Sustainability

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In June 2018, the Sustainable Wheat Ridge (SWR) Committee published recommendations to enhance the environmental sustainability of Wheat Ridge, provide strong financial returns, and bring substantial benefits to public health, community cohesion, and livability.

Our goal of this page is to provide a platform for residents to engage with the Sustainable Wheat Ridge resident advisory committee and city staff regarding sustainability topics in Wheat Ridge. We will be updating this page regularly with new topics, resources and programs and will utilize resident feedback to inform the development of future sustainability program offerings. We look forward to hearing from the community!

The six focus areas of Sustainable Wheat Ridge are:

Green Building and Energy Efficiency

Renewable Energy

Solid Waste and Recycling

Transportation

Water

Communications and Engagement

Join the conversation by engaging with the tools below!

In June 2018, the Sustainable Wheat Ridge (SWR) Committee published recommendations to enhance the environmental sustainability of Wheat Ridge, provide strong financial returns, and bring substantial benefits to public health, community cohesion, and livability.

Our goal of this page is to provide a platform for residents to engage with the Sustainable Wheat Ridge resident advisory committee and city staff regarding sustainability topics in Wheat Ridge. We will be updating this page regularly with new topics, resources and programs and will utilize resident feedback to inform the development of future sustainability program offerings. We look forward to hearing from the community!

The six focus areas of Sustainable Wheat Ridge are:

Green Building and Energy Efficiency

Renewable Energy

Solid Waste and Recycling

Transportation

Water

Communications and Engagement

Join the conversation by engaging with the tools below!

  • Sustainability Spotlight - July 2021 - Summer Outdoor Watering

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    By: Christopher Bird, Sustainable Wheat Ridge member

    According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American family uses 320 gallons of water per day, about 30 percent of which is devoted to outdoor uses. As the weather warms up and drought conditions persist, water conservation is more important than ever, especially when it comes to outdoor watering.

    Sustainable Wheat Ridge has some tips to help improve outdoor watering habits and consumption!

    • Install a rain barrel to collect water (it has been a surprisingly wet season here in Colorado).
    • Install drip water efficient drip irrigation systems for your landscaping.
    • Consider switching landscaping plants to native plants that require less water for our alpine desert climate.
    • Set automatic sprinklers to water early in the morning or late at night to reduce loss from evaporation.
    • Maintain automatic sprinkler systems and check for broken sprinkler heads and underground pipe leaks.
    • If you do not have automatic sprinklers, set a timer on your phone to remind you to shut off your hose powered sprinklers.
    • Collect indoor water that you normally let run down the drain as you wait for it to warm up and utilize it for outdoor watering needs.
    • Remove dead/dying plants and weeds from landscaping that compete for available water.
    • Mulch flower areas and gardens to reduce water loss.

    Water conservation benefits us all and will help what you pay out of pocket for water usage. If you would like a free rain barrel diverter kit from Sustainable Wheat Ridge, contact sustainability@ci.wheatridge.co.us. A rain barrel diverter kit will help you make a rain barrel out of an old trash receptacle, barrel or other large receptacle. Happy watering!

    July Sustainability Updates

    • The City of Wheat Ridge is accepting new neighborhood applications for the Sustainable Neighborhoods program! If you are interested in the program and would like to learn more, an open house event is scheduled for Tuesday, July 27 at 6:30 P.M. at the Wheat Ridge City Hall City Council Chambers. The City will be accepting applications for the program until Monday, August 30, 2021. To find out more about the program and the application, click here(External link).
    • The City is hosting a series of Sustainable Neighborhoods pop up events for neighbors who are interested in learning more about the program and the application process. Come out to the upcoming events to meet your neighbors, enjoy complimentary food and beverages, and learn about the program!
      • Tuesday, July 20, 4-6 p.m. at Founders Park
      • Wednesday, July 21, 4-6 p.m. at Anderson Park (stick around for Performances in the Park!)
      • Thursday, July 22, 4-6 p.m. at Colorado Plus (part of Localworks' Porches and Patios event!)
    • The City is participating in Fresh Food Connect again this growing season to partner local growers with those in need of food assistance. Residents can download the Fresh Food Connect app on their phones to donate their excess produce to Family Tree - which provides the fresh food to those in our community experiencing homelessness.

