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Parks + Greenspace : For Good

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Local Derby Day event to raise funds for Winton Woods Riding Center

The Kentucky Derby is just around the corner, and while most everyone can get excited about the grandeur of the event and the stakes of the race, there is a population of local individuals for whom the stakes are also high.

The Winton Woods Riding Center with Great Parks of Hamilton County — home to the Special Olympics Hamilton County Equestrian Team — will receive 50 percent of the proceeds from Parkers Blue Ash Tavern’s 4th Annual Kentucky Derby fundraiser.

This year’s May 6 event, which occurs on Derby Day, will help raise scholarship money for students. These scholarships will give them the chance to experience nature, animals and activities in a unique and moving way that due to lack of funds, wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

“Great Parks Foundation believes that all members of our community should have access to all that the great outdoors has to offer,” says Rachel Neumann, manager of the Winton Woods Riding Center.

Through the scholarship fund, individuals and groups — many of whom are Special Olympics athletes and therapeutic riding students in the Special Riders Program — benefit, as medical equipment, therapy expenses and the cost of adaptive equipment add up.

“Seeing the joy on these riders' faces as they arrive for their weekly lessons warms your heart,” Neumann says. “Watching them build relationships not just with the horses they ride, but also with their classmates and volunteer supporters is my favorite part of working at the Winton Woods Riding Center.”


- Plan to attend the Kentucky Derby Party and Fundraiser at Parkers Blue Ash Tavern from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. on May 6. Admission is $15 and can be paid at the door.

- Once at the event, have fun. Dress your best. Grab your hats. Enjoy a Mint Julep, and bring extra cash for raffle items, which also support the Winton Woods Riding Center.

- Support the Riding Center by donating.

Tri-State Trails inviting all to area trails opening day

Opening Day for Cincinnati Reds baseball is always a celebration, but there’s another Opening Day — also full of entertainment — in store for community members. Tri-State Trails is hosting its second annual Opening Day for Trails event April 8 and 9.

As part of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s national kickoff to spring trail season, this weekend’s festivities will feature 14 trail events that encourage participants to walk, hike or bike their ways throughout Greater Cincinnati.

“Our vision is to make Cincinnati the healthiest region in the country,” says Megan Folkerth, program officer for active living at Interact for Health, one of Rails-to-Trails' community partners. “Opening Day for Trails encourages people to explore local trails and incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives.”

This season’s Opening Day for Trails sampler will showcase the variety of ways in which people can incorporate physical activity into their lives. Event highlights include:

  • Covington will host a scavenger hunt on the Licking River Greenway Trail
  • Indiana will host a guided history tour on the Whitewater Canal Trail
  • In partnership with UC|sustainability, Tri-State Trails will lead a four-mile bike ride through Uptown, along the proposed Wasson Way

“Opening Day for Trails showcases some of the many ways you can experience our robust trail system in Greater Cincinnati,” says Frank Henson, chair of Tri-State Trails and president of Queen City Bike. “We’re excited to engage new trail users and build support for continued investment in trails and active transportation.”


- Explore the full list of events for Opening Day for Trails.

- Post a trail selfie using #tristatetrails for a chance to win free gear from REI Cincinnati.

- Tell a friend about this weekend’s upcoming events, and encourage them to explore and be active as well.

KCB honors volunteers, community leaders with first ever Love Thy 'Nati Celebration

Late last month, Keep Cincinnati Beautiful hosted its first, and now annual, Love Thy ‘Nati Celebration to recognize the volunteers and community leaders who have helped the nonprofit make monumental strides to improve the environment.

Seven “Rep the Crown Awards,” one of which is titled the Golden Glove award, was presented to City Councilmember Christopher Smitherman for launching the #OneBagofTrash challenge via social media. The campaign encouraged community members to gather litter in their respective neighborhoods, then tag their friends on social media and encourage them to do the same.

Three community awards with cash prizes of $500 were presented to the West McMicken Improvement Association, the North Avondale Neighborhood Association and Seven Hills Action Group. A Director’s Choice award was presented to Sahil Sharma and Brand Old Production for the creation and production of KCB’s first-ever public service announcement.

“In 2016, over 17,000 volunteers partnered with KCB to build community and foster pride in the places we live, work and play,” says Mary Huttlinger, executive director for KCB. “This event was to celebrate them.”

KCB, an affiliation of Keep America Beautiful, has worked since 1978 to find new and inventive ways to educate and encourage community members to take pride and greater responsibility when it comes to cleaning up their neighborhoods, and 2016 is a testament to its impact.

“Cincinnati is beautiful,” Huttlinger says. “And we are committed to keeping it that way.”


