ST Events

Bike Repair Station Dedicated in Downtown Ithaca

We were glad to attend this great gathering on November 18th to dedicate the first bike repair station in downtown Ithaca – funded by our Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program!! Biking brings business to downtowns and providing this kind of infrastructure enables all sorts of residents to own and use their bikes regularly. Our team was glad to support this collaborative project of Downtown Ithaca Alliance, Go Ithaca, and BikeWalk Tompkins.

The repair stand is set up in the Press Bay Courtyard and comes with a great set of attached tools for any number of repairs to your bike. Alongside is a sturdy tire pump as well. Plus you can aim your phone at the QR code and pick among several videos that will provide you step by step instructions to make your particular bike repair.

If all goes well with this first one, the collaborative team behind this hopes to install several more at various points in the City.

Thanks to BikeWalk Tompkins, Downtown Ithaca Alliance, Go Ithaca, and the businesses down in Press Bay Court!

Carbon Offset Cruise This Wednesday! 10/6

You heard that right… the first EVER ūüõ≥Carbon Offset Cruiseūüõ≥ is on the horizon!

Wednesday, October 6th @ 6 PM to be exact, which also just happens to be Energy Efficiency Day.

Join us as Discover Cayuga Lake celebrates the summer-long contributions cruise-goers have made to offset the carbon emissions of their trips – whether it be learning about lake algae, taking samples, or at Club Cayuga! ‚õīūüźüūüéß

It’ll be a wonderful chance to learn more about the sustainability & climate justice movement right there in the Finger Lakes while on the water!

This is a FREE eco-tourism community cruise. All are welcome. No previous sustainability knowledge necessary – just come ready to learn and relax on the Teal.

The boat is docked at the end of Marina Drive, across from the Park Police building. Look for the big boat that says MV Teal. There is plenty of parking available. Oh, and don’t forget to BYOB. See you soon!

Sign up to secure your free spot.

Neighborhood Mini-Grant Applications Due October 1

Do you have an idea for a project to make our community more sustainable, resilient, or inclusive? Need a little help in covering the costs? Sustainable Tompkins is accepting applications for our fall 2021/winter 2022 round of Neighborhood Mini-Grants.

The Sustainable Tompkins Neighborhood Mini-Grant program supports initiatives improving environmental sustainability, equity, and environmental, economic, and social justice in Tompkins County. Since it began in 2008, it has awarded more than $81,000 in 205 grants for innovative grassroots projects throughout the county.

Grants range from $150 to $750 and support initiatives promoting sustainable food systems, alternative transportation, waste reduction/reuse, energy conservation/fossil fuel use reduction, and environmental education, and addressing social and economic inequality.

Proposals are reviewed biannually by a team of community members. The program is sponsored by the Park Foundation, Beck Equipment, Natural Investments, Fingerlakes Wealth Management, Craig Riecke, and local donors.

Individuals, organizations, and neighborhood groups are welcome to apply, as are local microbusinesses seeking to green their operations or extend their products or services to low-income clientele. Priority is given to new and/or small entities with relatively few sources of support.

 Successful initiatives supported by Neighborhood Mini-Grants in recent years include the founding of the Freeville Farmers Market, establishment of the Finger Lakes Toy Library as a lending collection of environmentally-friendly toys, creation of an Ithaca Murals equipment lending library for artists and community members creating murals that reflect the demographics, values, and stories of Ithaca’s residents, and restoration of a disused and overgrown trail in Dryden.

Applications must be received on or before October 1, 2021. To request an application form, or if you have questions, please call (607) 272-1720 or email sasha@sustainabletompkins.org.

Neighborhood Mini-Grant Funds Observation Board Celebrating Six Mile Creek

Photo by Sasha Paris.

Flowing through forested gorges and farmland, winding through the City of Ithaca to Cayuga Lake, Six Mile Creek is the city’s water supply and a part of home for people in diverse communities. Titus Triangle Park in Ithaca’s Southside now hosts an observation board celebrating the creek and those who live along it, created as a collaborative project led by Southside resident Adrianna Hirtler and supported by a Neighborhood Mini-Grant from Sustainable Tompkins.