    More about Sustainable Wheat Ridge

    Sustainable Wheat Ridge (External link)is a resident-led committee that was established in 2018 to provide the city with recommendations to enhance the environmental sustainability of Wheat Ridge. Included in these recommendations are goals around preserving Wheat Ridge’s agricultural history, connecting local producers and consumers, and establishing partnerships to support local food production. Check out the full Sustainable Wheat Ridge action plan here(External link)!

  • We are searching for two NEW Sustainable Neighborhoods!

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    In 2020, The City of Wheat Ridge joined Lakewood, Denver and Fort Collins as the newest member of the Sustainable Neighborhoods Network!

    The Sustainable Neighborhoods Program gives residents the opportunity to become active partners in building a vibrant and sustainable Wheat Ridge community. Neighborhoods participating in this unique certification program receive guidance and support from city staff to organize workshops, projects and events that enhance the livability of their neighborhoods and reduce residents' ecological footprints. Participating neighborhoods earn program credits and recognition from the community and the City.

    The City of Wheat Ridge is looking for two new neighborhoods to join the program this summer! To learn more about the program and the application process, please join us for an open house on Tuesday, July 27 at 6:30 P.M. at City Hall Council Chambers. Completed applications must be submitted by Monday, August 30, 2021. APPLY TODAY!

    Please be sure to read the Wheat Ridge Application Guide and Application Frequently Asked Questions before you apply! Download the Signature Support form and upload the completed form with your application. For tips on how to gather signatures with low-to-no contact, read the Signature Support Ideas document. If you have any questions, contact Kayla Betzold at sustainability@ci.wheatridge.co.us.

    To read more about what our two Sustainable Neighborhoods have been up to, check out our article in Connections.

  • Sustainability Spotlight - June 2021 - Bicycle Facilities in Wheat Ridge

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    By: Danny Terlip, Sustainable Wheat Ridge member

    Bicycling has been a key element of human transportation for hundreds of years. Today 12% of Americans cycle regularly, a number that has increased by 3 million people from 2017 to 2020. Cycling has many benefits including improved cardiovascular health, stress reduction, pollution reduction and traffic reduction. Plus, it’s a great way to get to know people in our community and experience new places. Sustainable Wheat Ridge is excited to highlight all that Wheat Ridge has to offer for two wheeled enthusiasts in this month’s Sustainability Spotlight.

    Many of us are familiar with the exciting race in the French mountains – The Tour de France – but have you heard of the equally exciting Wheat Ridge Criterium in our own backyards? The event, scheduled for 21 September and includes a professional bike race through Wheat Ridge, a brew fest and a kids’ zone. You can catch the cyclist speeding down 35th, 38th, Teller and Pierce all day. More information can be found at http://ridgeat38.com/criterium.

    The best way to get to the “Crit” is to bike there, of course! Wheat Ridge has safe and convenient options for bicycling through town. The City has undertaken a study to keep Wheat Ridge accessible to all modes of transportation called the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. It contains recommendations for improvements and prioritizes areas of Wheat Ridge for improvements.

    Maps in the Master Plan describe the best routes for bicycling through Wheat Ridge. When traveling East/West, Wheat Ridge offers three solid options. The best is the Clear Creek Trail running along the North side of town. This 20 mile trail runs from Golden, through Wheat Ridge and connects with other trails into Thorton, Denver, Arvada and Westminster. It is best for immersion in nature and for those wishing to avoid automotive traffic. For traveling through town, 32nd St and 26th St have bicycle lanes on both sides of the street traversing the entirety of Wheat Ridge.

