module 9 - Ants
Module 10 - Head Lice
*New Idle Free Schools Toolkit*
The Idle Free Schools Toolkit is a comprehensive toolkit for schools to implement an idling reduction campaign that targets ALL drivers at a school, particularly parents who tend to idle their vehicles while picking up and dropping off their children. The Toolkit includes a precise schedule for implementing a campaign, clear guidance for each step of the campaign, sample letters and pledges, and educational materials. It also provides the resources to make this a student-run science or community involvement project, providing students with the opportunity to learn how to run a public service campaign while expanding their science and math skills. For more information, please visit: www.epa.gov/region8/air/idlefreeschools.html.
*Big Help Grants Sponsored by Nickelodeon & the NEA Foundation*
The Big Help Grants program is dedicated to the development and implementation of ideas, techniques, and approaches to addressing four key concerns — environmental awareness, health and wellness, students' right to a quality public education, and active community involvement. The grants target these four concerns as areas of great promise in helping students in the twenty-first century develop a global awareness that encourages and enables them to make a difference in their world. Multiple grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to select applicants. Public school teachers or public school education support professionals practicing in the U.S. are eligible to apply. The deadline is October 15, 2012. Please contact The NEA Foundation for more information and to apply for this funding: http://www.neafoundation.org/pages/educators/grant-programs/nea-foundation-green-grants/.
*Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Guidance*
The Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools guidance is a comprehensive resource designed to help schools maintain a healthy environment in school buildings by identifying, correcting and preventing IAQ problems. Learn more about the IAQ Tools for Schools guidance at http://www.epa.gov/iaq/schools. Also, want to receive the IAQ Tools for Schools Connector e-newsletter in your email inbox? Visit the e-newsletter archive on the IAQ Tools for Schools website to access printable versions (PDFs) of all past editions.
*Center for Disease Control Releases 2011 Data on Health-Risk Behaviors Among Adolescents and Young Adults*
Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, 2011 summarizes results from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 43 state surveys, and 21 large urban school district surveys conducted among students in grades 9 through 12 during September through December 2011. These surveys comprise the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS). The report, published in the June 8, 2012, issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, presents findings on six categories of priority health-risk behaviors among adolescents and young adults; these behaviors contribute to unintentional injuries and violence, tobacco use, alcohol and other drug use, sexual behaviors that can result in unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV infection), unhealthy dietary behaviors, and physical inactivity. Information on the prevalence of obesity and asthma is also provided. The report includes a trend analysis of 1991-2011 data and information on how the data are being used by federal, state, and local agencies and nongovernmental organizations to analyze and improve policies and programs to reduce priority health-risk behaviors among adolescents and young adults. The report is available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss6104.pdf.
*Toolbox for Education Grant Sponsored by the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation*
The Lowe’s Foundation is accepting applications for its Toolbox for Education Grant Program. The purpose of this program is to support school improvement projects at K-12 public schools in the United States. For the 2012-13 school year, the foundation will give priority to basic necessities. There is a preference for funding requests that have a permanent impact such as facility enhancement (both indoor and outdoor), as well as landscaping/cleanup projects. Projects that encourage parent involvement and build stronger community spirit are encouraged. Grants up to $5,000 will be awarded. Any individual nonprofit public K-12 school or parent group associated with a nonprofit public K-12 school is eligible to apply. The deadline is October 12, 2012. Please contact the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation for more information and to apply for this funding: http://www.toolboxforeducation.com/.
*School Flag Program*
The School Flag Program (also known as the Air Quality Flag Program) uses colored flags based on U.S. EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI) to notify teachers, coaches, students, and others about outdoor air quality conditions. Schools raise a colored flag each day that corresponds to their local air quality forecast. The purpose of this program is to create public awareness of outdoor air quality conditions so children can continue to exercise while protecting their health when air quality is in unhealthy ranges. Children are at greater risk from air pollution because their lungs are still developing and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Even when air quality is unhealthy, exercise can be continued indoors for children who have symptoms outdoors. Recommendations for outdoor activities on poor air quality days can be found at www.airnow.gov under the School Flag Program. If you are unfamiliar with the School Flag Program and would like to learn more, go to: http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=school_flag_program.index.