Along with new materials purchased with the grant, the board and its supporting structure are largely built from donated and repurposed materials, including a border of stones gathered along the length of the creek from headwaters to mouth.  Anyone may contribute to its ever-changing collage featuring observations and photos of plants and animals, stories and kind messages to the community, and more.

The board was presented to the public in a gathering on August 28, 2021, attended by roughly 30 people. Adrianna thanked the many neighbors and community members who contributed materials and time to its creation, and Gayogoh√≥:n«ęňÄ (Cayuga) Faith Keeper Stephen Henhawk gave opening words.

Visit this website for more information about the board and a growing gallery of photos.

The Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program provides seed money to diverse initiatives to build environmental, economic, and social resilience and well-being in Tompkins County. The program is sponsored by the Park Foundation, Beck Equipment, Craig Riecke, Natural Investments, Fingerlakes Wealth Management, and local donors. Please donate today and help us support more wonderful citizen-driven projects to improve life in our community.

Summer Survey on Home Energy and Comfort Issues

Maggie interviewing a homeowner about their tenants.

Our Finger Lakes Climate Fund awardees have nearly all been homeowners who qualify for our grants based on their income: 80% or less of the county’s median. Over the past 10 years, we’ve helped dozens of families in Ithaca and surrounding counties to become climate heroes by providing gap financing for insulation, air sealing, and high efficiency equipment. But in a city where nearly 75% of the population rents their living space, it requires a bit more effort and outreach to replace outdated, dangerous, and inefficient HVAC equipment in rental properties. This summer, our team at Sustainable Tompkins is conducting a door-to-door survey focused on lower-income neighborhoods to capture the reality of residents’ energy cost burdens and related health, indoor air quality, and home comfort issues.

Our summer survey data will help give us a sense of the energy challenges tenants are facing as well as identify homes that may qualify for local and state grants. Some respondents may be connected directly with grant funding to install insulation, air sealing, or clean energy heat pumps and water heaters. We’re also aiming to connect with those willing to be neighborhood block leaders who can help educate their neighbors to take next steps.

The Split Incentive: Who invests vs. Who benefits? 

So why are we focusing on renters? Month-to-month, many tenants grapple with poorly insulated older homes and outdated equipment. Replacements often happen only when a system completely fails. Because their tenants either directly or indirectly cover the utility bills, landlords can be slow to make improvements and often lack an incentive to buy higher quality equipment that reduces energy bills. The cost of installing a new high-efficiency heat pump system represents an additional barrier for landlords to update their rental properties, and they‚Äôre often unaware of the financial assistance available to them if their tenants are income-qualified. As a result, cheaper fossil-fuel powered furnaces continue to be replaced by more of the same, delaying the home‚Äôs transition to clean energy by the additional 15-year lifespan of the replacement. Read the rest of this entry »

Giving is Gorges 2021 – A Success!

Graphic with stats from 2021 Giving is Gorges campaign

Thank you for $8,310 from 84 donors!

Thanks to our amazing fundraisers and all of their outreach, we were able to raise $8,310 across 84 donors! That’s equivalent to over 3 full Climate Fund grants and is a HUGE help in keeping all of our programs running. We’re especially grateful for all of you who pushed us past our 2020 totals and earned us the “Greatest Leap” prizes: $250 for the organization that had the biggest increase in donations from the previous year.

Make sure you’re following us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up-to-date on what we’re doing and the big things we have coming up for the Finger Lakes sustainability scene. We appreciate your participation on ALL fronts!

 

 

 

 

 

Give on June 23 For a Chance to Win an Upcycled Lamp

Giving is Gorges is TWO DAYS away! Even though early giving has already started, this year’s main event on June 23rd has something special in store for all Sustainable Tompkins supporters.

Our dear friend Jon Jensen has kindly donated a one-of-a-kind, fully functional upcycled lamp that will be raffled off to ANYONE who donates between 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on the 23rd.

Share our fundraiser (givingisgorges.org/organizations/sustainable-tompkins) on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and get an extra entry per platform!

