Tag Archives: Cummins

Cummins Home Energy Savings Project Recap!

061616_HES Plus Cummins-9

On Thursday, June 16, a group of 12 Cummins volunteers arrived at Ms. York-Waters’ home for a special Home Energy Savings “Plus” project.

Hands On Nashville’s Home Energy Savings (HES) Program engages volunteers to improve the energy efficiency of homes, which on average saves homeowners $390 annually on their utility bills.

During this special, HES “Plus” project, Cummins volunteers not only set to work on improving the energy efficiency inside the home, but made tremendous improvements to Ms. York-Waters yard, as well.

Before the project, the house was “leaking” a significant amount of air, meaning cool was air escaping into warm places, and warm air escaping to cold areas. This is in large part due to an addition to the house made many years ago. Leaking air is one of the main causes of high energy bills, as it requires HVAC units to work harder throughout the year to maintain temperatures.

To remedy this issue, volunteers caulked around each window, and added weatherstripping around windows and doors. As soon as the volunteer set to work, they could tell the impact was going to be immense.

“It’s definitely going to help them out,” said volunteer Todd Browning. “Their house needs some TLC.”

 

Beyond the Home Energy Savings scope of work completed inside, Cummins volunteers set out to improve an outdoor portion of her home. After rain storms, large amounts of water pooled in one low-point in her yard, eventually leaking right into the lower level of the home. To remedy this issue, volunteers built a beautiful rain garden complete with native grasses and plants that will absorb water before it can reach the home.

One of the volunteers who helped build the garden was Kathy Pessefall, a Cummins employee who has helped on multiple HES projects now. When asked why she enjoys the process, Kathy simply said planting rain gardens is one of her favorite project activities.

“I like helping people, for one,” Kathy said. “But [i} also [volunteer] for my own selfish reasons. Since learning about rain gardens, I’ve taught multiple other people what I’ve learned!”

As the project drew to a close, Ms. York- Waters expressed sincere gratitude for all of Cummins hard work.

“I’m so glad you’re here, “Ms. York-Waters said. “I’ve learned a lot about my house, especially cobwebs and how they develop when there’s a lot of air coming into the home from outside; just last week we were discussing how they get there.”

“I learned a lot about how much air leakage we have and much about what we never knew about our home before today,” she said.

To learn more about the Home Energy Savings Program and how you can get involved, please visit HON.org/hes.

Notes from the Farm: Summer Camp Feeds Hungry Young Minds

By Josh Corlew, Hands On Nashville Urban Agriculture Program Manager

Sunflowers last summer were beautiful – about to flower again!

For the past few weeks, the Urban Farm has been thriving with activity. The mild spring weather and mix of sun and rain has made the fields so happy — the garlic is ready to harvest, the tomatoes and peppers are beginning to set fruit, and the sunflowers should be opening their heads in just a few weeks. With our second full growing (and teaching!) season underway, we can’t believe how much has been accomplished in the last year thanks to the community’s support!

Along with all of the anticipation around growth and renewal on the Farm comes the excitement of our second year of Hands On Nashville’s summer youth development program called Crop City. This farm-to-table, curriculum-based camp engages 400 young people in fun learning activities around healthy eating, nutrition, and connecting them to where food comes from — the ground! Most of the participating children are from neighborhoods with limited access to fresh produce. Through Crop City, the youth get a chance to learn from one another, play a role in growing the vegetables at the Farm, and learn about making healthy food choices. During the final week of the program, chefs from local Nashville restaurants will visit the youth on the Farm and show them how to prepare simple recipes using the healthy produce they’ve helped to grow. (Special thanks to Chef Tony Galzin of Flyte World Dining and Wine, and Caroline Galzin of Rumours Wine Bar, for their support in this effort!)

Crop City participants playing an ice breaker game, Giants, Wizards, and Dragons!
Crop City campers this week playing an ice breaker game – Giants, Wizards, and Dragons!

We were inspired by the results of last summer’s program at the Urban Farm: participants were able to recognize more vegetables than they had at the start of the program, and more than 75% said they were trying to make healthier food choices as a result of their experience. We are working toward even bigger and better outcomes in 2013, and can’t wait to share them with you!

