Sustainability Week 2017


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Sustainability Week, September 16-24 – Week Long Events


Kids’ Activities Passport

Event Description: We believe that children are our future!  This year for Sustainability Week we are offering something new – a passport to all the activities that are kid/family friendly.  Kids who participate in at least four Sustainability Week activities (initialed by parent/teacher) will receive a special prize!

Times: At least one kid/family friendly event is being offered each day of Sustainability Week – see event descriptions below and look for *kid/family friendly to find all the fantastic events you and your kiddos could attend!

Location: multiple locations

Additional Information: Passports can be picked up at the SEEDS Office/Price House Nature Center, 107 Wharton Street SE, the Blacksburg Children’s Museum, 1470 S Main Street, Suite 106, the YMCA Thrift Store, 1000 N Main Street, or Imaginations Toy and Furniture, 1531 S Main St, Blacksburg, VA 24060.  If you would like the passport emailed to you, please contact  Children 12 and under must be accompanied by a parent at all Sustainability Week events. Prizes for completed passports can be collected at any of the places where passports were distributed, or at the Town of Blacksburg Sustainability Office – 141 Jackson Street.


An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

Event Description: A decade after An Inconvenient Truth (2006) brought climate change into the heart of popular culture comes the follow-up that shows just how close we are to a real energy revolution.  A sequel to The Inconvenient Truth, the follow-up documentary addresses the progress made to tackle the problem of climate change and Al Gore’s global efforts to persuade governmental leaders to invest in renewable energy, culminating in the landmark signing of 2016’s Paris Climate Agreement.  Rating PG, run time 98 minutes

Times: Fri 7:00 & 9:15; Sun 3:00, 7:00 & 9:15; Mon 10:00, 7:00 & 9:15; Tues-Thurs, 7:00 & 9:15

Location: The Lyric Theater, 135 College Avenue

Additional Information: An Inconvenient Sequel


Stormwater Public Arts Project Kick-Off

Event Description: The Town of Blacksburg is planning to launch a new public arts program centered around water heritage and water quality.  Modeled after a successful program in Richmond – Blacksburg will be seeking design concepts from local artists to adorn some selected storm drains around town – with a mission to raise awareness about the choices (and changes) we can all make to restore the health of our local impaired waterways.  Selected artists will receive a stipend to complete their works and a public unveiling of the newly decorated storm drains is planned for next year’s Sustainability Week.

Time: Submissions accepted anytime between September 16 and December 15, 2017

Additional Information: or 443-1617


Public Poetry Project

Event Description: Poems, selected for their human connection to Nature/Mother Earth, by local and global poets, are printed on recycled lengths of fabric (curtains, tablecloths, etc.) and hung from poles in locations around Blacksburg.  See if you can find/visit them all! *kid/family friendly

Time: all week

Locations: The YMCA Thrift Store, Price House Nature Center, Stroubles Creek next to Five Chimneys, Bollo’s Cafe and Bakery, Blacksburg Municipal Building, Blacksburg Old Town Hall


Participatory Public Prayer Project: Eco-Prayer Flag

Event Description: At the library, near the book return slot inside, there will be materials for making an eco-prayer flag. This will be similar to the Tibetan Prayer Flags in which individual flags are strung together on a rope or string. The finished prayer flag, in the tradition of the Tibetan ones, will be hung in Blacksburg and allowed to slowly age and decay. The wind and the elements carry the prayers to the Sky, to the Sun, and the Moon. Each participant may write their eco-prayer on a piece of paper, then use a clothespin to attach it to the frame at the station. Paper and clothespins, as well as markers and pens, will be at the station. At the end of the week the prayers will be strung together (by Karen Cairns) and the completed prayer flag hung in an outdoor location to be decided. *kid/family friendly
Time: all week
Location: Blacksburg Public Library


Caught Green Handed

Event Description: Do you see people on campus or around town using reusable bags, biking to work, or filling a reusable water bottle, or doing something else green? Help us catch these people “green handed”.  This campaign looks to spread awareness and give a tangible “attagirl” or “attaboy” to folks who take that extra step to make green choices in their everyday lives. CGH Ambassadors will be given a set of Caught Green Handed stickers and over the course of the week, they will keep their eyes peeled so they can “catch” people doing something green.  We also ask our CGH Ambassadors to help spread the message by posting pics of themselves with their “catchee” to our social media campaign  #CaughtGreenHanded. (with permission of course). *kid/family friendly (kids can be CGH Ambassadors as long as they are working with a parent/adult)

Time: all week

Location: anywhere someone can be caught!

