What Is Sustainable Norcross?

Do you recycle, compost, xeriscape, use rain barrels? Would you like to learn how? Are you interested in organic and locally grown produce but cannot find it? Do you admire the fabulous tree canopy in Norcross? Ever wondered how to certify your yard as a Wildlife Habitat? Are you concerned about the quantity and quality of our water? Is it better to use paper or plastic bags at the grocery? What natural products are safe but effective? Ever considered sustainable alternatives for flooring, clothing and other products? Where can you discard old electronics?

Well, let’s learn together.

Starting a new organization can be a daunting task. Then an online training manual advised:

"Don’t wait - Get started without funding, expertise, or fear of adverse consequences.

Seek useful resources - Information on the web, in literature, in the community, in person, from experts.

Seek ways to scale up - Transform successful solutions into a movement of local significance.

Have fun projects – enjoy doing. Your efforts can result in important benefits, and you can have a good time while you’re at it!"

And that is exactly what a group of like minded citizens did. The organizational meeting was held June 1, 2008 and we've been busy ever since.

Learn more about us here on our blog or contact us now.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Calling All Volunteers

Summer volunteer opportunities abound. Are you looking for a family oriented activity that is free, close to home and fulfilling? Sustainable Norcross has quite a line up for you. It coincides with the fabulous calendar of activities sponsored by the City of Norcross.
The next opportunity is 2 PM tomorrow at Thrasher Park to set up recycle containers for the wildly popular and still new Whistle Stop Farmers Market. Help us collect the recycling containers after market at 8 PM. This is an ongoing volunteer opportunity every Tuesday. You can be a volunteer and still enjoy the market from 4 to 8 PM (or sell out). And be sure to drop by the pavilion tomorrow to see our rain barrel prototype. Sign up for our rain barrel class or place an advanced order to purchase a completed rain barrel. Sign up too for the Sustainable Norcross outing to the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center.
Next is the chance to set out and pick up the special event recycle containers at the first ever Cycle Show on Sunday June 28 from 1 – 7 PM in historic downtown. Meet us at 45 South CafĂ© at 10 AM and 7 PM to help and check out the cool motorcycles in between.
Kick off your Independence Day celebration at 10 AM Friday July 3 by helping set up the recycle containers at the new Lillian Webb Park at the top of the hill at Jones St. and throughout downtown for the day long celebrations. Retrieve recycle containers about 10 or 11 PM just after the fireworks. The official ribbon cutting ceremony at Lillian Webb Park is at the Gateway Plaza at 11:30 AM and city festivities start at 2 PM including live music, street artists and vendors, games and rides for the kids, plus an evening concert by our own Skin Alley Kats at the new Lillian Webb Park, and of course a grand fireworks finale.
Next the Summer Concert Series continues Friday July 17 with free music in Thrasher Park 7:30 – 9:30 PM. Help set up recycling at 4 PM and retrieve at 9:30 PM. Join volunteers for the rest of the concert schedule: July 31, August 14 and 28, September 11 and October 3.
Saturday July 25 is the Bike Fest with all day family oriented activities. We will put out recycle containers and set up an informational tent about 7 AM and clean up about 9 PM. Join us in the parade about 9 AM then help us man the tent with educational information about bike and pedestrian safety info, clean air, anti idling, etc. until noon.
Watch for classes to become certified as an Adopt-A-Stream volunteer and join us soon in a stream clean up on a city owned property.
Imagine spending some of your summer volunteering with Sustainable Norcross and enjoying all the good things going on right here at home.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Don’t Be A Litter Bug…

But help us make them. Yep, that’s the plan according to Whistle Stop Farmers Market Children’s Activities volunteer Alice Hinterschied. The pavilion in newly renovated Thrasher Park will be transformed into The Kids Corner during many of the weekly markets. Look for face painters, temporary tattoos, a petting zoo and other kid friendly activities scattered throughout the market season that runs every Tuesday from 4 until 8 PM (or sell out), through October.

