Sustainability Week 2016

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Sustainability Week, September 18-25 – Week Long Events

Caught Green Handed

Event Description: Do you take steps every day to live more sustainably?  Do you bike to work/school? Use a reusable water bottle or coffee mugs?  Bring your own bags to the store?  Well, you might just get “Caught Green Handed” by one of our ambassadors during Sustainability Week and earn a sticker – and have an opportunity to win one of several very cool raffle prizes!  Want to become a Caught Green Handed Ambassador? Click on the volunteer signup page below or email us at

Time: All Week

Location: Anywhere and everywhere!

Additional Information: Caught Green Handed Facebook Page, Sustainability Week Volunteer Signup Page


What Color Is Water?

Event Description: A community arts project collaboration between water quality education programs and the residents of the region, helping them to “connect” with water – a fragile resource in need of our protection and good stewardship. Visit Squires Perspectives Gallery on VT Campus during Sustainability Week to learn how you can add your own 9X9 tile to the project, which will culminate in a site specific art exhibit in the Perspective Gallery in the spring of 2018. Or come to the Farmers Market on Wednesday afternoon to make your own!  You can also visit the SEEDS Blacksburg Nature Center from 2-5 on Thursday afternoon to view the project.Contact Robin Boucher for more details:

Time: All Week – check gallery website for hours of operation

Location: Squires Perspective Gallery – VT Campus, SEEDS Blacksburg Nature Center – Price House

Additional Information: What Color Is Water Exhibit


Sunday, September 18

Historic Smithfield – Tour and Service Project

Event Description: Guided tour on the history of sustainable food production at Smithfield followed by a “roll up your sleeves” service project led by the Sustainable Food Corps Community Garden student volunteers.

Time: 10 am- 12 pm

Location/Directions: Historic Smithfield

Additional Information: Sustainable Food Corps at Virginia Tech Facebook Page, Volunteer Signup Page


16 Frogs Ribbon Cutting

Event Description: Help us celebrate the first of 16 bronze frogs that will be placed in key locations around town to highlight the fresh water flowing beneath our feet that helped shape Blacksburg from its earliest days as a frontier town. After the 16 Frogs Ribbon Cutting, hop on down to the Farmers Market and help us celebrate Sustainability Week’s 10th Anniversary with a Kick-Off Celebration!

Time: 4 pm – 5 pm

Location/Directions: Lyric Theater

Additional Information: 16 Frogs Watershed Initiative and 16 Frogs Facebook Page


KickOff Celebration – Sustainability Week 10th Anniversary

Event Description: Can you believe we’ve been doing this for 10 years?  Come raise a glass (local beer, wine and nonalcoholic beverages), enjoy some delicious food from local vendors, join in the dancing, and learn about all the great events we’ve got planned for Sustainability Week 2016!  Special appearances by Smokey the Bear AND The Bag Monster. This community celebration brought to you by generous support from Sustainable Blacksburg, Downtown Blacksburg Inc., VT Office of Sustainability, and Friends of the Farmers Market

Time: 5 pm – 7 pm

Location/Directions: Blacksburg Farmers Market & Market Square Park (corner of Draper and Roanoke Streets)

Additional Information: Blacksburg Farmers Market Facebook and Downtown Blacksburg Inc. 


Monday, September 19

Shop & Dine Day Fundraiser – Susan Garrison Fund

Event Description: This fund provides support for community environmental initiatives and honors the memory of our dear friend, Susan Garrison – the Town’s first Sustainability Manager who passed away too soon in 2013.  Shop or dine at any participating businesses on this day and a portion of sales will go directly to Susan’s Fund.  And don’t forget to show these businesses your continuing appreciation after Sustainability Week and beyond!

Time: all day

Participating Businesses: Bollo’s Cafe & Bakery, Cabo Fish Taco, Capone’s Jewelry, The Cellar, Fringe Benefit, Gillies, Greenhouse Board Shop, Main Street Inn, Matrix GallerySharkey’s, with special support from Dr. Steve Jacobs – Optometrist, Downtown Blacksburg, Inc., Shelter Alternatives, Colley Architects, and Energy Check

Additional Information: Susan Garrison Fund – Community Foundation of the New River Valley, Volunteer Signup Page


Electric Vehicle Workshop

Event Description: Curious about electric cars?  Longtime electric vehicle owner and enthusiast Dave Roper will lead a community workshop on all the ins and outs of buying/leasing and operating an electric vehicle.