*Archived Webinar “Bed Bugs Go to School”*
*Connecting Youth to the Outdoors Grant Program, Sponsored by The National Environmental Education Foundation*
The National Environmental Education Foundation in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Bureau of Land Management, and the US Forest Service, has announced a new initiative
that seeks to catalyze efforts to increase the number of pre-K-12 youth, particularly urban and/or underserved youth, who build a connection with public lands as places for recreating, learning, and volunteering. Proposed projects should maximize hands-on outdoor engagement opportunities on public lands, focused on the areas of education, recreation, and environmental stewardship. Multiple grants ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 are available to select applicants. Nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and tribal groups are eligible to apply.
The deadline is September 19, 2012
. Please contact the National Environmental Education Foundation for more information and to apply for this funding: http://www.neefusa.org/grants/connecting_youth.
In this webinar leading asthma experts will discuss best practices for asthma management in schools and how they collaborated with key partners to expand the reach of their school-based asthma management programs. Attend this webinar to:
- Discover strategies for identifying and collaborating with a diverse set of community partners to improve asthma management in schools.
- Understand the connection between effective asthma management in schools and green and healthy learning environments.
- Learn how controlling asthma in schools can lead to improved academic performance.
- Hear unique perspectives and tactics for increasing community awareness about asthma’s impact on students and how to effectively control it.
- Gain answers to your questions about comprehensive school-based asthma management programs from leading asthma experts.
*Children's Environmental Health Listserv*
EPA’s Children’s Environmental Health Listserv is meant to enhance collaborations by sharing children’s environmental health information and upcoming events and activities. It is free, and all your email addresses are kept private. To subscribe, send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Other Community Related Information & Events
*Seminar: The Power of Self Marketing Tuesday, September 18, 2012 in Kansas City
How Can Property Managers and Facility Managers Stand Out Among Their Peers?*
Traditionally, facility managers assumed it was their job to be invisible. A safe, organized and well maintained facility should stand on its own merit, right? The better you do your job as a facility manager, the fewer complaints there are. But it also means you’re not recognized and often not appreciated. Today’s property and facility managers are working in the most competitive economy in history. In this job market, not being recognized is dangerous. It’s time to build and protect your careers by leveraging your “personal brand.” This will be a great message for you, and it will change your career! The organizations of the Built Environment Partners (ASHRAE, BOMA, EPA, KCIFMA, Missouri Chamber Green Initiative and USGBC) are proud to be bringing to Kansas City an award winning author and national speaker on the subject of Self Marketing. Click here to register and for more information: http://www.kcifma.com/event_detail.cfm?eventid=611.
*Learn About EPA's New Tool to Assess Pollution in your Community*
EPA’s newest blog post was released today on a new tool to increase the availability and accessibility of science and data for evaluating impacts of pollutants and local conditions, ranking risks, and understanding the environmental health consequences of your community. This tool can be used to assist your community with identifying and prioritizing environmental health issues and promoting actions to help communities make informed, cost-effective decisions to improve public health. Read more about it here: http://blog.epa.gov/ej/2012/08/epa-has-a-new-tool-to-help-assess-pollution-in-your-community/.
*Study Confirms Energy Savings in Multifamily Building Retrofits *
*EPA, HUD, and DOT Support Governor's Institute for Sustainable Design*
HUD and DOT are now partnering with EPA to support the Governors' Institute for Sustainable Design, which helps governors make informed decisions about investments and policy decisions that influence the economic health and physical development of their states. EPA, HUD, and DOT will provide technical guidance to governors seeking to tackle housing, transportation, environmental, and health challenges. For more information, please visit: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/488135b6a4dbad3e85257a4c004fcf64?OpenDocument.
It took only 90 days to lease all 90 affordable housing units at The Jordan, a development in Arlington, Virginia, completed in August 2011 by AHC Incorporated (AHC). The development, composed of 17 one-bedroom, 68 two-bedroom, and 5 three-bedroom apartments, is located about 4 blocks from the Ballston Metro station. In addition, the complex is equipped with a library, a community room, a landscaped courtyard with a play fountain for children, and underground parking. The Jordan is part of a mixed-use development that includes two office buildings (each about 225,000 square feet) with ground-floor retail and a nearby parcel where 28 market-rate townhouses will be built. For more information, please visit: http://huduser.org/portal/sustainability/newsletter_072512_4.html#.
