Celebrate Earth Month with Keep Durham Beautiful!

Earth Day is fast-approaching. Do you know how you’re celebrating? Consider joining Keep Durham Beautiful for one or more of our events this month!

April 22, 8am-2pm: Gather up your unwanted household goods for Durham’s first annual ReUse Rodeo! On Saturday, April 22nd, we will be accepting gently used books, clothing, furniture, working electronics, household appliances, cookware, tools, craft supplies, and more, to be donated to area non-profits and distributed back into the community. A complete list can be found on the event page. Paper shredding and e-recycling will also be available. Clear up your household clutter, help the earth, and give your gently used items a new life! The event will be held in the parking lot of The Shoppes at Lakewood at 2050 Chapel Hill Road. Want to help out at the inaugural Reuse Rodeo? Sign up to volunteer!

April 23, 12pm-5pm: Join us for Durham’s Earth Day Festival on Sunday, April 23rd! Participants will enjoy green activities and demos, learn about sustainable practices and products at the Sustainability Expo and Earth Day Market, enjoy great music and food, and much more! The festival will take place at Durham Central Park at 501 Foster Street. To learn more, visit the event page. Interested in helping out? We are looking for waste warriors to help with recycling and composting at the event. Sign up to volunteer today!

April 27, 8am-2pm: The Community Appearance and Litter Index is a quantitative assessment used across the nation to gauge roadside litter levels. Volunteers from the community receive training and then drive set routes in Durham to conduct a visual inspection of litter levels and help identify future clean-up sites. Sign up with your friends and help us make Durham a cleaner community! Breakfast and lunch are available for all volunteers. More information is available on the event page.

April 29, 9am-1pm: We are bringing I Love Durham Limpio back! We are teaming up with Durham community partners to do an extensive litter cleanup with ALL members of the community. The purpose of this volunteer opportunity is for Durham community members to join forces by giving back to their community while learning about the environment and the resources Durham offers. We’d love for you to join us on April 29th from 9am-1pm! Don’t forget to bring your old shower heads to be traded in for NEW water efficient ones. Please visit the I Love Durham Limpio event page to view more information.

10 Reasons to Be Thankful for Trees

thankful-tree-giveaway-2016Durham residents are encouraged to register for a free tree as part of the Give Thanks: 2016 Keep Durham Beautiful Tree Giveaway and Food Drive

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s not too early to start reflecting on things we are thankful for. From providing the clean air and oxygen we appreciate during our outdoor fall activities to producing apples for that delicious apple crisp our neighbor makes– trees should be added to your list of things to give thanks for this November. While there are many reasons to be thankful for trees, here our 10 of our favorite motivations for planting, caring for, and protecting Durham’s trees:

10 Reasons to Be Thankful for Trees:

  1. Trees reduce violence: Studies have shown that barren neighborhoods and homes have a greater incidence of violence than their greener counterparts. Trees and landscaping help to reduce the level of fear.
  2. Trees conserve energy: Three trees placed strategically around a single-family home can cut air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. Reducing the energy demand for cooling saves money and reducescarbon dioxide and other pollution emissions.
  3. Trees cool the streets and the city: Trees cool a city by up to 10°F, by shading our homes and streets, breaking up urban “heat islands” and releasing water vapor into the air through their leaves.Trees bring diverse groups of people together: Tree plantings provide an opportunity for community involvement and empowerment that improves the quality of life in our neighborhoods. All cultures, ages, and genders have an important role to play at a tree planting or tree care event.
  4. Trees provide oxygen: In one year an acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people.
  5. Trees provide economic benefits: The beauty of a well-planted property and its surrounding neighborhood can raise property values by as much as 15 percent. Similar benefits are seen in business districts; studies show that the more trees and landscaping a business district has, the more business will flow in.
  6. Trees combat the greenhouse effect: Trees absorb CO2, a major greenhouse gas, removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the air. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles.
  7. Trees clean the air: Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.
  8. Trees help prevent soil erosion and water pollution: Trees reduce and slow runoff, holding soil in place and helping filter water naturally.
  9. Trees provide food: An apple tree can yield up to 15-20 bushels of fruit per year and can be planted on a small urban lot. Aside from fruit for humans, trees provide food and habitat for birds and wildlife.

Help spread the love for trees:

Help spread the love for trees by joining us for our Give Thanks: 2016 Keep Durham Beautiful Tree Giveaway. Thanks to a generous donation from Alliance for Community Trees, Keep Durham Beautiful will be handing out 300 trees for Durham City and County residents this fall. To learn more about the tree species available and giveaway pre-registration, visit: www.keepdurhambeautiful.org/treegiveaway2016

Durham to Celebrate Arbor Day March 6

Public Invited to Plant Trees After Ceremony

What: City of Durham 2016 Arbor Day Celebration with Community Tree Planting 

Who: City of Durham General Services Department Urban Forestry Division, Keep Durham BeautifulTrees Across Durham, and Durham City-County Sustainability Office

When: Sunday, March 6, 2016, from noon to 4 p.m.