Time: 12 pm – 2 pm

Location/Directions: Blacksburg Public Library Community Room

Additional Information: Dave’s Blog on Electric Vehicles


Plastic Bag Give Back/Swap Out Day

Event Description: Through a grant from Keep Virginia Beautiful, Warm Hearth Village will participate in a Plastic Bag Give Back Day.  Partnering with Kroger, any community member may drive to the parking lot of the Village Center to trade in their clean plastic bags for their choice of a free Kroger insulated tote, or an extra large woven tote.    NOTE: Warm Hearth is actively seeking volunteers to help count the plastic bags as they come in.  If you are interested in volunteering for a portion of the time, or have more questions on the Plastic Bag Give Back Day, please contact Mardy Baker at 443-3434 or email

Time: 12 pm – 4 pm

Location/Directions: Warm Hearth Village Center

Additional Information: Keep Virginia Beautiful

SHED Talks

Event Description: Like a TED Talk – only greener and more yummy!  Come out to Glade Road Growing/Rising Silo Brewery and hear from some of the community’s biggest thinkers on topics ranging from how we might transform a big box wasteland, to permaculture as a mechanism for peace, making the clothing industry more sustainable, and several others. Beer and food available for purchase/donation.

Time: 6 pm – 8 pm

Location/Directions: Glade Road Growing/Rising Silo Brewery – 2351 Glade Road


Tuesday, September 20

Service Project – Invasive Species at Stadium Woods

Event Description: Come help us remove the invasive species that are threatening this stand of old growth forest right on the edge of VT Campus.  Thorns aplenty so dress accordingly!  If you have your own loppers/pruners and/or leather gloves, please bring them.  Leaders from the NRV Master Naturalists will be on hand to provide history of stadium woods and guidance on the proper methods for invasive species removal.

Time: 5 pm – 7 pm

Location/Directions: parking permit may be needed, park near VT Police Station on Sterrett Drive, gather on pathway next to police station (leads to Stadium Woods).

Additional Information: Friends of Stadium Woods, NRV Master Naturalists, Volunteer Signup Page


Wednesday, September 21

Active Commute Celebration

Event Description: Do you bike, walk or take the bus to work or school?  Whether you’re a veteran active commuter, a beginner, or just want to learn about your options – come celebrate active commuting with us on Wednesday morning. Free coffee, tea, and breakfast pastries! Drop in anytime…we’ll be there until 1 pm!

Time: 8 am – 1 pm

Location/Directions: Squires Plaza – VT Campus

Additional Resources: VT Alternative Transportation Center, VT Bike Hub, and Ride Solutions


American Chestnut Reintroduction Project

Event Description: Starting in the early 1900s, a blight killed nearly all of America’s chestnut trees.  Come join us to plant a stand of non-hybrid and hybrid resistant chestnuts in Wong Park.  This project is made possible by a generous donation from the American Chestnut Foundation and support from the New River Land Trust.

Time: 9:45 am – 12 pm

Location/Directions: Wong Park – 303 Wilson Ave

Additional Resources: American Chestnut Foundation – Virginia Chapter, New River Land Trust, Volunteer Signup Page


Children’s Art Project – “What Color Is Water” + Sustainable Blacksburg Booth

Event Description: Come join local arts educator Robin Boucher to participate in a children’s community art project titled “What Color Is Water?”  This community arts project collaboration between water quality education programs and the residents of the region, helps participants to “connect” with water – a fragile resource in need of our protection and good stewardship. In addition to this event, you can visit Squires Perspectives Gallery on VT Campus any time during Sustainability Week to participate in the growing project.  Volunteers from Sustainable Blacksburg will also be tabling at the Market with resources on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle – from landscaping, to food choices, to clean energy and more!

Time: 2 pm – 5 pm

Location/Directions: Blacksburg Farmers Market

Additional Resources: What Color Is Water Project


Local Films & Filmmakers Night

Event Description: Did you know we have local filmmakers who are doing amazing documentaries on Virginia’s and Appalachia’s fight for a clean energy future?  Come meet Marino Colmano and Maddie Hill, local filmmakers whose respective works, Sacrificial Resource Zone and Resistance In The Valley, are shedding new light on the impacts of fossil fuel extraction and transport within and across our rural communities.  This film night made possible through the generosity of the two filmmakers and coordination by the New River Land Trust and the YMCA.  The screening is free…DVDs of Sacrificial Resource Zone will be available for a suggested donation of $10.

Time: 7 pm – 9 pm

Location/Directions: YMCA Dance Room

Additional Resources: Marino Colmano/Lucid Media


Thursday, September 22

New River Valley TimeBank KickOff

Event Description: A TimeBank helps to connect people to exchange skills and services, using time rather than dollars.  It is an old idea made new….the idea that our community is stronger and more resilient when neighbors make a practice of helping each other.  Want to learn more?  Come on down to the Farmers Market on Thursday and help us kick this thing off!

