Groundwork Rhode Island Blog

Stay up to date on Groundwork Rhode Island’s programs, events, and projects on our Facebook page!

March 9, 2015 – Our Environmental Job Training spring cycle begins!

Applications are now being accepted!  AJT Application_updated Spring 2015

Flyer_Spring 2015







Visit our job training link for more information and to apply!

November 29:  17th Annual Buy Nothing Day Winter Coat Exchange

Now has more sites than ever, including towns outside of Providence

General Contact   Greg Gerritt    401-331-0529
YMCA Contact       Diane S. Nahabedian
Chief Marketing Officer     YMCA of Greater Providence

coatexchBuy Nothing Day Winter Coat Exchange sites
Complete list of all RI sites with contact information and hours of operation

The 17th Annual Buy Nothing Day Winter Coat exchange will be held on Friday November 29 at 14 sites around Rhode Island beginning at 9 AM.     Throughout November many of the November 29 distribution sites and numerous other places in our communities are collecting winter coats.  These coats, and coats donated at the various distribution sites on November 29 will be available for any Rhode Islanders who need a winter coat to pick up on November 29.

Buy Nothing Day Winter Coat Exchange organizer Greg Gerritt Gerritt commented, “While the poverty and inequality that drives the need to redistribute winter coats in the community is concentrated in the urban core, the availability of coats has a reverse distribution, that has become more apparent as we develop a larger and larger number of sites.  We are therefore encouraging Rhode Islanders looking for winter coats to visit sites other than the Providence distribution on the State House Lawn”

The Buy Nothing Day Winter Coat Exchange is a partnership between people and organizations through out the state.  Many of the sites are organized by local churches or service organizations, and about half the sites are YMCA of Greater Providence facilities, a partnership that continues to strengthen over time.

The Buy Nothing Day Winter Coat Exchange began in Rhode Island in 1997 as an effort to point out the dangers of consumerism for our communities and the planet while providing something useful for the community.  The hundreds of volunteers participating in the event each year continue in that spirit, to serve both our community and to emphasize the policy choices necessary to create a healthier community.  A complete list of the sites participating is available at


Redwood Trees May Help Battle Climate Change, Study Finds

By Robin Wilkey from The Huffington Post, 08/14/2013 4:43 pm EDT


A study …on the effect of climate change on old-growth redwood forests revealed a surprising silver lining: not only have the trees thrived as the temperature has risen, but they may also be an unparalleled tool in fighting global warming.

The Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative, a multiyear research study by UC Berkeley, Humboldt State University and Save the Redwoods League, examined the tree rings of coast redwoods in Northern California, providing the most comprehensive redwood chronology available today.

Researchers found that the trees have experienced an unprecedented growth spurt in recent decades, and that redwood forests can store up to three times more carbon than non-redwood forests worldwide.

According to researchers, the results mean that redwoods may not only survive climate change, but they could be one of our greatest natural defenses against increasing levels of atmospheric carbon.”

Read more…


Citizen Science – Adults & Kids: Learn How You Can Participate in Global Environmental Projects

This article from Scientific American defines trends in citizen science, outlining the many ways everyday citizens can contribute to scientific research around the world. Whether it’s by counting frogs, saving fish skeletons, or watching the night skies, you and your children can connect to the world around you, learn, and be part of global solutions. Read more here:

Additional links to project listings may be found here:

SciStarter connects science enthusiasts with projects they can do to make a real difference.
The Zooniverse is home to the internet’s largest, most popular and most successful citizen science projects. Our current projects are here but plenty more are on the way. If you’re new to the Zooniverse, we suggest picking a project and diving in – the same account will get you into all of our projects, and you can keep track of what you’ve contributed by watching ‘My Zooniverse’.


City Tree – An Awesome App for All Ages

CityTree1From leading botanist, Dr. Matt Ritter, this easy-to-use app helps to quickly identify any city tree. Learn over 300 of the world’s most common urban trees. Browse, identify, explore, share. This app is made and reviewed by university professors and tree experts and has over 600 high quality images and drawings. ($3.99)

Download from itunes


Download the Android version from Google Play

CityTree2City Tree 3


Putting the Garden to Bed – A Helpful

Article from The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Fall blazing – Credit: Carol Preece


“If you get frost, it’s important to put your garden “to bed.” A thorough fall cleanup means a healthy, vital garden next spring!”

In this excellent article, you will not only learn how to predict a frost, but how to take care of your vegetables, herbs, berries, roses, perennials, trees, and more during the long winter months!  Read more here:



Rhode Island Makes the Top 10 NE Leaf-Peeping Locales (of course)

“Close your eyes and think of a country road with farms and apple orchards. Although this route requires you to take your eyes from the scenery to follow your map, the Glocester Loop through the Blackstone River Valley takes you along roads that rival those in your imagination, filled with historic homes and mills (Blackstone River Valley is the birthplace of America’s Industrial Revolution). Don’t miss the Great Road Historic District in Lincoln, where you’ll feel you’ve gone back to the early nineteenth century.