- Like KCB on Facebook.

- Volunteer with KCB.

- Be a community leader. Pick up trash when you see it and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same.


Reforest Northern Kentucky celebrates 10 years of planting trees, educating community

It’s been 10 years since the Northern Kentucky Urban & Community Forestry Council started its annual tree planting event, Reforest NKY, and it doesn’t look like there are plans to stop anytime soon.

In the last decade, the volunteer-based project has planted more than 36 acres of trees all across Northern Kentucky. On March 25, Reforest NKY will head just north of Big Bone Lick State Park in Boone County to the Piner property to continue to restore Kentucky's landscape.  

“Reforest NKY has become a stepping stone to restoring trees, and ultimately forests, into the landscape,” says Tara Sturgill, Reforest NKY secretary and public relations subcommittee chair. “Reforest NKY is increasing public awareness of the importance of trees, which will ultimately improve the quality of life for everyone in the community.”

The area where volunteers will be planting is on a stream restoration project site, which is being completed by Northern Kentucky University's Center for Environmental Restoration.

“At the source, this event is about the trees, but we are also hoping to create an atmosphere of awareness and education around reforestation and what it means to our communities, and to us as individuals," Sturgill says. "Cultivating a spirit of stewardship for our native forests amongst those that we influence through this event is paramount to our program.”
Do Good: 

•    Look out for Reforest NKY's 2017 volunteer registration, which will open in February.

•    Want to help in the planning process? Visit the website for committee meeting dates and times. 

•    For more information on Reforest NKY and how you can help, contact Sturgill at 859-409-0791 or reforestnky@gmail.com.

Local creatives raise nearly $10K for Make-A-Wish

Halloween has come and gone, but the impacts of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Cincinnati chapter’s latest fundraiser are long lasting.  The group hosted GUTS: Creatives Carving for Kids at Washington Park last month and raised nearly $10,000 for Make-A-Wish Southern Ohio. The “pipeline of eligible children” continues to grow with the proximity of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
“We raised more than enough for one wish,” said Jay Shifman of Make-A-Wish Shifman said noting that they work to grant the wish of every child facing a life threatening illness in our community.
AIGA to surpassed fundraising goal of $8,000 (the average cost of one wish) by $1,200.
The winning Team LPK carved “Haunted OTR"  four pumpkins, side-by-side, depicting the local streetscape.  
“GUTS is a part of AIGA Cincinnati’s larger ‘Design for Good’ initiative,” said Phil Rowland, architect and AIGA member. “We believe design can make a difference in our community.”

Do Good: 

•    It's not too late to donate. Contribute here.

•    Sign up to be a sponsor for next year's GUTS. It's never too early.

•    There are many ways to help grant wishes. Learn about them here.

Celebrate Make a Difference Day Oct. 22 in Covington

National Make a Difference Day is Oct. 22, and Covington residents can choose from three organized neighborhood projects.
Pitch in to landscape, weed and mulch, or paint at Latonia’s Barb Cook Park or head over to the Goebel Pool Paint Party — the continued work of Make Goebel Great.
On Covington’s Westside 18 trees along Holman Avenue that were vandalized in July will be replanted, along with 50 new trees, throughout the neighborhood. A city arborist will join community members in Orchard Park to demonstrate urban environment techniques.
Across the nation, thousands of projects will take place on what is one of the largest single days of service.
“Covington’s residents want to see the city thrive,” said Shannon Ratterman, program manager for community development at The Center for Great Neighborhoods. “And these projects are one way to make that happen. It’s a great opportunity to give back to the community and meet neighbors in the process.”
Do Good: 

•    Want to help Perk Up The Park in Latonia? Sign up here.

•    Make Goebel Great by helping paint. Invite your friends, and learn more here.

•    Help beautify Covington's Westside, and learn to properly plant trees in urban areas. Learn more here.

Brand Old Productions, Keep Cincinnati Beautiful collaborate to launch PSA

In an imperfect world with a multitude of causes worth advocating for and working to remedy, it’s sometimes difficult for a nonprofit to relay its message in an effective and concise way — most importantly — in a way that prompts collective action.
That’s why Keep Cincinnati Beautiful (KCB) is doing its part to launch a new public awareness and fundraising campaign. Thanks to the talent and volunteer work of Brand Old Productions, KCB has a new public service announcement that speaks to something we all have in common — the desire to live in a neighborhood, and in a city, that’s free of blight and vacancy.
“In order to engage people to volunteer or donate, the message needs to be short,” said Brand Old Productions’ Sahil Sharma, who directed the PSA titled "The Philanthrop". “KCB does so much; the challenge was, ‘How do we capture it all in two minutes?’”
Throughout Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods, KCB’s efforts are trifold — educational outreach, urban revitalization, and its annual Great American Cleanup, which occurs every weekend from March through November.
The results? A decrease in crime by up to 13 percent, a decrease in blight by 15 percent, and an increase in economic development by 27 percent.
“You could easily do an hour documentary with all they do,” Sharma said.
The goal of the PSA, which premiered this past week, is to encourage individuals to do something — whether it’s spreading the word by raising awareness, volunteering, or donating money to make a difference — so we can all live in a clean, safe community that thrives.