Additional Information: We need 20 volunteers to be Caught Green Handed Ambassadors – if you are interested, please visit our Volunteer SignUp Page, or contact (if you are a VT student) or (if you are a community member)


Saturday, September 16


Kick Off Event: Blacksburg Bike Parade to The Farmer’s Market

Event Description: In order kick Sustainability Week off in style, our very own Mayor Ron Rordam will be leading us in a short but fun-packed bike parade from the VT Electric Parking Lot to the Blacksburg Farmers Market.  The ride is designed for all ages and abilities – you just need to bring yourself (a helmet of course) and a bike!  Face-painting, free bike safety checks, raffle items, a special prize for each participant!  *kid/family friendly

Time: 8:45 am assemble, 9 am parade starts off, 9:30 am parade arrives at Farmers Market

Location/Directions: 601 Energy Drive assemble (VT Electric Parking lot off Airport Rd)

Additional Information: or


Stroubles Creek Restoration Initiative: Riparian Forest Buffer Creation

Event Description: Stroubles Creek has been declared an impaired waterway by the Virginia DEQ.  The Stroubles Creek Restoration Initaitive aims to improve the health of this creek and the animals that inhabit it by creating a riparian buffer zone, reducing harmful runoff from nearby farms and pastures, and by protecting existing vegetation from deer.  We are seeking volunteers to plant trees, remove invasive species, and help maintain past years’ work. *kid/family friendly, may not be suitable for younger children – messy, thorny work

Time: 9am – 12pm  &  1pm – 4pm

Location/Directions: meetup is at Plantation Rd and Inventive Ln. NOTE: This service project is at maximum capacity and cannot accommodate new volunteers.  This is an ongoing project, so if you would like to volunteer in future months, please reach out to Vasiliy Lakoba at

Additional Information: Learn more on Facebook



Sunday, September 17


Y-Hikes: Angel’s Rest

Event Description:  Y-Hikes are designed to promote physical activity while getting to know the wonders that our hiking trails have to offer. We will be taking a hike on the third Sunday of every month, and in September we’ll hike Angel’s Rest! For carpooling (if you need a ride, or want to offer someone a ride), please meet by 8:15am at the Lancaster House, 403 Washington Street in Blacksburg. The hike will start at 9:00am at the trail head.

For directions, and to keep up-to-date with any possible cancellations due to weather, please follow the Facebook event.*

*kid/family friendly…but may not be a suitable activity for very young children

Time:  9 am

Location/Directions: Take 460 W, and near Pearisburg take the exit for VA-100S, turn right onto Johnston Avenue, and immediately right again onto Morris Avenue (SR 793). Drive one mile and there will be a small gravel parking area big enough for 2-3 cars where the Appalachian Trail crosses the road.

Additional Resources: YMCA at VT Facebook


Nature Play Date at Heritage Park

Event Description: Bring your kids for a play gathering led by the New River Land Trust staff and volunteers. Experience the joys of free-play with other children in nature. Meet play ambassadors from the community and fellow outdoor play lovers. *kid/family friendly

Time: 1 pm – 3 pm

Location/Directions: Heritage Park – Nature Play Space, Glade Road entrance – 2300 Glade Rd. Start at the unpaved trail closest to the kiosk. Hike down past the pond, take a right at the first fork in the path and then an immediate left once up into the field.  Soon, you can enter the Nature Play Space through a welcoming arbor entrance on the left.

Additional Information: youthoutreach@newriverlandtrust.orgNew River Land Trust Youth Education Programs – donations gratefully accepted


Electric Cars: Game Changers!

Event Description: This event is also part of National Drive Electric Week. Join us for a nationwide celebration to heighten awareness of today’s widespread availability of plug-in vehicles and highlight the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more. They are fun to drive, are less expensive and more convenient to fuel than gasoline vehicles, are better for the environment, promote local jobs, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Are you considering going electric? Come talk to owners who have successfully done so.

Time: 2 pm – 4 pm

Location/Directions: Blacksburg Motor Company Building (400 South Main Street)

Additional Information: National Drive Electric Week


Environmental Coalition @ VT Welcome Picnic

Event Description: The Environmental Coalition at Virginia Tech is a student-run organization dedicated to empowering VT students who wish to advocate for a more environmentally sustainable future, and they are starting off the semester with a welcome picnic! There will be music, yummy food, and lots of new friends! There will also be tie-dyeing, so please bring any articles of clothing that you would like to make colorful. Also, people are encouraged to bring reusable dishes and utensils to reduce waste. Can’t wait to see everyone there!