Hands On Nashville Urban Farm Apprentices during their training last week doing a team-building exercise.
Hands On Nashville Urban Farm Apprentices during their training last week doing a team-building exercise.

 

One of the coolest aspects of Crop City is that the curriculum is lead by the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm Apprentices. Selected through a competitive application and interview process, these amazing teenagers are leading all of the Crop City activities under our guidance. We’ll be introducing the 15 Apprentices via this blog soon, so stay tuned! (They are one incredibly talented group of high school students.)

Chef_Galzin1small
Last summer, Chef Tony Galzin (Flyte World Dining & Wine) demonstrated how to make a tasty, healthy salad using the veggies the campers helped grow. We are excited to have Chef Galzin back again this year for the cooking workshop in July!

The community continues to be very supportive of our efforts at the Farm. We have enjoyed working with several corporate volunteer groups over the past few weeks on infrastructure improvement projects at the Farm. Special thanks to Starbucks, Ford, Cummins, and Deloitte for their hard work and support.

If you’re looking to get involved with the Urban Farm, there are two ways to support our efforts:

1) Volunteer! During the summer, our public volunteer opportunities are a little more limited, since we have so many young helping hands. But we do have weekly early-morning composting projects, and we’d love to have you join us (a perfect way to make an impact but beat the heat!).
> Click here to sign up. 

2) Support our Urban Agriculture Program with a monetary gift.
> You can make a donation here. 
Be sure to type “Urban Agriculture Program” in the “description” field.

Planting sweet potatoes. These turn into vines with beautiful purple flowers (and the sweet potatoes are so fun to dig up once they're ready!)
Planting sweet potatoes. These turn into vines with purple flowers (and the sweet potatoes are so fun to dig up once they’re ready!)

If you have questions about the Urban Farm, please email me at josh@hon.org. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more Farm updates throughout the growing season!

 

 

 

 

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Josh demonstrates how to plant spinach at the Urban Farm.
Josh demonstrates how to plant spinach at the Urban Farm this spring.

Josh Corlew is Hands On Nashville’s Urban Agriculture Program Manager. He oversees the organization’s efforts to engage volunteers in service opportunities that empower them to gain gardening skills, learn about healthy eating choices, and help address our city’s food access issues. An AmeriCorps alumnus, Josh also has a secret past life as a Trekkie (he’s a big fan of the TV series Star Trek, for the uninitiated among us), and he has been known to participate in death-defying canoe trips.

Give a bike to a kid in need.

By Adams Carroll, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Urban Agriculture Program –

Today we’re announcing a new Hands On Nashville initiative called ReCYCLE for Kids Presented by Cummins! For the next two Saturdays, we’re holding bike drives to collect used kids’ bikes. Volunteers will refurbish them, and then in December we’re gifting them to kids who may not otherwise have the opportunity to own their own bike. Our goal is to collect 300 bikes. Will you join us? Check out this short video of a similar effort in Portland, Ore. that inspired Hands On Nashville’s ReCYCLE for Kids.

In this blog post, our own Adams Carroll reminisces about his early biking adventures, and paints a bigger picture for why this initiative matters to our community.

I remember the first time I rode a bike – who doesn’t? I was one of the last kids in my neighborhood to learn this essential childhood skill. I remember feeling left out when everybody else on the block would go out on some small adventure and I would be left behind… or running to catch up! I also remember being an overweight child, and the effects that this had on my self-confidence and interactions with my peers. Nevertheless, when I finally learned how to ride my bicycle, I wasn’t thinking about all of the great health benefits I was about to reap. I was too busy enjoying that unique feeling of freedom that you can only experience when you are 8 years old, coasting down a hill on a little bicycle with one speed and a coaster brake. And maybe some sweet baseball cards in your spokes. There should be a word for that feeling.