    Pierce Street is an excellent North/South route with wide on-street and off-street bike lanes through the entirety of Wheat Ridge, starting at I-70 and continuing through Lakewood. When traveling Pierce St, don’t forget to stop at the Ridge at 38th for a beverage, new vinyl record and a bite to eat. Sustainable Wheat Ridge and the City of Wheat Ridge have acquired and installed new bike racks on 38th Street to give cyclist secure options for locking their bikes up in the area.

    With the G Line fully operational now, there are many new opportunities for multi-modal transportation around Wheat Ridge and the surrounding cities. As many of us are looking for COVID friendly activities with friends and families, cycling stands as a clear option for your health, the city’s health and the planet’s health.

    June Sustainability Updates

    • The City of Wheat Ridge is accepting new neighborhood applications for the Sustainable Neighborhoods program! If you are interested in the program and would like to learn more, an open house event is scheduled for Tuesday, July 27 at 6:30 P.M. at the Wheat Ridge City Hall City Council Chambers. The City will be accepting applications for the program until Monday, August 30, 2021. To find out more about the program and the application, click here.
    • The City is participating in Fresh Food Connect again this growing season to partner local growers with those in need of food assistance. Residents can download the Fresh Food Connect app on their phones to donate their excess produce to Family Tree - which provides the fresh food to those in our community experiencing homelessness.


    More about Sustainable Wheat Ridge

    Sustainable Wheat Ridge is a resident-led committee that was established in 2018 to provide the city with recommendations to enhance the environmental sustainability of Wheat Ridge. Included in these recommendations are goals around preserving Wheat Ridge’s agricultural history, connecting local producers and consumers, and establishing partnerships to support local food production. Check out the full Sustainable Wheat Ridge action plan here!

  • Sustainability Spotlight - May 2021 - Dig Deeper Into Soil Health

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    By: Karen Berry, Sustainable Wheat Ridge member


    Soil is a living and life-giving natural resource. By doing four simple soil conservation measures, you can sequester more carbon, increase water infiltration, improve wildlife and pollinator habitat—all while harvesting more veggies and enjoying a healthier garden.

    Managing for soil health (improved soil function) is mostly a matter of maintaining suitable habitat for the myriad of creatures that comprise the soil food web. You can increase your soil zoo by disturbing the soil as little as possible, growing as many different species of plants as practical, keeping living plants in the soil as often as possible, and keeping the soil covered all the time.

    Manage More by Disturbing Soil Less

    Soil disturbance can be the result of physical, chemical, or biological activities. Physical soil disturbance, such as tillage, results in bare and compacted soil that is destructive and disruptive to soil microbes, and it creates a hostile living environment for them. Overgrazing reduces root mass, increases runoff, and increases soil temperature. All forms of soil disturbance diminish habitat for soil microbes and result in a diminished soil food web.

    Diversify Soil Biota with Plant Diversity

    Plants use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates that serve as the building blocks for roots, stems, leaves, and seeds. They also interact with specific soil microbes by releasing carbohydrates (sugars) through their roots into the soil to feed the microbes in exchange for nutrients and water. A variety of plant carbohydrates is required to support the diversity of soil microorganisms in the ground. Different plants must be grown. One key to improving soil health is growing several types of plants.

    Keep a Living Root Growing Throughout the Year

    Living plants maintain a rhizosphere, an area of concentrated microbial activity close to the root. The rhizosphere is the most active part of the soil ecosystem because it is where the most readily available food is and where peak nutrient and water cycling occurs. Plant roots exude microbial food to attract and feed microbes that provide nutrients to the plant at the root-soil interface, where the plants can take them up. Since living roots offer the most accessible food source for soil microbes, growing long-season crops or landscape plants feeds the foundation species of the soil food web as much as possible during the growing season. Healthy soil is dependent upon how well the soil food web is fed. Providing plenty of easily accessible food to soil microbes helps them cycle nutrients that plants need to grow. Sugars from living plant roots, recently dead plant roots, plant residues, and soil organic matter all feed the many and varied members of the soil food web.

