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Brightside awards neighborhood and civic groups with NatureScape beautification grants

Tuesday November 9, 2010

New community gardens, an urban orchard and an outdoor classroom will be springing to life around Louisville. Mayor Jerry Abramson today awarded Brightside NatureScape grants to seven organizations including schools, a nonprofit youth organization and a university for a variety of community garden and tree planting projects.

“This program is a great example of Brightside’s ability to empower citizens of all ages to make a difference in their neighborhoods, while leveraging private resources,” Abramson said. “These projects will improve neighborhoods and schools throughout the community.”

Neighborhood groups, suburban cities, schools and nonprofit organizations apply for Brightside’s NatureScape grants twice a year to obtain funds for beautification projects. The NatureScape grant program is made possible by a sponsorship from YUM! Brands, with additional funding from individual Brightside donors. Combined spring and fall grants total $20,980, with awards ranging from $500 to $1,500 each.

Brightside’s NatureScape grants are funded entirely through private donations with primary sponsorship from YUM! Brands.

“Thanks to YUM! Brands, we’re able to fund projects like school vegetable gardens, which teach children valuable lessons about the environment and making healthy food choices,” said Mike Hext, Brightside Board President.

Brightside created the NatureScape Grant to assist groups in Louisville with beautification and community garden projects. Brightside is particularly interested in projects that “green up” the community, involve partnerships and include neighborhood residents.

NatureScape Grants are available for any officially recognized 501 (c) nonprofit group. Groups may apply for two funding cycles in a row for a total of $3,000, but must wait for one year before re-applying again, so that other organizations may benefit.

Brightside’s Spring NatureScape grant deadline is March 31, 2011. Neighborhood groups, suburban cities, non-profit organizations and schools are encouraged to apply by calling Brightside at 574-2613 or visiting www.brightsideinc.org for an application.

Brightside’s NatureScape Grant Awards

Fall, 2010

Brightside’s NatureScape Grants are sponsored by YUM! Brands.

Additional support comes from Brightside donors.

Bellarmine University - $1,492

Funds will be utilized to increase the sustainability of an existing garden plot by constructing compost bins, a verminculture (earthworm-enhanced) composting system and rain water collection systems. These additions will reduce Bellarmine’s waste stream and create fertile soil amendments.

Bloom Elementary - $1,500

In conjunction with their on-site program, “Food is Elementary” Bloom will construct several garden themes within their outdoor classroom space. Categories include “Edible”, “Historic”, “Sensory”, and “Butterfly”

Cane Run Road Elementary - $1,000

With the help of neighborhood residents, Cane Run Elementary will build and manage a community garden as part of its environmental program. More than 80% of the students qualify for free/reduced lunch and will benefit from the harvest of healthy vegetables.

Fern Creek High School - $1,330

Students will engage in hands-on learning as they manage and cultivate raised beds consisting of grapes vines, strawberries and thornless blackberries. The beds will be placed in higher traffic areas on campus, creating three “edible pathways” to the school. These pathways will allow students—more than 50% of whom are on free/reduced lunch-- to have access to fresh fruit as they approach school each day.

Portland Elementary - $1,500

Grant funding will provide plants and seed starter kits for raised vegetable beds. The school will assign a raised bed to each grade level, from K-5. Students tend plants, observe and log growth progress, water and weed. The experience will create a hands-on learning opportunity in addition to supplying fresh produce for students—91% of whom qualify for free/reduced lunch-- to enjoy.

St. Raphael School - Parent-Teacher Organization - $1,179

The school will enhance two existing vegetable gardens, add three more and build a compost bin. Program goals include creating education opportunities for students, developing green space, addressing childhood obesity and strengthening inter-generational relationships by involving students, parents and parishioners in the project.

YouthBuild Louisville - $1,500

Funds will be utilized to begin the first phase of an urban orchard with the goals of building community, creating a more ecologically sustainable neighborhood and creating access to fresh, organic produce. Fruit trees will include apple, pear, cherry and peach. Students and neighborhood residents will provide maintenance and ongoing care.

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Media Contacts:

Lisa Gunterman, 574-2339 / 216-9251

Phil Miller, 574-1901 / 439-4726