Find your way: The Glocester Loop takes you on a loop beginning and ending on I-295. Take Exit 7 off I-295 and travel west on Route 44. Pass through the town of Chepachet and continue to the village of West Glocester. Once there, turn onto Route 94 S and continue your drive through North Foster. Route 94 ends at its intersection with Route 14, where you will turn left. Take Route 14 through Scituate. Turn left onto Route 116 and travel north. At Route 44 turn right and return to I-295.”

Read more in the original article: also provides the following:

Rhode Island Fall Foliage: A Guide to Autumn in Rhode Island



From ScienceNews: We CAN Make a Difference

News in Brief: Cuts in some greenhouse gases could slow sea level rise — Methane, ozone and other short-lived pollutants have a big impact on ocean heights

By Erin Wayman from

A quick way to stave off impending sea level rise is to cut emissions of short-lived climate warmers such as methane and soot, researchers suggest.

Carbon dioxide, the main cause of anthropogenic climate change, can linger in the atmosphere for more than a century. So slashing CO2 output will not immediately halt global warming and its consequences. A faster way may be to limit methane, ozone, hydrofluorocarbons and soot, also known as black carbon. These greenhouse gases and particles warm the atmosphere but they stay aloft only weeks to years. Recent work showed that this approach may reduce the expected rise in global temperatures by 0.6 degrees Celsius by 2050.

Read more…


From NPR: Rare American Chestnut Stands Tall In Northern New York


“American chestnuts once made up a quarter of all the forest between Maine and Georgia. Animals depended on the tree for its fruit and humans used the wood. But at the beginning of the last century, a blight wiped out almost all of the chestnut trees. A few survive, including one specimen in upstate New York. The family that planted that tree 27 years ago enjoys its blooms each year at this time.”


Happy Arbor Day!


I plant trees because I love to breathe!





In Providence, Rhode Island, on the site of a former factory, an urban nursery is helping make the whole city more green.

Posted on March 28, 2013 by Peter Hirsch

Hope Tree Nursery is the first financially self-sustaining nursery constructed on a brownfield in the United States. The site was once home to the Rau Fastener Company on Sprague Street, southwest of Downtown Providence.Years of producing metal fasteners left the site contaminated with heavy metals and today, Sprague Street is part of an economically distressed community lacking green space. Known as a “legacy city,” the area is characterized by the vestiges of a past, productive era.

The project is spearheaded by Groundworks Providence and its partners, who hope a nursery will provide much needed green space to the area and increase the tree canopy while involving the larger community in remediation efforts. Supported by the City of Providence and Trees 2020, the Hope Tree Nursery’s partners aim to foster environmental change and community development by encouraging community groups and local residents to become involved in the nursery…

Read more:

Thank you to Smart Growth America for this excellent article.



What is a Rain Garden?

In short, it’s a simple, easy way for people to manage storm water.  Find out more by viewing this fantastic video produced by the EPA about our rain garden collaboration!



Shop at Whole Foods Market,
University Heights, on April 16

5% of the day’s net sales will be donated to Groundwork Providence!

Download flyer


Saturday April 13, 2013
Street Tree Planting
North Main Street, Providence
• 8:00 am  (meet at 8 Third Street for supplies)

Friday, April 26, 2013 — Arbor Day Tree Planting
North Burial Ground
5 Branch Avenue, Providence
• 12 Noon

For more info and to volunteer, contact Ray 401-351-6440




Watch and share our Groundwork Providence 2012 Green Team video made with our partners in the National Park Service, and we could win $2,ooo to support it this summer.  The video with the most clicks/hits by April 25, 2013 will win this Get Inspired Outdoors grant. Whether you live near or far, we need your click – we can do this together!


Last summer, teens in our Green Team program partnered with the Steel Yard’s Camp Metal Head on a project that was so cool and inspiring, you will need to see it for yourself. Watch the video below, and witness the inspiration and transformation that comes from working in and exploring the outdoors.

Thanks so much for supporting the work and mission of Groundwork Providence!


image of east side marketplace building in Providence, RI

Friendship Fund

Friendship Fund Receipt Program 

Give to the Friendship Fund – it’s simple. Every time you shop at Eastside Marketplace, just send us your cash register receipts. When we reach $2,500 or more, Eastside Marketplace will donate 1% of the receipts’ cash value to Groundwork Providence.

It’s Easy to Give…

Send your Eastside Marketplace receipts to:

Groundwork Providence
8 Third Sreet
Providence, RI  02906

We thank you for your contribution!

The Friendship Fund is a receipt/rebate program available to charitable organizations and non-profit groups, and is one way Eastside Marketplace gives back to the community.  We collect Eastside Marketplace register receipts, total them, and return them to the store. Eastside Marketplace then makes a donation to the Conservancy equal to 1% of the total.