A Green Map of DC from the DDOE

To commemorate Earth Day 2010, Mayor Fenty and the District Department of the Environment have released the Green DC Map.

The map highlights DC’s environmental resources, such as green buildings, community gardens, farmers markets, bike share locations, scenic walks, river restoration projects, and boat launch sites.

The Green DC Map is available in two versions, a print map and an interactive online map.  The print version is available by request from DDOE and highlights high profile locations that are easy to visit.  It also features information about Anacostia restoration initiatives, the Green DC Agenda and the District’s Climate Action Initiative.

The online version of the Green DC Map includes many more sites than the print version and provides more detailed information about each location.  Online map users can customize the types of green venues and projects they would like to view and can create their own trails and tours by selecting specific locations.

Growing Gardens, Growing Kids

Guest post by Alison Drucker

At City Blossoms, organic gardening and environmental education meet art and community development. Founded in 2003 by Lola Bloom and Rebecca Lemos, this grassroots nonprofit builds gardens at local schools and recreation centers and uses gardening to build skills and healthy habits among kids.

The City Blossoms model is unique: develop productive, organic green spaces where children and youth are the main cultivators, using gardening to teach about sustainability, health, responsibility, and artistic expression (alongside basics like writing and social skills).

It doesn’t hurt if the project spruces up a formerly neglected urban lot, either – artistic expression and beautification are key pieces of the programming.

Spanning seven years and at least eight different projects, City Blossoms’ activities reach more than 700 kids each week in D.C., Baltimore, and Langley Park.

One of their success stories is the Girard Children’s Community Garden in Columbia Heights – in 2008, the group transformed an asphalt lot into a demonstration garden where children from community organizations now attend workshops and help grow vegetables, flowers, and herbs.

The garden is also home to a free monthly workshop series for families. This season’s bilingual workshops kicks off on April 3 with a session on container gardening; future workshops this year will give kids and parents a hands-on opportunity to learn about herbs, insects, composting, and garden-inspired cooking.

This spring, City Blossoms will be transforming another urban D.C. space into a neighborhood garden, this time on Marion Street in Shaw. The two lots will become home to drought-tolerant, native flowers and plants, along with herb and vegetable gardens, an outdoor classroom, and art spaces.

On Saturday, April 10th, you can volunteer your digging and planting skills to help the Marion Street Community Garden become a reality.

For the D.C. Bilingual Public Charter School and others, City Blossoms has also developed and delivered regular workshops tied to schools’ curricular goals and standards, hosted at the school, another local green space, or the Girard garden. And they create special school-wide events and after-school or summer activities that promote environmental and community stewardship.

Playing in a Sustainable Schoolyard

SpongeBob lunchbox? Check. Miley Cyrus binder? Check. Sustainable schoolyard? Check! Complete the back-to-school ritual with a visit to the Sustainable Schoolyards display, part of the One Planet—Ours exhibit, at the U.S. Botanic Garden until October 13, 2008.

The Sustainable Schoolyard Exhibit includes:

  • solar features
  • water systems
  • edible gardens
  • wildlife habitat
  • green building
  • waste as a resource

Each part of the exhibit can be used to teach children about math, science, and of course, the importance of green communities for our health and the planet’s well-being. It’s a great opportunity to get them away from the TV and XBox and into nature.

Interested in learning more about how to green your schoolyard? Visit DC Schoolyard Greening. It features examples of what schools in our area are doing to promote greener living and sustainability such as planting herb, wildlife, and vegetable gardens; building green roofs; implementing composting programs; building birdhouses; and more.

These Streets Were Made for Walking

Local urban trekkers rejoice. DC has made it onto the list of most walkable cities in the U.S., according to Walk Score, which “helps people find walkable places to live.” Top marks go to areas with a high density of nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc. and how easy it is to live a car-lite lifestyle. As gas prices continue to hover around $4 a gallon, there’s no better time to break out the sneakers and SIGG water bottle and hit the pavement.

The ranking is further broken down by neighborhood. Here are the top 10 for our area:

  1. Dupont
  2. Logan Circle
  3. Downtown
  4. U Street Corridor
  5. Foggy Bottom
  6. Mount Vernon Square
  7. Adams Morgan
  8. Kalorama
  9. Friendship Heights
  10. Georgetown

Next Time, #1

This really got me fired up. According to a US City Sustainability Ranking from Sustainlane, DC ranks #12 on its list of the top 50 U.S. cities on a variety of factors from air quality to transportation. We rate beautifully on public transit, green buildings, local food and agriculture, and city commuting. Unfortunately, not so much when it comes to tap water quality, metro congestion, and affordable housing. The cities that kicked our ass? Read ’em and weep:

  1. Portland, OR
  2. San Francisco, CA
  3. Seattle, WA
  4. Chicago, IL
  5. Oakland, CA
  6. New York City, NY
  7. Boston, MA
  8. Philadelphia, PA
  9. Denver, CO
  10. Minneapolis, MN