ReCYCLE for Kids Bike Drives:

Sat., Oct. 13, 10a-4p
Hands On Nashville office
37 Peabody Street

Sat., Oct. 20, 10a-4p
Oasis Center Bike Workshop
Youth Opportunity Center
1704 Charlotte Avenue

LEARN MORE:

:: HON.org/recyclebikes
:: Adams@hon.org
:: (615) 298-1108 Ext. 416

According to a 2010 Youth Risk Behavior Survey administered by the Metro Department of Health, nearly 18 percent of Metro Nashville Public Schools high school students are overweight, and an additional 15 percent of students are obese. Locally and nationally, these numbers have risen steadily as our diets have increased in fat and sugar content and our physical activity levels have dropped. As this generation of children matures, they will find themselves at a higher risk for preventable illnesses like diabetes and heart disease than any generation that has preceded them. If nothing is done to combat this trend, doctors from the National Institute of Health predict that today’s kids will be the first generation in American history to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

As an adult, just as in childhood, I struggle to maintain a healthy weight. I’ll admit it: even though I understand the importance of maintaining a balanced diet, I love hot chicken and pizza. But since I started riding my bike again in 2004, I’ve noticed a drastic change in my health. I have more energy, sleep better, and am more productive at work. It’s rare that I take a sick day. And best of all, I get to be outside and be active at least twice a day. The health benefits of physical activity are real and measurable, and my waistline thanks me for that.

So if we want our kids to be healthy, how can we encourage them to be active? One way is to encourage kids to do something that they already enjoy. Riding a bicycle is one of the best kid-friendly forms of exercise because:

  • it is an activity that can be shared with friends and family
  • it is recommended by the Center for Disease Control and the Department of Health and Human Services
  • it is an activity that can be continued into adulthood, encouraging lifelong health benefits
  • it is awesome; kids love doing it

Okay, that all sounds good, but as with most health issues, it isn’t that easy. One issue, especially in our city, is that low-income communities tend to experience more environmental factors that increase the likelihood of childhood obesity. Whether this means a lack of access to fresh, nutritious food or fewer playgrounds and safe places to walk, the result is the same. Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show that low-income children are more likely to become overweight or obese. As they grow older, these health consequences can hold kids back as they try to get ahead. Sure, riding a bike is a great kid-friendly way to have fun and exercise, but many economically disadvantaged families are unable to justify the purchase of a bike. Tight family budgets, and the reality that a bike only has a useful life of 1-2 years for growing kids, are barriers.

For the past year, Hands On Nashville volunteers have worked with our Urban Agriculture Program to grow healthy foods for families in need at the HON Urban Farm. At our farm’s Youth Service Camp, kids being served by our nonprofits partners have learned about nutrition and the food system while practicing gardening techniques. And today, I’m happy to announce a new Hands On Nashville initiative that will give deserving kids a new tool in the fight against childhood obesity: a bicycle! Our new program, ReCYCLE for Kids Presented by Cummins, will use the power of volunteers to collect, refurbish, and gift bicycles to local kids in need.

This fall, in partnership with the Oasis Center, we will bring volunteers to the Oasis Bike Workshop to rebuild donated bikes to like-new condition. In December, more than 300 kids will join us at Rocketown for a day of bike safety education and a skills course to test their new knowledge. They will all go home with a helmet and the bicycle of their choosing. By the end of the day, there will be a lot of new first-time-I-rode-a-bike memories, and a lot more kids with access to a fun and healthy way to stay active.

YOU can help. If your child has outgrown their old bike, donate it to HON at one of our two upcoming bike drives. (Make sure to get your kid a sweet new bike at one of Nashville’s great local bike shops while you’re at it). If you don’t have a bike to donate, then help us spread the word! We want to get kids bikes out of the waste stream and back on the streets.

Do you have a fun first-bike memory you’d like to share?

A native Nashvillian, Adams Carroll serves as AmeriCorps VISTA Member for HON’s Urban Agriculture Program. He oversees the development of the Urban Farm Apprenticeship and Summer Youth Service Camp program. A bicycling enthusiast and dedicated bike commuter, Adams is a volunteer with Walk/Bike Nashville, the Oasis Center, and Free Bike Shop. His longest bike ride? 3,500 miles across 14 states.