    Keep the Soil Covered as Much as Possible

    Soil cover conserves moisture, reduces temperature, intercepts raindrops (to reduce their destructive impact), suppresses weed growth, and provides habitat for members of the soil food web that spend at least some of their time above ground.

    May Sustainability Updates

    • Unused paint or varnish? Join us for a paint recycling event hosted by the Sustainable Neighborhood Network on Sunday, May 16 from 9a-1p at Prospect Park in Wheat Ridge. This is a drive-thru event - stay in your car, turn off your engine, and pop the trunk. Volunteers will do the rest. Voluntary donations benefit the Sustainable Neighborhood Network and community sustainability projects. For more information, click here.
    • The City of Wheat Ridge and the Sustainable Wheat Ridge resident advisory committee are funding the capital and installation costs for bicycle racks in Wheat Ridge. Bicycle use reduces automotive traffic and pollution, while increasing community engagement and improving resident health. By improving the available bicycle facilities in Wheat Ridge, we aim to increase bicycle use throughout the City's public spaces. Applications are open now and are due by Friday, May 21, 2021 (National Bike to Work Day). To learn more about the program or to start an application, click here.


    More about Sustainable Wheat Ridge Sustainable Wheat Ridge is a resident-led committee that was established in 2018 to provide the city with recommendations to enhance the environmental sustainability of Wheat Ridge. Included in these recommendations are goals around preserving Wheat Ridge’s agricultural history, connecting local producers and consumers, and establishing partnerships to support local food production. Check out the full Sustainable Wheat Ridge action plan here!

  • Sustainability Spotlight - April 2021 - Earth Day Happenings

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    By: Joy Opp, Sustainable Wheat Ridge Co-Chair

    Earth Day started in 1970 and is celebrated every year on April 22. This is an opportunity to bring awareness to the strain that humans have on our planet, and also to begin some new habits that last throughout the year! Here are some ways to celebrate Earth Day all month long.

    The City of Wheat Ridge is celebrating Earth Day with a clean up along Clear Creek.

    What can you do right here in Wheat Ridge?

    Join Scraps, all year ongoing

    Scraps is a local compost drop service. For a small monthly fee, you gain access to the compost drop location, or sign up for curbside pick up. Wheat Ridge residents get a special discount here.

    Volunteer at a local farm, all year ongoing

    There are several local farms that could all use your help! Reach out to them for details on how you can volunteer.

    • True Roots
    • Living Land
    • Five Fridges
    • Roost

    Crop planting Calendar, all year ongoing

    Colorado can be so tricky when it comes to timing your gardens. HERE is the link to a fantastic crop planting calendar!

    Denver Pollinator Plan Swap, June 6

    Log in HERE to the Earthlinks site and share the abundance of your gardens! Dig and divide native perennial grasses and perennials wildflowers, pot up unwanted seedlings and share surplus container-grown seedlings and cuttings

    What can you do in the Denver area?

    Denver City Nature Challenge, April 30-May 9

    JOIN the 2021 City Nature Challenge, and compete against over 250 cities around the world to see which can document the most wild nature in only 4 days! This fun event is presented by the The Nature Conservancy, Denver Botanic Gardens, The WILD Foundation, Denver Audubon, Metro Denver Nature Alliance.

    Birding 101, April 15 6:00 - 7:30

    JOIN Audubon Rockies for a fun introduction to birding. Discover the basics of bird identification with Community Science Coordinator Zach Hutchinson. This on line at-home event is open to all ages.

    Wild Earth Scavenger Hunt, April 17-24 10 am - 5 pm

    Wild Bear Center in Nederland

    Stop by Wild Bear Nature Center for a very special Wild Earth Week scavenger hunt from April 17 to 24. Scavenger hunt participants will receive a special goodie bag on completion of the hunt. Meet our animal ambassadors and learn more about the natural world while having fun.

