Initial 2022 Grant Recipients

Sustainable Blacksburg’s mission is to promote and enhance sustainability in Blacksburg and its environs.  In 2021, we established a small grant program to enhance the impact of our work by supporting the efforts of others in the community to accomplish sustainability-related projects that align with our mission. We are pleased to announce the recipients of our first two grants for 2022, Shadowlake Village and the YMCA at Virginia Tech. These organizations have already started putting these funds to good use.

Shadowlake Village (SLV) requested a grant to establish a Native Plant Propagation Area to grow plants that will be used as part of a community-wide effort to remove invasive plant species and re-establish native plants in their place, supporting Sustainable Blacksburg’s focus on ecological integrity.

As described in their proposal,

“Maintaining habitat for native biodiversity is key to ecological integrity, and an important, shared goal at Shadowlake Village. We recognize that the greatest threat to our community’s native forest, woodland, and grassland is from invasive plant species. Many in our community are already working to stem the tide of invasive species, but each time we remove an invasive plant it creates a soil disturbance. One ecologist has called these disturbances “weed-shaped holes” because they are likely to be re-colonized by invasive species. To address this challenge, we propose propagating a store of hardy, perennial, native plants and planting these where invasive species are removed. We propose that growing our own native plants from local populations generally represents a more economical and less risky approach than purchasing native plants or seeds from nurseries.”

SLV provided a detailed plan for accomplishing the siting and construction of the Native Plant Propagation Area and the work is already well underway. We look forward to seeing the final results and everyone will be able to see it when SLV is featured on our Sustainable Garden Tour on August 28.

The YMCA at Virginia Tech requested a grant to purchase more prominent signage for the YToss collection sites. The YToss program is one of the most impactful sustainability initiatives in our area, diverting tons of still usable items from the landfill and supports Sustainable Blacksburg’s waste reduction focus area. The program collects gently used items students might otherwise “toss” during campus move out, including TVs, electronics, microwaves, refrigerators, furniture, clothing, hutches, fans, and more. Non-perishable foods, paper products, and laundry detergent are also collected and donated to local food banks.

As described in their proposal,

The items collected in May are re-purposed at the Y-Toss Sale in August, serving over 1,000 customers annually and providing an affordable option for students with limited resources… Proceeds from the sale support the YMCA’s Student Programs, which provides opportunities for Virginia Tech students to develop real-world leadership skills through the development and facilitation of community services such as afterschool programs, tutoring, senior programs, and more.

The timing of the grant award enabled the YMCA to put the funds immediately to use for signage for this year’s YToss collection. Sustainable Blacksburg members have been volunteering with YToss for years and we are excited to be able to provide additional support to this important program through one of our grants.

Sustainable Blacksburg’s mission is to promote and enhance sustainability in Blacksburg and environs by promoting clean energy, smart growth and mobility, ecological integrity, social equity, local food systems and reduction of waste, carbon emissions, and pollution.

We work to accomplish our mission by serving as a clearinghouse of sustainability-related information, and collaborating with the Town of Blacksburg, Virginia Tech, other community organizations and businesses to create and cross promote sustainability policies, programs, and projects.

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