Green Tool Box – Catalyst for Change
Creating and maintaining healthy communities with green spaces-whether street trees, parks, open spaces and even civic landscapes such as the grounds surrounding public schools, libraries, hospitals and other such institutions is just as critical as investing in technology and ”grey” infrastructure. Few investments that communities undertake offer so many dimensions of value than those of revolving around environmental prosperity.
But good ideas and viable solutions need smart planning. Often community visionaries lack the technology, infrastructure, and skills to implement, and opportunities go untapped. Communities wanting to undertake a greening strategy need multiple resources; they need to understand specific needs, what special opportunities are available, and what potential strategies for increasing their green “index” may be.
GTECH, in collaboration with Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and Pennsylvania Horticulture Society created the Green Toolbox to address the challenges and needs that communities and organizations face when they choose to ‘go-green’. The Green Toolbox assists individuals, communities, and local governments to make smart, efficient, hands-on and creative decisions around greening strategies for their communities.
Greening can take myriad forms: a tree planted in front of a home; a large park with ball fields and exercise trails; stream-side or hill-side walking paths; a “welcome” garden at a community’s entrance; plantings to cool overheated asphalt parking areas; rain gardens reducing runoff and stormwater overflows that pollute rivers and streams; bike trails edged by native flowers, grasses and trees, and more. Each and every one of these types of greening has an impact, and all are valuable, but decision making can complicated.
The Green ToolBox is designed to:
- Gather the information communities need to understand options
- Make choices among possible approaches
- Develop a strategy for implementation of the greening projects that will yield the greatest benefit for each community.
The Green Toolbox itself includes three intensive, hands-on workshops, a workbook and detailed assessment guide, and a supporting resource guide to assist in implementation.
These three units of the Green Toolbox work synergistically to create realistic options for each individual community user group.