    Wild Earth Day, April 22 9 am - sunset

    Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keensburg

    Visit the sanctuary to help Mother Earth, and the animals and humans that inhabit this wonderful planet! Plan to celebrate your "Wild Earth Day" with more than 520 of the wildest friends you could ever have! The sanctuary and its supporters care for rescued wildlife by giving them a place to be wild again. Bring a tree for free admission.

    Native Plant Outreach Workshops, April 22-24, 12 - 1:30 pm

    Audubon Rockies online events

    Audubon Rockies and researchers at Colorado State University invite you to join them for Habitat Hero workshops focused on native plant outreach. Attendees will learn how to grow native plants and encourage others to do the same. Participants will also receive $10 coupons for themselves and friends to get a discount on native plants at participating nurseries. Gardeners of all skill levels are all welcome.

    Lakewood Earth Day Festival, all week April 17-31

    This year’s festival is being planned as a virtual event. Examples of what to expect include nature-inspired art installations at local parks, chalk art at local parks, an Earth Day video playlist with fun, educational clips, at-home activities to build community and show care and respect for our environment. Check out the full schedule HERE.

    Sustainability Updates

    • Unused paint or varnish? Join us for a paint recycling event hosted by the Sustainable Neighborhood Network on Sunday, May 16 from 9a-1p at Prospect Park in Wheat Ridge. This is a drive-thru event - stay in your car, turn off your engine, and pop the trunk. Volunteers will do the rest. Voluntary donations benefit the Sustainable Neighborhood Network and community sustainability projects. For more information, click here.
    • The City of Wheat Ridge and the Sustainable Wheat Ridge resident advisory committee are funding the capital and installation costs for bicycle racks in Wheat Ridge. Bicycle use reduces automotive traffic and pollution, while increasing community engagement and improving resident health. By improving the available bicycle facilities in Wheat Ridge, we aim to increase bicycle use throughout the City's public spaces. Applications are open now and are due by Friday, May 21, 2021 (National Bike to Work Day). To learn more about the program or to start an application, click here.


    More about Sustainable Wheat Ridge Sustainable Wheat Ridge is a resident-led committee that was established in 2018 to provide the city with recommendations to enhance the environmental sustainability of Wheat Ridge. Included in these recommendations are goals around preserving Wheat Ridge’s agricultural history, connecting local producers and consumers, and establishing partnerships to support local food production. Check out the full Sustainable Wheat Ridge action plan here!

  • Sustainability Spotlight - March 2021 - Grow to Give

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    By: Laura McGarry, Sustainable Wheat Ridge member

    Did you know that, according to Feeding America, the number of people experiencing food insecurity in the U.S. has increased from 37 million people to over 50 million people since COVID-19 hit? This number includes friends, families and children living in Wheat Ridge, with three Elementary Schools in Wheat Ridge having over 80% of students who qualified for the free and reduced-price lunch program, pre-COVID.

    What can we do about food insecurity in Wheat Ridge?

    In summer 2020, Sustainable Wheat Ridge partnered with Fresh Food Connect and The Family Tree to develop a pilot program to connect gardeners in Wheat Ridge with families experiencing food insecurity. Through this pilot, gardeners donated nearly 100 pounds of produce to the Family Tree who distributed the food to families living in its shelter. In 2021, Sustainable Wheat Ridge is planning to expand the program so that more gardeners participate, and more food is donated to families experiencing food insecurity. Here’s how you can get involved:

    1. Grow extra food in your garden to donate: Whether you are a new or seasoned gardener, 2021 is a great year to grow more food, knowing that you can donate to your neighbors in need. Check out these awesome local gardening resources: CSU Extension—Yard and Garden Page; Garden Basics; and Garden CO Monthly Calendar. Or join the Wheat Ridge Gardeners Facebook page for more tips, tricks and neighborly support.
    2. Download the Fresh Food Connect App: Sign up as a gardener living in 80033, and you’ll be directed to all the information you need about donation locations and times. Sustainable Wheat Ridge is hoping to add two new produce donation locations in spring 2021. Check the app. in May for full details.
    3. Donate your extra produce: Following the donation instructions on the Fresh Food Connect app. you’ll be able to donate extra produce at sites in Wheat Ridge in May through October.