*New Research and Development Partnership Launches in Dubuque* A unique, new partnership in Dubuque, Iowa, hopes to strengthen development efforts in the area, as well as share successful strategies with other communities across Iowa and Wisconsin to support more sustainable economies. The Dubuque Institute for Sustainable Communities and Economic Development is a collaboration between Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, University of Wisconsin-Extension and the City of Dubuque. The institute will focus on issues important to the greater Dubuque regional economy and successful strategies that can be replicated in other communities across both states.“Building this unique partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Extension and the City of Dubuque is very much in line with Extension and Outreach’s mission to build partnerships and provide learning opportunities to improve quality of life” noted Tim Borich, program director, ISU Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development. “This will be a unique undertaking for the universities and there is no better place for it than Dubuque, given the community’s track record in building a strong regional economy and its level of engagement on sustainable development.” For more information, please visit: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/article/new-research-and-development-partnership-launches-dubuque.
*National Smart Growth Conversation: Call for Blog Posts*
The Smart Growth Network’s National Conversation blog, devoted to ongoing conversations about the future of America’s communities, invites photos, videos, presentations, and written content for the blog. Submissions may focus on topics such as envisioning future communities; innovative current activities; and new directions for development, transportation, or public health. Please submit blog post(s) to the National Conversations blog by August 29, 2012, to help launch the conversation nationwide. The Smart Growth Network will review and get back to you about your submission. Written blog posts are limited to 500 words, and attachments are limited to 30 MB. If you would like to send a bigger file, please submit it by email. For more information about the National Conversation, please visit http://www.smartgrowth.org/nationalconversation/.
*Update on EPA's Green Power Communities Initiative*
EPA’s Green Power Communities initiative welcomes its newest members: Oak Park, Illinois; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Wellesley, Massachusetts. Green Power Communities are towns, villages, cities, counties, or tribal governments in which the local government, businesses, and residents collectively buy green power in amounts that meet or exceed EPA's Green Power Community purchase requirements.The program now has 34 member communities, which together are purchasing more than 4.2 billion kilowatt-hours of green power each year, avoiding carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to those from the annual electricity use of more than 367,000 American homes. To learn how to become a Green Power Community, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/communities/become.htm.
*Environmental Health Primary Prevention Training Program*
The Collaborative on Health and Environment's Environmental Health Primary Prevention trainings provide evidence-based science in lay language to be used in a range of settings, including advocacy, determining research priorities, public education and community organizing. The goal is to give trainees a deeper understanding of the science that links health outcomes with environmental factors, so trainees can become more effective as champions for a healthier world. The training, as well as room and board, is offered free of charge. These trainings are held at the Commonweal Retreat Center, one hour north of San Francisco, overlooking the Pacific Ocean -- an ideal place for active learning in a supportive environment away from the demands of day-to-day responsibilities.
*National Conversation – Call for Blog Posts*
Share your photos, videos, presentations, thoughts about the future of our communities!
Do you have ideas about what you want your community to be like? Is something cool happening in your community that you’d like to highlight? Can you envision new directions for development, transportation, or public health? Submit a post to the Smart Growth Network’s National Conversation blog, devoted entirely to ongoing conversations about the future of our communities. Please submit photos, videos, presentations, and written content – new or existing. Submit your blog post(s) to http://smartgrowth.org/nationalconversation/ by Wednesday, August 29 to help launch this conversation nationwide! Posts submitted after August 29 will become part of the continuing conversation.
*The Power of Partnership CommunityMatters® Helps Organizations Amplify Their Impact*
The Orton Family Foundation, based in Middlebury, Vermont and Denver, Colorado, seeks to help small cities and towns discover and describe their heart and soul—the collective attributes that make communities unique—and build on those attributes in planning toward a vibrant, enduring future. Orton has joined forces with the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, Grassroots Grantmakers, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, New America Foundation, Project for Public Spaces, and Strong Towns to collectively improve the way communities think, engage, plan, decide, and do faster than any one of us could on our own. CommunityMatters places tools and resources into the hands of residents who know and care about their towns. The partnership’s first project: CommunityMatters was selected to lead the National Endowment for the Arts’ Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD), with Project for Public Spaces and Orton at the helm. NEA’s long-standing rural design program aims to enhance the quality of life and economic vitality of rural communities. For more information, please visit: https://www.orton.org/page/communitymatters_helps_orgs_amplify_impact.