Time: 5 pm;  **A group students of will be meeting at the Pylons at 4:45pm to walk to the park together**

Location/Directions: Wong Park (303 Wilson Avenue)

Additional Information: EC @ VT facebook page, or (current Environmental Coalition president)


Monday, September 18


Virginia Tech Sustainability Expo

Event Description: As Virginia Tech nears many important target dates for our Climate Action Commitment goals, we will be hosting a Sustainability Expo to inform the campus and community on our progress towards these goals. The event will consist of an expo-style education area, as well as a panel discussion and Q&A session from sustainability professionals across campus.

Time: 4:30 – 6:30 pm (expo 4:30 – 5:30, panel discussion beginning at 5:30 pm)

Location/Directions: New Classroom Building – Room 210 (Corner of West Campus Drive and Perry Street)

Additional Information: If you would like to table at the event, please let us know, or contact


Exploring Hidden Carbon Footprints

Event Description: When we think about our individual carbon footprints, we naturally think about the energy we use the power our homes and cars.  Come hear from 3 expert speakers who will tell us how our day-to-day choices around water, food and everyday purchasing and disposal methods can also have a big impacts on how much we contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions.  This event is immediately followed by a Homesteading Skills Demonstrations workshop.

Time: 4 pm – 5 pm

Location/Directions: Blacksburg Public Library Community Room

Additional Information: Cool Climate Network Carbon Footprint Calculator


Homesteading Skills Demonstrations

Event Description: Learn about herbal remedies, dehydrating garden produce, making butter and cheese, and cider making at home!  Local experts and hobbyists will share their skills and knowledge on how to live a more self-sufficient (and lower carbon footprint) lifestyle. Remember to bring your library card to check out related materials on homesteading skills we’ve gleaned from the library shelves while you’re there.

Time: 5 pm – 7 pm

Location/Directions: Blacksburg Public Library Community Room



Tuesday, September 19


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 – close toed shoes are a must! 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.  *kid/family friendly…but may not be suitable for families with younger children (i.e. poison ivy and lots of thorns) Please wear close toed shoes and appropriate clothing!

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, or visit our Volunteer SignUp Page


Free Yoga at Hahn Horticulture Garden

Event Description: Join the Blacksburg Yoga Collective at Hahn Horticulture Garden Pavilion for FREE yoga. 75 minute basic Hatha flow. All levels are welcome. Bring your own mat; a limited supply will be available for you to borrow. *kid/family friendly

Time: 5:30 pm – 6:45 pm

Location/Directions: Pavilion at Hahn Horticulture Garden (200 Garden Lane)


Rocky Forge Wind – Virginia’s First Wind Farm

Event Description: Virginia’s first wind energy farm is actively being developed in Botetourt County and is expected to power up to 20,000 homes annually. Join the Office of Sustainability and Apex Clean Energy to learn more about the project, long-term economic and environmental benefits, and to meet the team behind the development.

Time: 6 pm – 7 pm

Location/Directions: New Classroom Building – Room 170 (Corner of West Campus Drive and Perry Street)

Additional Information: Rocky Forge Wind Project



Wednesday, September 20


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!  We are also looking for a few volunteers to help with the Active Commute Celebration Hype Squad.  *kid/family friendly

Time: 8 am – 1 pm

Location/Directions: Squires Plaza – VT Campus

Additional Resources:  VT Alternative Transportation CenterVT Bike Hub, and Ride Solutions.  If you would like to help volunteer for this event, please visit our Volunteer SignUp Page.


Sustainability @ Market Day!

Event Description: Come join local farmers and crafters at the Blacksburg Farmers Market.  In addition to all the fine local foods you have come to enjoy on Wednesday Market Day, we will have special sustainability-themed activities for kids of all ages: the Bag Monster, participatory art experiences (What Color Is Water), The Enviroscape Model, and a general info booth staffed by Sustainable Blacksburg volunteers! *kid/family friendly

Time: 12 pm – 6 pm

Location/Directions: Blacksburg Farmer’s Market (100 Draper Rd.)