Time: 11:30 am – 12 pm

Location/Directions: Blacksburg Farmers Market/Market Square Park

Additional Resources: NRV TimeBank website, NRV TimeBank Facebook page


Campus Tree Planting

Event Description: It wouldn’t be Sustainability Week without a tree planting (or two, or three).  Meet up between Davidson and Williams Halls on VT campus to plant 10 native trees and help Virginia Tech maintain its Tree Campus USA standing….then come back in 50 years with your grand-kids and show them the tree you planted!  Closed-toed shoes recommended.

Time: 1 pm – 3 pm

Location/Directions: Davidson Hall, VT Campus

Additional Resources: Tree Campus USA – Arbor Day Foundation


Sustainability Week 2016 Celebration Ceremony

Event Description: What better way to follow a tree planting…than with another tree planting?  This year marks the 10th anniversary of the green partnership between the Town of Blacksburg, Virginia Tech, and Sustainable Blacksburg – a local citizens’ group.  Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, Blacksburg Mayor Ron Rordam and Sustainable Blacksburg President April DeMotts have been invited to provide remarks and participate in the planting of a white oak on Henderson Lawn, an important community gathering space right next to the heart of downtown Blacksburg and the edge of the Virginia Tech campus.

Time: 4 pm – 5 pm

Location/Directions: Henderson Lawn

Additional Resources: Tree Campus USA – Arbor Day Foundation


Solar Energy Workshop

Event Description: Curious about solar?  Well here’s your opportunity to learn from an expert!  This workshop will provide an introduction to photovoltaic solar electric systems including grid-tied and off-grid systems.  It will be led by Bryan Walsh, owner of Solar Connexion, who has 24 years of experience in the field.

Time: 5 pm – 6:30 pm

Location/Directions: YMCA

Additional Resources: solar payback calculator, Solarize Montgomery Facebook pageSolar Connexion website


20×20 Night:  Fast-Paced & Fun Presentations

Event Description: Bored to death with standard powerpoint presentations – regardless of topic? Well those days are over! The Sustainability Week Team is bringing you 8 great speakers — rapid fire — who will be presenting on their environmental/sustainability topic of expertise or passion…BUT they’re only allowed 20 slides and 20 second per slide! We’re packing A LOT of content into a one hour event with discussion and refreshments to follow.  Featured topics include: The Creative ReUse Center, Healthy Streams – Vibrant Community, What Color Is Water?, Stinkbugs, Green Burial, and more!

Time: 6 pm – 7:30 pm

Location/Directions: Alexander Black House – 204 Draper Road


Friday, September 23

Ecosystem Walk Behind Blacksburg High School

Event Description: Join Blacksburg High School Science Teacher Steve Hulbert and Club Green Student Representative Peter Aronson for an intriguing look at the vibrant and fragile natural area that can be found right behind our community’s high school.  Participants should meet up at the BHS Tennis Courts.              

Time: 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Location/Directions: Blacksburg High School – 3401 Bruin Lane


Saturday, September 24

Green Tailgating – VT Homecoming

Event Description: What’s so green about Homecoming? This year – plenty!  The VT Office of Sustainability is leading several volunteer teams to help tailgaters recycle.  If you want to volunteer for this or any of the other Sustainability Week service opportunities, please visit the sign up link below!            

Time: 9 am – 12 pm

Location/Directions: all over campus, volunteer signup page


Outdoor Family Class: Seed to Harvest

Event Description: Sow, sprout, and grow your plant knowledge using songs, stories, and hands-on nature exploration in this fun and interactive class for the whole family. We will gather at the Glade Road parking lot at Heritage Park. The New River Land Trust is offering this class for FREE for children ages 3-8+ and their families, but spots are limited and registration is required. To save your spot, email

Time: 9:30 am – 11:30 am

Location/Directions: Heritage Park – 2300 Glade Road

Additional Resources: New River Land Trust Youth Outreach Programs


Sunday, September 25

Community Garden Tour, Food Tasting, & Solar Homes Tour

Event Description: There’s a whole lot going on at the Hale YMCA Community Gardens.  Come learn about the community gardens, the solar greenhouse, taste some of the fresh food your neighbors have been growing all summer – and finish it up with a tour of a nearby solar home.  Intrepid Community Garden volunteers Jenny Schwanke and Brenda Springer + solar energy expert and enthusiast Dave Roper will be on hand to answer all your questions!

Time: 2 pm – 4 pm

Location/Directions: Hale YMCA Community Garden – 215 Maywood Street