*New Integrated Pest Management Guide for Affordable Housing*
Affordable multifamily housing presents unique challenges for those trying to manage bed bugs, cockroaches, and rodents. Pest-free housing is a realistic goal, but a network of staff, pest management professionals, and residents must cooperate to successfully manage pests building-wide. Integrated Pest Management: A Guide for Affordable Housing is a new resource from the Northeastern IPM Center that will help affordable housing managers, owners, and agents use integrated pest management (IPM) to contend with a variety of urban pests in their facilities. It will also serve as a useful tool for anyone seeking to integrate IPM practices into a residential pest management strategy. The illustrated, 81-page guide gives readers 1) a basic knowledge of pests and pesticides that will help them make informed pest control decisions with a pest management professional; 2) an understanding of how to implement IPM in housing; 3) and tools to orient staff to their role on an IPM team. The complete guide and additional resources are available at www.stopPests.org/Guide.
*EPA Scientists Explore the Link between Elevated Ozone and Heart Disease Risks*
Most people don't pay much attention to the constant thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump, of their heart beating away in their chest. After all, the prescription for heart health is generally well known - a tried and true combination of eating a low fat, high-fiber diet, not smoking, staying active, and keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol level in check. For some, a doctor-recommended daily dose of aspirin is part of the routine. Now, however, emerging EPA research is pointing toward what could very well be an important missing ingredient, especially for those already at risk of heart attacks: keeping an eye on your local air quality index. "Five percent or more of heart disease deaths are possibly related to air pollution exposure," says Wayne Cascio, MD, Director of EPA's Environmental Public Health Division. Dr. Cascio, a cardiologist, and his research team are exploring the potential effects of air pollution exposure on cardiovascular health. He is also the leading force behind the Agency's "Green Heart Campaign" to increase awareness among public health professionals, doctors, nurses, other healthcare providers, and individuals that air pollution is a risk for those with heart disease. http://www.epa.gov/sciencematters/june2012/heart-matters.htm.
*EPA researchers and partners are studying the local health effects associated with roadways and other "near-source" air pollutants*
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced a 9.6 percent increase in National Farmers Market Directory listings as the kickoff to National Farmer's Market Week. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's directory, a database published online at farmersmarkets.usda.gov, identifies 7,864 farmers markets operating throughout the United States. The information collected in the directory is self-reported data provided voluntarily by farmer's market managers through an annual outreach effort. Last year, USDA's directory listed 7,175 markets. "Farmers markets are a critical ingredient to our nation's food system," said Merrigan. "These outlets provide benefits not only to the farmers looking for important income opportunities, but also to the communities looking for fresh, healthy foods. The directory is an online tool that helps connect farmers and consumers, communities and businesses around the country."
*Take a Child Outside Week is September 24—September 30 Annually*
Take a Child Outside Week is a program designed to help break down obstacles that keep children from discovering the natural world. By arming parents, teachers and other caregivers with resources on outdoor activities, our goal is to help children across the country develop a better understanding and appreciation of the environment in which they live, and a burgeoning enthusiasm for its exploration. This program is an initiative of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and is held in cooperation with partner organizations across the U.S. and Canada. Take a Child Outside Week is sponsored locally by Dover Foundation, Inc. and Great Outdoor Provision Company. Going outside:
- connects children to the natural world
- helps kids focus in school
- reduces chances of obesity
So take a child outside! On this site you can:
*EPA Climate Leadership Awards*
Application Due: October 12, 2012. Application period opens August 22, 2012.Eligible Entities: Governmental entities or academic organizations with annual budgets over $100 million; legally recognized corporate organizations with annual revenue over $100 million. EPA co-sponsors the Climate Leadership Awards (CLA) with three NGO partners: The Climate Registry, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, and the Association of Climate Change Officers. The CLA is a national awards program that recognizes and incentivizes exemplary corporate, organizational, and individual leadership in response to climate change. Applications will be accepted for the following recognition categories: Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management (Goal Setting Certificate), Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management, Supply Chain Leadership Award, Organizational Leadership Award, and Individual Leadership Award. This year’s award winners will be publicly recognized in early 2013 at the awards gala, held in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the Climate Leadership Conference. For more information, visit, http://www.epa.gov/climateleadership/awards/index.html.
More than 500 State, Local, Tribal Facilities Participating in ENERGY STAR Battle of the Buildings
EPA’s third annual ENERGY STAR National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings has attracted 3,200 contestants nationwide, including more than 500 facilities from state, local, and tribal governments. Among the participating facilities are 225 K-12 schools, 89 state or municipal office buildings, 86 fire and police stations, 16 city libraries, 8 courthouses, and 7 museums and convention centers. Phoenix, Arizona alone has 166 facilities entered in the competition. Alachua County Public Schools in Florida has 44 facilities competing, and Louisville, Kentucky, has 30.Two EPA Climate Showcase Communities are participating: Cary, North Carolina, which has six fire stations competing, and Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, which has four buildings entered in the competition. For more information, visit the ENERGY STAR Battle of the Buildings page.