Fast Paced & Fun Eco-Presentations: Powered By PechaKucha

Event Description: Bored to death with standard powerpoint presentations – regardless of topic? Well those days are over! The Sustainability Week Team is bringing you 9 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 one event with discussion and refreshments to follow.  Featured topics include: Sustainable Blacksburg, Invasive Species, Beneficial Tree Species, Ticks, Citizen Climate Lobby, Making Energy From Food Waste, VT Campus Tree Canopy: An Opportunity for Carbon Sequestration, How Cows Can Save the Planet, and the Solar Decathalon.

Time: 6 pm – 8 pm

Location/Directions: Alexander Black House (204 Draper Rd)




Thursday, September 21


SEEDS, Freshwater Heritage of Blacksburg: Stroubles Creek & 16 Frogs Tour

Event Description: Find your connection to Stroubles Creek, and to the New River and Gulf of Mexico.  We’ll follow the trail of the stream and discover why the 16 original blocks of Blacksburg were founded in this area.  Be prepared with appropriate clothes, water and snacks.  We’ll find some of Blacksburg’s most historic locations and also find a few of the 16 (bronze sculpted) Green Frogs installed so far as part of the “16 Frogs” project that SEEDS is part of developing. *kid/family friendly

Leader: Dr. Mike Rosenzweig, Senior Instructor, Virginia Tech Dept. of Biological Sciences; Director, Biological Sciences Outreach and SEEDS – Blacksburg Nature Center

Time: 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Location/Directions: meet up at SEEDS/Blacksburg Nature Center at the Price House, 107 Wharton Street SE, *please note that parking is limited at the Nature Center, please plan to bike, walk, or carpool to this event.

Additional Resources: Blacksburg Price House Nature Center, SEEDS, 16 Frogs, Biological Sciences Outreach Program


Downtown/Neighborhood Cleanup of Stroubles Creek Tributaries

Event Description:  Immediately following the tour of Blacksburg’s freshwater heritage tributaries that feed into Stroubles Creek, the Environmental Coalition at Virginia will be leading a cleanup along the neighborhood streets that are most likely to impact Stroubles Creek.  Yucky items abound, so perhaps don’t wear your fancy ballgown or tuxedo!  Collection bags and latex gloves will be provided. *kid/family friendly…but may not be a suitable activity for very young children

Time: 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Location/Directions: meet up at SEEDs/Blacksburg Nature Center at the Price House, 107 Wharton Street SE

Additional Resources: Volunteer SignUp PageEnvironmental Coalition at Virginia Tech, or



Friday, September 22


Recycle Pop Up Shop at the Blacksburg Children’s Museum

Event Description:The Recycle Pop Up Shop is a place where children can create original artwork from recycled and surplus materials. Children and adults can collect materials from our Shop and bring their ideas to life in the Art Center or at home.  Please join us anytime for this fun drop-in event that will start on Friday afternoon and run through Sunday. *kid/family friendly…great for children ages 3 and up (note: there is a small admission fee to the Blacksburg Children’s Museum)

Time: Friday 4-7 pm; Saturday 10 am – 5 pm; Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm

Location/Directions: Blacksburg Children’s Museum, 1470 S Main Street, Suite 106

Additional Resources: questions? email or or call 953-0103


Farm Tour, Solar, Food & Brews Gathering (aka Sustainability Hat Trick)

Event Description: As Sustainability Week draws to a close, join us for a fun and informative gathering at Glade Road Growing Farm and Rising Silo brewery.  This place is  truly a one-stop shop for all things sustainability! Come for the farm tour but be sure to pick up some fresh local produce and meats, sample some of Blacksburg’s locally brewed beer, enjoy delicious hot food from the kitchen, and listen to some fantastic local musicians!

We’ll start off the evening with an hour long tour of the farm. Glade Road Growing’s farming methods are based on building and maintaining soil health, biodiversity, and community involvement (read: fun). The intensive cultivation area only occupies about four acres, while the remaining 44 acres of the property are responsibly managed, part in rotational pasture and part in a managed riparian area for a tributary of Tom’s Creek. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear – the tour will go on rain or shine!

While you’re there, come tour the solar installation that powers the farm and brewery! You’ll be able to see and interact with the equipment and get a live demo of the energy monitoring system that shows how the solar and grid work together to supply electricity to the facility. The Baseline Solar team who designed and installed the system will lead the tour.