The PSA launch comes in conjunction with a 10-day, 10 for $10 challenge in which participants are encouraged to donate at least $10 to KCB, then post a photo or video to social media, encouraging 10 friends to do the same. 
“It’s been a real privilege doing this for KCB because we’ve learned so much about just what it takes to keep a city clean,” Sharma said. 

Do Good: 

•    Check out "The Philanthrop," and share a link to the video with your friends. 

•    Help KCB take its 10 for $10 campaign, which runs through October 17, viral. Take a photo or video with a sign that says "I'm a 10...#KCB4US," then challenge your friends to do the same. 

•    Get a group of friends together, and participate in the Great American Cleanup

Cincy set to host 28th annual Black Family Reunion

The 28th annual Midwest Regional Black Family Reunion — the only Black Family Reunion in the U.S. — will draw individuals together for a time of celebration and togetherness this weekend.
This year’s theme “The Family: Strong and United” is fitting, as the accomplishments of those who are working to improve our community will receive recognition. But also because events such as a job fair and free health screenings will be offered, providing those in attendance with further opportunities for growth. 
“Besides the annual parade and live music draw, many people don’t realize we host Health, Arts and Spirituality Pavilions,” says Tracey Artis, Black Family Reunion event producer.
It’s a way to bring communities, consumers, corporations and nonprofits together to connect with one another in engaging and beneficial ways.
The celebration kicks off Friday and extends through Sunday, with events taking place at Sawyer Point, Yeatman’s Cove, Sharonville Convention Center and other sites throughout the city.
“This three-day, fun-filled weekend brings people together to honor historic strengths and values of the black family,” Artis says. “We provide a safe, positive environment emotionally and physically. The event celebrates and unifies the African American family.”

Do Good: 

•    Check out the full schedule of events here.

•    Want to get involved? Consider volunteering.

•    Invite a friend, and plan to attend this weekend's celebration.

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful does its part to spread One Bag of Trash Challenge

It’s been a little more than a week since Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Smitherman launched the One Bag of Trash Challenge. The campaign is reminiscent of the Ice Bucket Challenge, but instead of dumping ice on people to raise money for ALS, the One Bag of Trash campaign encourages others to do their part in changing the world by picking up litter within their communities.
The challenge is gaining traction, as Keep Cincinnati Beautiful has accepted the challenge and now wants to spread it across the country.
“Last year, over 10,000 KCB volunteers and staff collected over 760 tons of litter, or 1.5 million pounds — that’s the equivalent to 300 new hippopotamuses at the Cincinnati Zoo,” says Mary Huttlinger, executive director for KCB. “The KCB team enthusiastically accepts the Councilman’s challenge and plans to not only jump on board locally, but send the challenge up to Connecticut — the home of our national office, Keep America Beautiful.”
Anyone interested in participating in the challenge can pick up heavy-duty trash bags, gloves and water at KCB's office, as the nonprofit has decided to provide materials to those who are willing to sign-up and make a change.
“If all 300,000 Cincinnatians picked up just one bag of trash, over 3,000 tons of litter would be collected off Cincinnati streets and sidewalks,” says Megan Beck, volunteer programs manager for KCB.
Councilman Smitherman and KCB encourage the public to nominate their friends and be proactive to make their homes and communities clean and vibrant spaces. 

Do Good: 

•    Complete the challenge, and encourage your friends to do the same. Use #onebagoftrash to share your story on social media. 

•    Follow KCB's Facebook page to keep up with the latest challenges. 

•    Pick up your supplies from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at 1115 Bates Ave., 45225. 

4th annual Taste of OTR returns to Washington Park on Aug. 26

This year, anyone who enjoys Washington Park during the summer can enjoy the Taste of OTR for two days instead of just one. More than 15,000 people are expected to attend the event on Aug. 26 and 27.
The charitable event, which is returning for its fourth year, is hosted by Tender Mercies, one of Cincinnati’s nonprofit organizations that helps homeless adults with mental illnesses.