Three New Reports from EPA's Smart Growth
1) Greening America's Capitals: The Anacostia Metro Station Area, Washington, D.C. - The District of Columbia asked EPA to help create a plan for the streets and intersections around the Anacostia Metro station. The project team developed a menu of potential changes, including green infrastructure strategies to improve the Anacostia River's water quality.
2) Maryland Clean Water State Revolving Fund Sustainable Communities Pilot Project Report: Decisions about where to provide public wastewater infrastructure affect development patterns and influence where and how a community will grow. This report describes how EPA worked with Maryland's Clean Water State Revolving Fund program to consider ways to focus resources in existing communities and infrastructure systems.
3) Three Years of Helping Communities Achieve Their Visions for Growth and Prosperity is the Partnership for Sustainable Communities' third-year anniversary report. It includes case studies on Bridgeport, CT; Ranson and Charles Town, WV; Montgomery, AL; Cincinnati, OH; Moline, IL; Denver, CO; and Wellpinit, WA.
Health Impact Project: Advancing Smarter Policies for Healthier Communities
2012 Call for Proposals
The Health Impact Project: Advancing Smarter Policies for Healthier Communities, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, encourages the use of health impact assessments (HIA) to help decision-makers identify the potential health effects of proposed policies, projects, and programs, and make recommendations that enhance their health benefits and minimize their adverse effects and any associated costs. For more information, please visit: http://www.healthimpactproject.org.
New report: Chemicals and Our Health: Why Recent Science Calls Us to Action
The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition released a new report, "Chemicals and Our Health: Why Recent Science Calls Us to Action" which summarizes the world's top science on how toxic chemicals are contributing to the growing disease burden in America. The report also offers an analysis of the economic benefits of chemical policy reform. To view the report, please visit: http://healthreport.saferchemicals.org/introduction.html.
Small Amenities Make Big Difference in Bike Commuting
In an issue of Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, Ralph Buehler of Virginia Tech quantifies just how important seemingly small amenities can be: “Trip-end facilities at work appear to be significant determinants of cycling to work. Recent research conducted by Ralph Buehler of Virginia Tech found that commuters with cyclist showers, clothes lockers, and bike parking at work are five times more likely to commute by bicycle than those without trip-end facilities.” For more information, please visit: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2012/07/hidden-factor-bike-commuting-showers/2650/.
Sprawl May Worsen Impacts of Drought
Sprawling development can exacerbate a drought's impact, according to a recent commentary by Kaid Benefield of the Natural Resources Defense Council. The large-lot residential development characteristic of sprawl uses significantly more water than do neighborhoods built to a more walkable scale, contributing to water shortages. Suburban sprawl also spreads more pavement around watersheds than compact growth, sending rainwater into streams and rivers as polluted runoff, rather than into the soil to replenish groundwater. For more information, please visit: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/kbenfield/how_sprawl_aggravates_the_impa.html.
Show Your Creativity: Join the National Conversation on the Future of Our Communities Blog!
What do you want your community to become? What’s the next set of issues we have to tackle to make our communities better? Share your ideas on the future of our communities through blog posts, videos, photos, and other multimedia presentations. The Smart Growth Network is now accepting submissions, which will be posted at the end of summer. Visit http://smartgrowth.org/nationalconversation/ to send your post and review the Frequently Asked Questions.
Home Depot Foundation Community Impact Grants
Community Impact Grants Program, grants of up to $5,000 is available to registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, public schools, or tax-exempt public service agencies in the U.S. that are using the power of volunteers to improve the physical health of their community. Grants are given in the form of Home Depot gift cards for the purchase of tools, materials, or services. The Home Depot Foundation’s Community Impact Grant Program will accept proposals for grants beginning February 6, 2012 through August 13, 2012. For more information, please visit: http://homedepotfoundation.org/page/applying-for-a-grant
Green Streets Can Cut Pollution, Says Study
The creation of "green walls" in urban areas could cut pollution by up to 30%, scientists have suggested. UK researchers say more trees and other vegetation at street level would clean air in areas that are normally exposed to higher pollution levels. Plants in towns and cities have been shown to remove nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM), both of which are harmful to human health. The findings appear in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. "Up until now, every initiative around reducing pollution has taken a top-down approach, [such as] scrapping old cars, adding catalytic converters, bringing in the congestion charge - some of which have not had the desired effect," said co-author Rob MacKenzie from the University of Birmingham. "The benefit of green walls is that they clean up the air coming into and staying in the street canyon," Professor MacKenzie observed.