Also save some room for HOT food from Tabula Rasa featuring ingredients grown and raised on site at Glade Road Growing. Rising Silo Brewery features beer and kombucha brewed on site using local and organic ingredients (they also have gluten free beer!). They’ll also feature live music: an Irish Jam with Mist on the Mountain and Friends.

*kid/family friendly (note: alcohol and amplified music present)

Time: 5 pm – 8 pm; farm tour starts at 5 pm, solar tour starts at 6 pm, music starts at 7 pm

Location/Directions: Glade Road Growing (2351 Glade Rd.) , Rising Silo Brewery , Tabula Rasa *** Note that parking is extremely limited at Glade Road Growing.  Please plan to bike, walk, or carpool to this event.



Saturday, September 23


Green Tailgating

Event Description:  Join the Office of Sustainability on Saturday, September 23rd during the VT/ODU game in making your tailgate green! VT’s Tailgate Green Team works to promote recycling during home football games by engaging tailgaters and distributing recycling bags. Our Green Team meets at the YMCA’s Lancaster House @ 403 Washington St. 2-3 hours before each home game begins. For more information, or to serve as a volunteer for Green Tailgating, please contact Karlee Siepierski at

Time: meetup at 11 am at the YMCA Lancaster House – 403 Washington St. SW

Additional Resources: Please visit our Volunteer SignUp Page if you would like to help with this event.


Outdoor Family Class: The Art of Autumn

Event Description: Why do leaves turn beautiful colors in the fall? What does it feel like to be a leaf spinning in the wind? Join us for an art and nature workshop inspired by autumn and organized by the New River Land Trust. Adam Short, Virginia Master Naturalist trainee, will teach us about local trees and reveal the secrets of their fall colors. Then, we’ll whirl & twirl like leaves and make watercolor prints with local artist and art teacher, Alyssa Holland Short. *kid/family friendly
The class is FREE, but registration is required. Email to register.

Time: 9:30 am – 11:30 am

Location/Directions: Heritage Park – 2300 Glade Road (We’ll meet in the Glade Rd parking lot)

Additional Resources: New River Land Trust Youth Outreach Programs


KidWind Practice Challenge

Event Description: We are excited to partner with the JMU Center for Wind Energy to bring you this exciting event!  If wind turns your crank, we invite you to come explore wind energy in our wind tunnel.  We will provide all the materials needed to explore, build, and test a wind turbine in preparation for the Southwestern Regional KidWind Challenge on March 5th in Roanoke.  In addition to wind energy, local experts in other clean energy technologies (solar, energy efficiency, and biodigestion of food waste to create fuel – see event description below) will also be on hand, so all you clean energy enthusiasts, this is the event for you!  Practice challenge open to grades 4 – 12, event open to all ages.  Elementary age children must be accompanied by an adult. *kid/family friendly

Time: 10 am – 2 pm, open house format – drop in anytime

Location/Directions: YMCA Large Event Room, 1000 N. Main Street

Additional Resources: JMU Center for Wind Energy, KidWind Challenge,, or 540-568-8768


Mobile Biodigester Demonstration

Event Description: Who doesn’t love a win-win-win? Come see for yourself how microorganisms can reclaim the useful energy in food waste, help to divert organic material from our local landfills, while also creating a high nitrogen/phosphorus waste product that can fertilize future crop production!  Created by mechanical engineering students at Virginia Tech under the direction of Dr. Steven Cox, the entire food-to-energy conversion process happen right on the mobile biodigester trailer and can create enough energy to power an entire home! *kid/family friendly

Time: 10 am – 2 pm, held in parallel with KidWind Practice Challenge

Location/Directions: YMCA parking lot

Additional Resources: VT Renewable Energy Now, Dr. Steven Cox


Eco Movie Night – “Straws” & “The Garbage Revolution Starts at Home”

Event Description: From a single choice like whether or not to use disposable straws or larger topics like the totality of our garbage footprint, these two short independent films seek to help viewer explore how small habits can add up to huge impacts. Everyday life under a microscope has never been so revealing. By the end of this trashy odyssey, we hope you are truly inspired to revolutionize your lifestyle for the sake of future generations. These filmmakers skillfully and succinctly shift the conversation from the distant melting glaciers and oil slicks to our neighborhoods and into our homes, so that average people can connect the dots between their actions and the environment and be inspired to change their polluting ways. *kid/family friendly

Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Location/Directions: Blacksburg Public Library



Sunday, September 24


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, learn about beekeeping, 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! *kid/family friendly

Time: 2 pm – 4 pm

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