“The Taste of OTR was created as a way to celebrate growth in Over-the-Rhine,” says Jackie Baumgartner, Tender Mercies development director. “We really wanted to provide a way for the community to come together and enjoy our beautiful Washington Park with the backdrop of Music Hall.”
Attendees can enjoy music from Junior Brown and Maps and Atlases, local craft beer, and food from local restaurants and food trucks. 
The Taste of OTR is presented by Elm & Iron, and is sponsored by various organizations in the community. 
The two-day event will also feature more family-friendly activities than ever before, such as a kid zone with face painting, balloon animals and a coloring contest.
“There is an incredible amount of energy on the lawn," Baumgartner says. "It really speaks to Over-the-Rhine and Cincinnati, especially because it attracts people from different walks of life. It’s everyone. That’s the best way to describe it. It’s a great way for people to experience all that our area has to offer.”
Do Good: 

•   Attend the Taste of OTR, Friday, Aug. 26 from 5 to 10 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 27 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Washington Park. Admission is free.

•    If you're interested in volunteering, contact Jackie Baumgartner at 513-639-7021 or by emailing jbaumgartner@tendermerciesinc.org.

•    Learn more about Tender Mercies and its mission.

Taking Root puts grant money back into Make a Difference Day

Every October, thousands of volunteers across the country participate in Make a Difference Day. In the Queen City, hundreds of volunteers intend to plant as many trees as possible as part of a project called Taking Root

Taking Root launched in September 2013 in an effort to raise awareness of the region's tree canopy crisis. Its message is simply to educate people on the value and need for trees and how to care for them.

The goal is to plant two million trees in the region by 2020.

The project was one of 10 in the country to receive a $10,000 grant from the Make a Difference Day Foundation for its efforts in 2015. 

Taking Root's team plans to use the grant money to continue its mission — by reforesting the area.

"We're putting it right back into working with the community and doing more tree planting on Make a Difference Day," says Matt Stenger, Taking Root's executive director.

The Greater Cincinnati area has experienced a loss in its tree canopy due to pests like the Emerald Ash Borer and invasive plants. 

"We're losing a lot of trees in such a short amount of time," Stenger says. "Which is why this has become such a big crisis — not just for our region, but for the whole Eastern half of the United States."

Planting trees will go farther than just cosmetic value. The mere presence of trees can positively affect crime rates, mitigate storm water, sequester carbon, affect property values, and create habitats for wildlife.

Do Good: 

•   Attend the free, pre-Make a Difference Day workshop on Aug. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Civic Garden Center, 2715 Reading Rd.

•    Volunteer in your community on Make a Difference Day, which is Oct. 22.

•    Learn more about Taking Root and its campaign to reforest the region.

Organizations strive to make Cincinnati area more walkable and bike-friendly

Green Umbrella’s Tri-State Trails Initiative and the OKI Regional Council of Governments have collaborated to put bicyclists and pedestrians at the forefront of the region’s transportation policy.
With an update to its 2040 Plan, OKI and its board of directors recently voted to unanimously increase the number of prioritized bike and pedestrian-related projects from just 3 to 17.
What was once a $2.5 million project has now become a $191 million project, which Frank Henson, chair of Tri-State Trails and president of Queen City Bike, says is well worth it, as it will help elevate the region as a more walkable and bike-friendly city.

“We applaud OKI for their leadership to include the voice of bicyclists and pedestrians in the 2040 Plan update,” Henson says.  “The Tri-State needs a comprehensive, active transportation network to remain economically competitive with peer regions.”
While the new plan is significantly more expensive, the cost of implementing new trails, protected bike lanes, and even sidewalks, pales in comparison to the cost of a highway, and it serves a more inclusive population.
“Our region needs more active transportation infrastructure to encourage new users to commute by walking or biking,” says Kristin Weiss, executive director at Green Umbrella. “Collectively, this can have a profound impact on air quality, congestion and public health.”

Interact for Health, which also weighed in on the matter, is excited to see the updated plan as well, as public health and the drive to make Greater Cincinnati one of the healthiest regions in the country is of prime focus.

“Physical activity is a key factor in a person’s overall health, and having access to a safe, robust trail system enables people to incorporate exercise into their daily routines,” says Megan Folkerth, program officer at Interact for Health. “Incorporating the trails system into OKI’s 2040 Plan paves the way for a healthier community for all of us in the future.”

Do Good:

• Go for a walk or bike ride to increase your activity level and overall health. 

• Support or join organizations like Green Umbrella that work to advocate for active transportation options.

• Connect with the organizations on Facebook: Green Umbrella, OKI, Interact for Health.