Watch EPA's Newest Video in the 20th Anniversary of Environmental Justice Series
The video series features government officials, nonprofit and industry leaders, and students who share stories about the lessons they have learned working on environmental justice. This video features Susana Almanza, Executive Director of PODER-Texas. Susana Almanza tells an inspiring story about her efforts to protect her community from possible pollution from a gas tank farm. Watch EPA's newest video in our 20th Anniversary video series at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lISpcTdaRTo.
Report Showcases Clean Energy Solutions from Small- and Medium-Sized Cities
A new report from the nonprofit organization Climate Solutions presents the early results of a range of small- and medium-sized cities that are testing and refining strategies for clean energy and energy efficiency. The report, entitled Powering the New Energy Future from the Ground Up, describes innovative financial mechanisms, pilot projects, and clean energy marketing strategies that can serve as models for other communities around the United States. Many of the communities profiled in the report used federal grants to jumpstart their clean energy initiatives. Among them are 14 recipients of EPA’s Climate Showcase Communities grants:
- Aiken, South Carolina
- Bellingham, Washington
- Columbia, Missouri
- Corvallis, Oregon
- Dubuque, Iowa
- El Cerrito, Albany, Piedmont, and San Pablo, California
- Eugene, Oregon
- Greenfield, Massachusetts
- Hailey, Idaho
- Keene, New Hampshire
- Little Rock, Arkansas
- Madison, Wisconsin
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- West Union, Iowa
The report is available online from Climate Solutions’ New Energy Cities project website, along with a press release and a recorded telebriefing explaining the report’s findings.
Submit Your Session Ideas for the EPA and ICMA Cosponsored National Brownfields Conference, May 15-17, 2013 in Atlanta, GA
The National Brownfields Conference, co-sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), is the largest conference in the nation that focuses on environmental revitalization and economic redevelopment. Now in its 15th year, the event attracts over 5,000 attendees and 200 exhibitors for two and a half days of educational sessions, plenary sessions, training workshops, walking tours, volunteer activities, mobile workshops, film screenings and more. Brownfields 2013 will take place on May 15-17, 2013 in Atlanta, GA. The Call for Ideas is open on the official Brownfields 2013 website. Use the online submission tool to propose a full session idea for Brownfields 2013. The Call for Ideas closes on August, 3, 2012.The Brownfields 2013 Planning Committee is particularly interested in topics related to:
-Financing Redevelopment Opportunities
-Real Estate and Development
-Planning for a Better Environment
-Redevelopment & Revitalization
-Liability and Enforcement
-Data, Research and Public Health
For more information please contact Grant Sparks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-962-3657.
Department of Energy awards $7M to Carbon Capture and Storage Projects
The Department of Energy recently announced $7 million in funding to support a key technology for controlling carbon dioxide from coal plants. The cash will head to eight projects at universities, companies and research institutes to lower the cost of oxy-combustion, which involves burning coal in pure oxygen to create a pure stream of CO2 for later capture. The goal is to perfect the process so 90 percent of emissions are captured at a cost of less than $25 per ton of CO2, the Department said. "Advancing the development of clean coal technologies is an important part of President Obama's strategy to develop every source of American energy," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement. For more information, please visit: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/07/doe-20120727.html.
Powering the New Energy Future from the Ground Up – Profiles in City Led Clean Energy Innovation
"Water Is Worth It" Video Contest by the U.S. EPA
As a part of EPA's CWA 40th Anniversary celebration, the Agency is hosting a video project asking Americans everywhere to send in a 15-second video clip explaining the important role that water plays in their lives. EPA will feature selected video clips on its website and "Water Is Worth It" Facebook page as part of its anniversary celebration. Videos will be accepted through September 14, 2012. But don't wait. Submit your video clips today! You can view our Clean Water Act 40th Anniversary website at www.epa.gov/cleanwater40, join our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/waterisworthit, and follow EPA on Twitter @epawater to view video entries, learn about our anniversary events, or learn more about the Clean Water Act. To register, fill out a video entry form. Please remember to submit your entry as a video response to our promotional video on the YouTube EPA Clean Water Act 40th Anniversary Video Project Site. Please submit your video on or before September 14, 2012. http://water.epa.gov/action/cleanwater40c/video-project.cfm .