Where: Museum of Life and Science (433 W. Murray Ave. Durham, N.C. 27704)

Fast Facts:

This annual celebration of Durham’s trees is free and open to the public. Activities are suitable for all ages and tools are provided for the volunteer tree planting. The schedule of activities includes:

o   Noon: Ceremonial presentation of the City’s Arbor Day proclamation and Tree City USA award

o   1 p.m.: Tree seedling giveaway and educational table displays, where attendees can choose from eight varieties of seedlings and receive guidance on tree selection, planting, and care.

o   1 p.m.: Arborist equipment demonstration as well as a “Meet a Scientist” lab demonstration.

o   2:30 p.m.: Community volunteer tree planting of 30 trees along North Glendale Avenue

Entry to the Museum of Life and Science is free to all Durham County residents on Sunday, March 6.  Showing proof of residence for each adult is required to receive free admission, and the limit is five children per adult resident. For additional information, or to volunteer for this community tree planting event, sign up online or email info@keepdurhambeautiful.org or call (919) 354-2729.

About the General Services Department

The City of Durham General Services Department creates, manages and maintains City properties to provide best value to the Durham community. The core business functions include: Administration/Business Services, Facilities Operations, Landscape Services, Urban Forestry, Real Estate, Project Management, Cemeteries, and Keep Durham Beautiful. As guided by the City’s Strategic Plan, General Services serves as a steward of the City’s physical and environmental assets. Through annual and long-range facility planning activities, the department plans, provides, and maintains the City’s facilities infrastructure, which supports the community’s quality of life and serves as a foundation of a healthy economy. 

About Keep Durham Beautiful

Keep Durham Beautiful is a nonprofit, volunteer organization working in partnership with the City of Durham General Services Department and Durham County to encourage residents, businesses, and community organizations to protect the environment and enhance the appearance of Durham through cleanup events, beautification projects, waste reduction, and educational activities. To learn more, visit the website, like on Facebook, and follow on Twitter and Instagram.

About Trees Across Durham

Trees Across Durham is a broad-based partnership dedicated to making Durham a healthier and greener community now and in the future through the planting and protection of trees; the education of tree caretakers and the general public about how to maintain healthy trees; and the measurement and communication of the benefits trees provide to the environment and community.

About the Durham City-County Sustainability Office

The mission of the Durham City/County Sustainability Office is to help protect and improve Durham’s environment through wise use of natural resources by providing guidance and resources to City and County employees, businesses, and residents. For more information, like on Facebook and follow on Twitter and Instagram.

Durham Hosts Tree Care 101 Workshop

What: Tree Care 101 Workshop

Who: Trees Across Durham

When: Saturday, January 23, 2016, from 9:30 a.m. to noon

Where: Northgate Park 300 W. Club Blvd. Durham, N.C. 27704

Fast Facts

  •  Trees Across Durham is hosting a free tree care workshop to provide volunteers with handson experience while planting and tending to the trees along the Ellerbe Creek Stream Restoration Project, which runs through Northgate Park.
  •  Participants will learn about tree planting, pruning, and other tree care topics. They will also discover the critical role played by trees and forests for stream health and water quality. Tools and gloves for the workshop will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring their own if possible. Participants should also dress appropriately for the weather and bring water to drink.
  •  Workshop partners include Keep Durham Beautiful, City of Durham General Services Department Urban Forestry Division, Durham City-County Sustainability Office, City of Durham Public Works Department Stormwater & GIS Services Division, and the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Division of Mitigation Services.
  •  For additional information or to register for this workshop, visit the Registration Web page or call (919) 560-7993.
  • Additional tree planting volunteer events are being held throughout January and February 2016. Information on all upcoming events is available on Greener Durham’s website.
  • Trees Across Durham is a broad-based partnership dedicated to making Durham a healthier and greener community now and in the future through the planting and protection of trees; the education of tree caretakers and the general public about how to maintain healthy trees; and the measurement and communication of the benefits trees provide to the environment and community.

Share! Register now for free #Durham Tree Care 101 Workshop on Jan. 23 http://tinyurl.com/TADevent

Growing Durham’s Future: Eastway Elementary Orchard Project

Angier Avenue Neighborhood Workday CrossFit Group

Volunteers from CrossFit Durham and Bull City Crossfit lend their strength and perseverance at the Keep Durham Beautiful gardening workday at Angier Avenue Neighborhood Farm on Saturday, August 29. These CrossFit volunteers worked alongside community members clearing and mulching the blueberry patch and preparing a perennial bed at this unique ½ acre urban farm located in NE Central Durham. Angier Avenue Neighborhood Farm, the Eastway Elementary Orchard, and a new community garden space on Taylor Street coming this Fall, are all efforts to increase access to local, fresh food in this area of Durham.