    I want to do more!

    If you’re interested in doing more to support folks experiencing food insecurity, consider supporting these other great organizations that are addressing food insecurity in Jefferson County:


    Sustainability Updates

    • Intended to encourage direct citizen action, the Sustainable Neighborhoods Program provides support to neighborhoods to assist citizens in enhancing neighborhoods sustainability and reducing the environmental footprint of residents. Neighbors volunteering in the program organize sustainability-related workshops, plan community events such as paint-recycling days and eco-fairs and implement larger neighborhood projects including tree-planting programs and neighborhood beautification activities. The Wheat Ridge Sustainable Neighborhoods program is accepting new neighborhood applications through March 22, 2021. If you are a Wheat Ridge resident and you would like to find out more about the application requirements or would like to apply, visit https://www.sustainableneighborhoodnetwork.org/wheatridge.
    • Thank you to everyone that participated in the Garden in a Box program in this year and received a $25 discount from Sustainable Wheat Ridge. Garden rebates sold out under a week! We are looking forward to bringing the rebate program back in 2022. You can still purchase a garden on Resource Central's website here.


    More about Sustainable Wheat Ridge

    Sustainable Wheat Ridge is a resident-led committee that was established in 2018 to provide the city with recommendations to enhance the environmental sustainability of Wheat Ridge. Included in these recommendations are goals around preserving Wheat Ridge’s agricultural history, connecting local producers and consumers, and establishing partnerships to support local food production. Check out the full Sustainable Wheat Ridge action plan here!

  • Sustainability Spotlight - February 2021 - Waste Warriors Unite!

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    By: Montana Stevenson, Sustainable Wheat Ridge member

    Did you know that Coloradans sent over 80% of their waste to landfills in 2019? We only kept about 16% of our household waste out of landfills through composting and recycling, while the US national average for household landfill diversion is 35%! We’ve got a ways to go here in Colorado, but you can do something about it.

    Join a waste reduction challenge for residents of Wheat Ridge.

    • Step 1: Take stock of what you’re throwing out through a home waste audit using our handy waste audit guide.
    • Step 2: Share your findings from your audit.
    • Step 3: Make a pledge for how you plan to reduce your waste this month!


    Visit our Solid Waste & Recycling webpage on the Wheat Ridge City website to watch a short video guide on conducting an audit! We’ve also posted the directions for how to conduct the home waste audit and where you can share your findings and pledge.

    Become a #WasteWarrior.

    For those who aren’t ready to take the plunge on the home waste audit idea without some more background, let’s talk trash for a minute here. The US is one of the world’s largest trash producers: as a country, we represent about 4-5% of the global population and yet we produce about 30% of the world’s waste. The majority of the waste that gets thrown out by households and businesses in the US still ends up in landfills. According to the 2019 State of Recycling in Colorado Report, over 95% of waste going to landfills in our state could be diverted for other purposes. Remember we’re only diverting about 16% of total residential waste produced today so there’s a lot more we could do. Not only are we not getting additional economic value out of these materials we’re sending to landfills that could have other uses, landfills create other issues.

    Landfills are the third largest producer of methane gas in the US after the energy and agricultural sectors. Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, meaning it can trap 28-36 times as much heat as a similar amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. So it is a contributor to global warming. Besides methane, they also release other gases that can migrate to neighboring communities and cause a slew of health complaints: eye, throat and lung irritation; nausea and headaches; and, aggravation of asthma. Aside from pollution, landfills are also problematic because as they fill up, the only option is to make them bigger or make more of them, but they never go away!

    So what can you do about it? Well a home waste audit is one place to start. You’ll learn what types of items you are throwing out and where you could make some changes in your household to start reducing and diverting your waste from landfills. Our waste audit guide is very easy to use and we include some local recycling resources at the end. You might be surprised with what you find, and we encourage you to share data and feedback in our waste audit survey.

