Category Archives: Sustainability

Hands On Nashville Named an MNPS Academy Partner of the Year

MNPS Academies 2015
Hands On Nashville received the award for Academy Partnership of the Year: Engineering, Manufacturing, and Industrial Technology for its partnership with Glencliff High School at the 2015 Academies of Nashville Awards.

For the last five years, Hands On Nashville has worked to engage and advance the Academy of Environmental and Urban Planning at Glencliff High School.

On Monday, May 18, the partnership was recognized as Academy Partnership of the Year: Engineering, Manufacturing, and Industrial Technology during the 2015 Academies of Nashville Awards! Continue reading Hands On Nashville Named an MNPS Academy Partner of the Year

Volunteers Give Refurbished Bikes to Nashville Youth

200 Youth Benefit From Hands On Nashville’s Third ReCYCLE for Kids Giveaway 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On Sunday, two hundred youth served by Metro Parks community centers took home “like-new” bicycles, and brand new helmets and locks as part of Hands On Nashville’s third ReCYCLE for Kids Giveaway event. Continue reading Volunteers Give Refurbished Bikes to Nashville Youth

Reflection: Chase Davenport, A Home Energy Savings VISTA

Chase Davenport
Thank you, Chase!

Chase Davenport joined Hands On Nashville’s Home Energy Savings Program (HES) team in May 2014 as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Hailing from Humboldt, Tennessee, Chase earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Austin Peay State University in 2013 before embarking on this next chapter. The decision to serve as a VISTA, Chase said, felt like the right thing to do.

“I wanted to do something more meaningful with my life,” he said. “I’d been accepted into a Master’s program at American University in Washington, D.C., but something told me this opportunity with AmeriCorps and Hands On Nashville was important. Grad school could wait.”

Chase led many capacity-building efforts for the HES program during his term. He developed relationships with homeowners, scheduled energy audits, added insulation to homes, led 300 volunteers, and engaged the community and other nonprofits to expand the impact the projects could have on the quality of life for homeowners.

“I didn’t know how to do many of the standard tasks performed during HES,” Chase said of his start. “The challenging aspect of my term wasn’t learning a new trade; it was seeing week-to-week how Nashville homeowners who are elderly, veterans, or who have limited mobility, struggle financially to pay for things like medicine, food, transportation.”

With Hands On Nashville, Chase worked to make a difference for those community members. During Chase’s year of project leadership and community engagement, 50 homeowners received energy-efficiency upgrades. On average, homeowners experience $455 dollars in utility savings each year as result of this work.

In March, Chase was accepted to Teach for America, where he’ll be serving as a teacher with Metro Nashville Public Schools. “Really, it’s just another way I can help others. That’s what I feel strongly about, and that’s what I intend to continue doing.”

Chase’s term with Hands On Nashville ends this May. Thank you, Chase, for an outstanding year of service to Nashvillians as a Home Energy Savings VISTA – you truly made a difference. We wish you the best in your future endeavors!

Youth Spotlight: Solteria

Leeks
Participants in Hands On Nashville’s Urban Agriculture curriculum create healthy dishes, like asparagus and leak salads.

Youth at Watkins Park Community Center participate in Hands On Nashville’s Urban Farm Curriculum every week. Many of the youth who participate have also joined Hands On Nashville for Crop City, a curriculum-based summer youth development program that positively impacts young people’s knowledge, skills, and behaviors about healthy eating and nutrition.  Many of the lessons the youth experience incorporate tangible analogies to help students better understand where food comes from and how it’s grown.

One youth, named Solteria, is especially involved in the curriculum. When asked about what she learned, she remembered a lesson that related the food system to shoe production. “I learned about food by learning about Nikes,” she said.

Solteria is also a great chef. She says her favorite dish she made with food fresh from the Urban Farm was an asparagus and leek salad. (Yum!). Solteria, we can’t wait to see you this summer at Crop City and look forward to seeing what healthy snack you create!

HON Earns Hall of Fame Status for Mayor’s Workplace Challenge

Mayor's Workplace Challenge 2015On April 10, 2015, Mayor Karl Dean recognized 20 workplaces for earning distinction in the Mayor’s Workplace Challenge Hall of Fame, including Hands On Nashville!