With school back in full swing, parents across the city are busy packing lunches. The newest “hot item” for your child’s lunchbox: the paw paw. Haven’t heard of a paw paw? This native fruit looks like a green mango and tastes like a cross between a mango, cantaloupe, and banana.

You are unlikely to find paw paws in the produce aisle of your favorite grocery store. But luckily for all the parents packing lunches in the Bull City, if you keep a close eye out, you can find paw paw trees scattered throughout Durham. Come September, Northeast Central Durham will welcome Paw Paws, along with other native fruit trees, to the Eastway Elementary Orchard.

Eastway Elementary School, home of the Eastway Eagles, is committed to “Growing Durham’s Future.” This elementary school is working hard to grow Durham’s future, both literarily and figuratively, and will be planting an orchard with Keep Durham Beautiful as part of the Green Apple Day of Service on September 26, 2015.

The Green Apple Day of Service, through the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGCB), is an opportunity to transform schools into healthy, safe, and productive learning environments through local service projects. This year, Keep Durham Beautiful, the USGCB NC, and Building Managers and Managers Association (BOMA) Raleigh-Durham have partnered together to plant an orchard at the entranceway of Eastway Elementary School.

The project will convert the grassy area in front of the school into an orchard with native fruit trees and fruiting shrubs, perennial flowers, benches, and educational signs. The Eastway Orchard project provides opportunities for beautification, education, health, and community building in Northeast Central Durham, which is a target area for the Mayor’s Poverty Reduction Initiative. This area is characterized as a “food desert,” meaning there is a lack of access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Planting an orchard on the school grounds will provide the Eastway community increased food access, a dynamic outdoor learning environment, and a chance for children to connect to where food comes from.

Education & Advocacy Manager Sarah Montgomery at USGBC NC looks forward to a large group of volunteers from the school and surrounding community to participate in planting the edible school orchard for the students and families at Eastway. “There is nothing more exciting to me than to see students, teachers, administrators, and parents come together with their community members and work collaboratively on a project to improve their local school. Eastway Elementary’s Orchard project is an opportunity to showcase the community-based, community-driven, transformative work happening all across Durham,” Montgomery said.

To learn more about Green Schools at USGBC NC, visit the website: http://www.usgbcnc.org/

**Update 10/2**

Due to the weather, the Green Apple Day of Service Orchard Planting Workday has been rescheduled for Monday, October 12, 2015. Please check back or email for the latest information. 

Green Apple Day of Service | Monday, October 12, 2015

Eastway Elementary School, 610 N. Alston Ave., Durham, N.C. 27701

12-4pm (tentative time, please email for updates)

Join us as we plant a small orchard at the entrance of Eastway Elementary! For more information and to register, email erin@keepdurhambeautiful.org.


Sustainable Landscapes Seminar Offers Guidance for “Greener” Gardens January 23

City and County Combine Forces to Offer Environmentally Friendly Guidance; Registration Deadline is January 13

Gardeners interested in learning how to create productive garden beds while protecting Durham’s water quality at the same time will get their chance at a workshop focusing on sustainable garden management techniques.

On Thursday, January 23, 2014, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., seminar participants will learn about a wide variety of techniques to help protect Durham’s water sources, such as how to manage soil for best results; composting; how to install rain gardens; and how to choose and maintain landscape plantings that minimize fertilizer and water inputs.

The workshop will be held at the Durham County Cooperative Extension, located at 721 Foster Street, Durham. The cost to attend is $25 per person, which includes lunch. The registration deadline is Monday, January 13.

According to Michelle Wallace, an agent with the Durham County Cooperative Extension, this workshop will teach tips to increase the landscape’s function and beauty while decreasing environmental impact. “Once you understand how to manage your soil and choose the right plants, gardening success will follow,” Wallace said. “Whether you want to grow vegetables or simply create an attractive yard, this workshop will provide key tools to help participants.”

According to John Cox, water quality manager with the City of Durham’s Stormwater and GIS Services Division in the Public Works Department, sustainable gardening also protects local water resources. “What we do in our backyards affects regional drinking supply lakes like Falls and Jordan lakes,” Cox said. “This seminar offers residents simple steps they can take at home to do their part for clean water.”

To register for this workshop contact Pana Jones, program assistant for the Durham County Cooperative Extension, at (919) 560-0525 or by email at prjones2@ncsu.edu.