    February Sustainability Updates:

    • The City of Wheat Ridge is accepting new neighborhood applications for the Sustainable Neighborhoods program! A virtual open house event is scheduled for Thursday, February 18 at 5:30 p.m. To find out more about the event, click here. The City will be accepting applications for the program until Monday, March 22. To find out more about the program and the application, click here.
    • The City is partnering with Resource Central to bring the Garden in a Box program to Wheat Ridge! $25 discounts will be awarded to the first 50 residents that purchase a water-wise Garden in a Box this spring. Professionally designed for Colorado yards, these kits are easy to use and can help residents save about 7,300 gallons of water over the garden’s lifetime compared to a traditional grass lawn, which will also save residents money on their water bills. Visit ResourceCentral.org/Gardens to order a water-wise Garden In A Box starting on March 1, 2021.

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  • Sustainability Spotlight - January 2021 - New Year, New Goals!

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    We hope you had a restful and joyous new year. We wanted to take time to share with everyone some of our plans for this year. Our vision for 2021 is to enhance sustainability in Wheat Ridge through strategic program offerings, an expansion of our current outreach demographics, and a focus on projects that will yield long-term results.

    We are focusing on becoming an educated, analytical and data-driven city by partnering with ICLEI citywide greenhouse gas inventory. By completing this kind of analysis, the City will have baseline measurements for carbon emissions from all major sectors – electricity, buildings, transportation and waste. This inventory will result in an accurate calculation of aggregate emissions data and the data will be utilized to create baseline metrics and inform future climate and sustainability goals. As cities in the region move towards collaborative climate goals, Wheat Ridge is joining the conversation by accessing a reliable source of current baseline metrics.

    In 2021, we will be expanding the Sustainable Neighborhoods program to four Wheat Ridge neighborhoods. This program is beneficial to our city, as it creates a framework for neighbors to develop an action plan to enhance the long-term character, livability, and sustainability of their neighborhood, leading to an overall increase in neighborhood connections and resiliency within our city. Through the program, neighbors work together to create and manage sustainability projects, such as neighborhood cleanups, energy efficiency targets, and EV workshops, and city staff provides resources and guidance to assist neighbors in accomplishing their project goals. There are many projects that neighbors can complete with social distancing guidelines in place and the program has allowed other cities in the network to continue making progress towards sustainability goals and resident cohesion, despite the pandemic. Applications for the program open on Monday, January 18 and a virtual open house is planned for Thursday, February 18. Applications will need to be completed and submitted before or by Monday, March 22 at 11:59pm. To learn more about the program, click here.

    Another major focus for 2021 is on the Wheat Ridge business community. We realize that current circumstances have put a burden on businesses to continue their operations and we realize an opportunity to support local businesses while also furthering sustainability goals. Through the implementation of a Sustainable Business Grant Program, we will provide matching funds to Wheat Ridge businesses that are interested in implementing strategies to lower costs and reduce emissions. Look for the application for this program to open in summer 2021.

    We are also partnering with Resource Central to bring the very popular Garden in a Box program to Wheat Ridge, managing a citywide waste audit challenge for Earth Day, and utilizing our Can'dAid Foundation funded grant materials to transition the Carnation Festival to a zero waste event this summer!

    As you can see, we have big plans for 2021. These are just a sampling of the projects we are planning to complete this year. Stay tuned to this page for monthly sustainability spotlights, published on the 15th of each month.

  • Sustainability Spotlight - December 2020 - Winter Holidays in Wheat Ridge

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    By: April Nowak, Sustainable Wheat Ridge member

    2020 has been an incredibly challenging year to say the least. We hope you are all staying healthy and safe this holiday season. As we look toward the winter holidays in Wheat Ridge, we suggest some ways to support your neighbors in need and take part in holiday traditions, keeping sustainability in mind.