The lamp up for grabs is this wholly unique ‚ÄúEscape Of The 20 Foot Barbie‚ÄĚ piece, standing at 23‚ÄĚ tall (only 20 feet tall in the Barbie universe). A perfect and useful talking piece, sure to impress dinner guests and children alike.

Donate here on the 23rd for your chance to win!

Giving is Gorges: A Vital Day for Grassroots Organizations

Giving is Gorges 2021 is underway! Even though the main event is June 23, early giving is open now. And the organization with the most raised funds before the 23rd will get an extra $250 from the Giving is Gorges sponsors.

This event is especially crucial to Sustainable Tompkins, as we have always been a grassroots initiative. Our mission is to uplift our community and make life in the Finger Lakes (and beyond!) better for everyone.

For large-scale regional change to continue happening, we need your support so we can continue to train the next generation of climate justice leaders and grow the infrastructure that will facilitate widespread action.¬†Much of our work is often ‚Äúbehind the scenes‚ÄĚ and not always easy to convey to the public, but our prolonged Neighborhood Mini-Grant and Finger Lakes Climate Fund programs have visibly enriched the community for over a decade.

New York State and the City of Ithaca have ambitious climate goals that rely on local-level organizations like Sustainable Tompkins to meaningfully enact. Will you join us in holding our officials accountable and engaging our neighbors in the fight?

Yes, I will give today

Neighborhood Mini-Grants Build Local Resilience

Indigo workshop 2020. Photo provided.

As restrictions on activities ease in Tompkins County, many groups and individuals are starting new initiatives to build the area’s long-term resilience and equity. In April 2021, Sustainable Tompkins awarded $3,850 to nine Neighborhood Mini-Grants supporting new shared gardens, bicycling infrastructure and education, mutual aid food sharing, community-building, and other projects.  

Catholic Charities of Tompkins/Tioga will start a permanent program of instruction in machine sewing at A Place to Stay, their transitional supportive residence for homeless and recovering women in Ithaca, with machines and lessons provided by SewGreen. A Neighborhood Mini-Grant will pay for tools and materials.  

Local resident Claire Dehm will offer three free Women at the Wheel bicycle repair workshops at the Ithaca Farmers Market pavilion in summer 2021. These workshops will be open to women and non-binary residents of Tompkins County, and give extensive instruction on fixing flat tires, helping to make bicycling a more viable form of transportation for more local people.  A Neighborhood Mini-Grant will cover all costs of the workshops. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Neighborhood Mini-Grant Applications Due April 1

Do you have an idea for a project to make our community more sustainable, resilient, or inclusive? Need a little help in covering the costs? Sustainable Tompkins is accepting applications for our spring/summer 2021 round of Neighborhood Mini-Grants.

The Sustainable Tompkins Neighborhood Mini-Grant program supports initiatives improving environmental sustainability, equity, and environmental, economic, and social justice in Tompkins County. Since it began in 2008, it has awarded more than $77,000 in 196 grants to innovative grassroots projects throughout the county.

Grants range from $150 to $750 and support initiatives promoting sustainable food systems, alternative transportation, waste reduction/reuse, energy conservation/fossil fuel use reduction, and environmental education, and addressing social and economic inequality.

Proposals are reviewed biannually by a team of community members. The program is sponsored by the Park Foundation, Beck Equipment, Natural Investments, Fingerlakes Wealth Management, Craig Riecke, and local donors.

Individuals, organizations, and neighborhood groups are welcome to apply, as are local microbusinesses seeking to green their operations or extend their products or services to low-income clientele. Priority is given to new and/or small entities with relatively few sources of support.

 Successful initiatives supported by Neighborhood Mini-Grants in recent years include the founding of the Freeville Farmers Market, establishment of the Finger Lakes Toy Library as a lending collection of environmentally-friendly toys, creation of an Ithaca Murals equipment lending library for artists and community members creating murals that reflect the demographics, values, and stories of Ithaca‚Äôs residents, and restoration of a disused and overgrown trail in Dryden.

Applications must be received on or before April 1, 2021. To request an application form, or if you have questions, please call (607) 272-1720 or email sasha@sustainabletompkins.org.