Youth to judge history's most stunning automobiles as juvenile arthritis fundraiser

Calling all car enthusiasts! The Ault Park Concours d’Elegance will celebrate its 39th annual showcase of the most stunning automobiles and motorcycles throughout history on Sunday, June 12.
What began in 1978 as the brainchild of the late Helen Williams has transformed over the past six years. She began the event as a way to honor her friend Bill Rudd, who dealt with rheumatoid arthritis, and as a way to benefit the Ohio River Valley's chapter of the Arthritis Foundation.

While the focus is still very much aimed at car enthusiasts, youth judging will occur.
“It infuses new energy into the show and engages the next generation of car enthusiasts,” says Elysa Hamlin, communications representative for the event. “They will have the opportunity to participate in an informative session on basic judging skills and will then put their skills to the test, awarding three top finishers from a pre-selected group of automobiles displayed.”
Although the Arthritis Foundation is still the beneficiary, the proceeds now go specifically toward juvenile arthritis.
Mila, who is just 8 years old, knows all too well what it means to be affected by arthritis and also understands what it means to have support. She will participate in this year’s judging competition and will present the awards at the culmination of the spectacle.
“Event proceeds over the years have significantly grown the services available to children in Greater Cincinnati who are suffering from the disease, and their families,” Hamlin says. “Proceeds have supported Juvenile Arthritis Camps and Juvenile Arthritis Power Packs — kits with useful information and tools to assist newly diagnosed children and teens, as well as their parents. It’s a great event to attend because it supports a great cause.” 

Do Good: 

• Purchase tickets at the gate for Sunday's show at Ault Park. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students with IDs and free for children 12 and under. There will also be free shuttle service provided. Check here for information regarding parking. 

• While the judging won't occur until Sunday, there are events going on all weekend. Here is the complete schedule. 

• If you can't attend Sunday's festivities, support the Arthritis Foundation by donating online. 

Great American Cleanup seeking volunteers for April event

Hundreds of volunteers help beautify various spots throughout Covington every Spring during Great American Cleanup, and more are needed for this year’s event April 30.

The Great American Cleanup — hosted by Center for Great Neighborhoods, Keep Covington Beautiful and the City of Covington — is Covington’s largest annual volunteer event, garnering more than 800 helpers each year.

“I think it’s a really great opportunity for people to come out and join with their neighbors to give back to their community,” says Shannon Ratterman, the Center’s community manager of community development. “This is a big collective effort to make our community a more beautiful place.”

Attendees who sign up will be assigned to specific sites around Covington to pick up litter, place trees, spread mulch and plant flowers. Rumpke is this year’s event title sponsor.

Anyone interested in learning more information about Great American Cleanup can attend an informational session Saturday, April 2, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at Braxton Brewing Company in Covington.

An after-party will take place at Goebel Park to celebrate, Ratterman says.

Do Good:

Register as a volunteer for Great American Cleanup on Saturday, April 30 from 9 a.m. to 12:00 noon. 

• Attend the informational session Saturday, April 2, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at Braxton Brewing Company, 27 W. Seventh St., Covington.

• For more information on how you can get involved, contact Shannon Ratterman

Tri-State Trails preps launch of Opening Day on the Trails Challenge

With temperatures currently below freezing, it can sometimes be difficult to envision Spring.

Green Umbrella's Tri-State Trails, however, is already gearing up for the region’s first Opening Day on the Trails Challenge, set for April 16.
The Trails Challenge — part of a national welcoming of Spring organized by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy — will take place over seven weeks and encourage families and individuals alike to explore trails and collect prizes upon completion.
“We believe the Opening Day on the Trails Challenge will motivate people to explore our region’s trails and incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives,” says Megan Folkerth, program officer of physical activity environments at Interact for Health, which is making the Trails Challenge a financial possibility thanks to a $25,000 grant for implementation. “Interact’s vision is to make Cincinnati the healthiest region in the country.”
The Trails Challenge extends through May, National Bike Month, and allows the region to continue gathering momentum when it comes to bicycling, says Frank Henson, chair of Tri-State Trails and president of Queen City Bike.
“In addition to current trail users, we’re using this challenge as an opportunity to engage new users for trails,” Henson says.
Tri-State Trails will publish details regarding the Challenge as well as an online interactive trail finder map this spring.

Do Good:

• Check Meet Me Outdoors! for details as the Trails Challenge approaches, but in the meantime allow the website to serve as a resource for your current outdoor recreational needs.

• Connect with Tri-State Trails on Facebook

• Become a Tri-State Trails member.
98 Parks + Greenspace Articles | Page: | Show All
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