    Give a Hand: We all need support in our lives. This winter, it’s the gift of you! A phone-call, text, or card to a neighbor, relative, or friend is especially useful during the holidays. The pandemic has cut people off, especially our older neighbors, from activities and socialization. This year, give the gift of your time and compassion.


    Financial Gifts: If you are fortunate enough to have extra resources, consider donating money to an organization that’s making a difference during the pandemic, including those that provide housing, financial assistance, or food. 

    • Food banks 
    • Local charities 
    • Health centers
    • Environmental organizations


    Donate Things: Support our community, while keeping valuable items out of the landfill.


    There are many ways you can give a hand this season, check out the Help Guide for more ways. 


    Gift Giving:

    • Support local business by purchasing gift cards, buying local, and ordering food to go. Many businesses have pickup options. Check out the new Eat Ridge page for more information.
    • Give something edible. Make a dessert or a healthy snack packaged in reusable mason jars.
    • Give products that will help your friends and family go green, such as reusable mugs, water bottles, bags or lunch containers.
    • Give something edible. Make a dessert or a healthy snack packaged in reusable mason jars.


    Gift Wrapping: Reuse newspapers, maps, posters, fabric, calendars, and cloth bags to wrap tape-free gifts. Twine and plant clippings can be used for decorating and closing packages. Shop locally, including thrift, consignment, and second-hand stores. For shipping, replace foam or bubble wrap with balled-up newspaper or magazine pages.


    Tree Recycling: Holiday lights and trees are a festive way to brighten our long and cold nights. The City provides tree recycling services until mid-February. Remove all ornamentation, tree stands, twine, lights, and garland. Yard waste and other debris will not be accepted. Drop-off sites are open daily from sunrise until sunset for Wheat Ridge residents at the following park locations:

    • Prospect Park - 11300 W. 44th Ave.
    • Panorama Park - 3400 Fenton St.

    For more information, contact the Parks, Forestry and Open Space office at 303-205-7556.


    Holiday Lights: When using lights to decorate, consider more efficient LED strings. If you have older incandescent string lights, you can recycle incandescent string lights and LED string lights at SustainAbility. Use a timer to save electricity.


    The Sustainable Wheat Ridge resident advisory committee represents passionate neighbors who are dedicated to our City, our place in the region, Colorado, and Earth.

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  • Congratulations to Applewood Villages and Paramount Heights for being selected as the first two Wheat Ridge Sustainable Neighborhoods

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    Two neighborhoods have been selected for the Wheat Ridge Sustainable Neighborhoods program: Applewood Village and Paramount Heights. These neighborhoods will be working this fall to develop a neighborhood communications plan, a neighborhood leadership team, and will begin to plan some low-to-no contact and/or socially distanced projects for their neighborhoods. Neighbors have expressed interest in projects like seed swaps, composting workshops, home energy audits, and wildlife friendly yards. Applications for the Sustainable Neighborhoods program will open again in January 2021 and a “kick off event” is planned for the spring.

    The Wheat Ridge Sustainable Neighborhoods Program provides residents with the opportunity to become active partners in helping make Wheat Ridge a more vibrant and sustainable community. Neighborhoods participating in this unique certification program receive guidance from City staff to organize workshops, projects, and events that enhance the livability of their neighborhood and reduce residents' ecological footprint.

    Participating Sustainable Neighborhoods earn credits for achieving sustainability goals by completing projects such as: offering home energy workshops, hosting gatherings at the local community garden, cleaning up alleyways and parks, and encouraging neighbors to reduce water use at home. Depending on the number of credits earned in a given year, neighborhoods receive designation as a “Participating Sustainable Neighborhood” or as an “Outstanding Sustainable Neighborhood.”

    Wheat Ridge participates with Lakewood, Denver, and Fort Collins in the Sustainable Neighborhoods Network. Learn more about the program and more about sustainability efforts in Wheat Ridge. Questions? Contact the Sustainability Coordinator Kayla Betzold at sustainability@ci.wheatridge.co.us or 303-235-2841.