The Mayor’s Workplace Challenge encourages and recognizes places of work to excel in three areas that contribute to a high quality of life: being green, healthy and involved in the community. It is the first three-tiered challenge of its kind in the country, and other cities are replicating this initiative in their own communities.

 “I applaud the continued success of these workplaces in being environmentally friendly, promoting healthy choices among its employees and encouraging a culture of service through volunteerism,” Mayor Dean said. “The responses to the Workplace Challenge continue to be impressive and further exemplify why Nashville is such a great city to live and work.”

The third round of the Mayor’s Workplace Challenge concluded last month with total participation of over 235 workplaces representing more than 105,000 employees in Nashville.

Thank you, Mayor Dean, for this honor!

Volunteer Spotlight: Daniel McDonell

Hands On Nashville Volunteer Daniel McDonald blowing insulation during a Home Energy Savings Project in January 2015.
Hands On Nashville Volunteer Daniel McDonell blowing insulation during a Home Energy Savings Project in January 2015.

It wasn’t long after Daniel McDonell moved to Nashville that he began volunteering. In his first year as a HON volunteer, Daniel has made a significant impact during sustainability-focused projects. We recently caught up with the Memphis native about his passion for the environment, favorite projects, and why he thinks volunteering is one way to keep the civic character of thriving town. Continue reading Volunteer Spotlight: Daniel McDonell

Volunteer Spotlight: Andy Myers

Hands On Nashville Volunteer, Andy Myers, volunteering at the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm.
Hands On Nashville volunteer, Andy Myers, volunteering at the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm.

From helping edit curriculum taught to youth at the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm to leading volunteers in garden projects, Andy Myers has served with the Hands On Nashville Urban Agriculture Program for more than a year.

Continue reading Volunteer Spotlight: Andy Myers

Volunteer Spotlight: Jackie Hansom

Hands On Nashville Volunteer Jackie Hansom
Jackie Hamson (center) volunteering with friends on MLK Day of Service 2015.

From leading hundreds of volunteers on MLK Day to helping perform energy retrofits with the Home Energy Savings Program, Jackie Hansom has long been a standout Hands On Nashville volunteer! Continue reading Volunteer Spotlight: Jackie Hansom

Trees for a Healthier Nashville

T

Guest Post by Jennifer Smith, Horticulturist, Metro Public Works, Beautification & Environment Commission, Landscape Coordination Program.

Did you know that trees are vital to a healthy Nashville? From clean air to the reduction of temperatures, trees are working for us. For the environment, trees are an effective tool in managing storm water runoff and controlling erosion and they provide wildlife habitat. Continue reading Trees for a Healthier Nashville

Clear Your Yard & Help Our Farm!

FallLeaves
Bring your leaves to the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm!

Fall is here! While the trees are definitely beautiful as they change colors, that also means it’s leaf raking time. This year, instead of pushing leaves to the side or putting them out to be collected, consider dropping them by the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm! We collect leaves all fall and use them to help mulch our gardens in the spring and summer.

We’re now accepting leaf drops at the Urban Farm (361 Wimpole Dr, 37211). Once you arrive, look for the gravel drive with the “Leaf Drop Entrance” sign. (Be sure not to confuse this with the exit or the parking lot entrance just a couple hundred feet away.) The signs will lead you through our Leaf Hall where you can deposit your leaves into one of our many leaf bins — bagged or loose leaves are accepted and greatly appreciated.

If you have any questions, contact our Urban Farm Coordinator Adam Curtis at adam@hon.org.

How Do We Use Leaves at the Farm?

Leaves are an important part of the regenerative agricultural system we practice at the Farm. 

  • During spring, leaves are used as mulch to help reduce weeds.
  • As the summer heat sets in, leaves serve to help reduce water loss and soil depletion in heavy mulch layers. 
  • During the fall, leaves are layered with manure on top of our vegetable production area as part of our crop rotation system. 
  • By the following spring, these leaves, broken down by decay and winter, are incorporated as nutrients into our soil. 

Thank you for supporting Hands On Nashville’s Urban Farm!