The featured activity for July 28 is the making of Litter Bugs that the kiddos can take home to remind them NOT to be a Litter Bug. Jane Cunningham will be showing the young crafters how to create their own litter bugs assuming YOU help us collect enough body parts, a/k/a craft supplies. This is what we need:

Egg cartons, especially paper ones
Empty paper towel tubes
Colored tissue paper
Ribbon or sting, small or large pieces
Shredded paper, especially colored paper
Plastic wrap, especially colored
Aluminum foil, clean please
Disposable bowls (paper, aluminum or Styrofoam also clean please)
Aluminum pie pans, clean please
Cupcake papers, never used please
Coffee filters, washed and dried please

All you pack rats, recyclers, “save it for a rainy day” folks, now is your chance to repurpose those scraps and items that were just too good to throw away.

Share your stash so kids can learn about recycling and anti-littering. Simply bring your “trash” to the Sustainable Norcross tent and we will ensure it becomes part of someone’s “treasure”. Stop by with yours weekly starting Tuesday and we should have enough by Litter Bug day.

And speaking of reusing, several of the vendors have asked you bring your own containers to carry your purchases away. Previously used egg cartons are perfect for, well… eggs. Bring your reusable shopping bags or buy the special Whistle Stop Farmers Market bags at the information tent. Bring back the cardboard boxes and little baskets to the strawberry man. Use those adorable baskets you have scattered on display throughout your home.

As for not littering, please remember to use the special “Away From Home Event Recycling” containers scattered throughout the market for aluminum, plastic, cardboard, glass and paper so long as they are NOT contaminated with food or other messy stuff. Place food and other organics in the specially marked container to be composted. Please put extinguished cigarette butts in the trash instead of littering our park and streets. Be a responsible pet owner and use the newly installed pet pick up stations. And put trash in its place.

Help us Make a Litter Bug, don’t Be a Litter Bug.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Team Work or “The sum of the parts is greater than the whole.”

These thoughts come to mind as we prepare for two wonderful grand openings at one location in our community that I hope you will attend on Tuesday June 9.

The newly refurbished Thrasher Park will be officially opened with a ceremony at 6:30 PM Tuesday June 9. It has been nearly 3 years in the making with planning, public input, construction and landscaping. Come see what YOU made with your SPLOST tax dollars, thanks to the leadership of the Mayor and City Council, staff and Public Works and Utilities Director Craig Mims and his citizen advisory group, the Parks and Green Space Commission. This city oasis was designed by, Sean J. Murphy, RLA, LEED AP, certified arborist and Director of Land Planning and Landscape Architecture for Southeastern Engineering, Inc. And there are teams of other folks too numerous to mention, who made this happen.

This is the first city owned property where the “no net loss of trees” policy, “low flow plumbing”, “bike racks at public facilities” “drought tolerant landscape practices” and the innovative “Away From Home Special Events Recycling Grant” have been implemented as part of the city effort to achieve Green Community certification by the Atlanta Regional Commission. This and other green initiatives are being championed by the Sustainable Norcross Commission, citizen advisors to the city in partnership with the Tree Board and Parks and Green Space Commission.

And that leads us to the fabulous Whistle Stop Farmers Market open 4 – 8 PM (or until sell out) each Tuesday through October. By supporting and designating a space for the market, the City earns yet another initiative toward Green Community status. This is a team effort by energetic volunteers led by Tixie Fowler and fully supported by the volunteers of Sustainable Norcross and Sustainable Peachtree Corners. Besides being a place to purchase seasonal fresh locally grown food, specialty items, plants, etc. this is the place to be for fun activities, demonstrations and visiting with your neighbors.

And speaking of neighbors, join us Tuesday 4:30 - 6:30 for the Ice Cream Social sponsored by Norcross Neighbors and Mojitos. Enjoy music from neighbor and Mayor Bucky Johnson and the Jazz Lites starting at 5:30.

Remember to arrive early for the best selection, but plan to stay for a fun packed experience.

Come celebrate Team Work and Volunteerism in Norcross, a place to imagine where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.

Please excuse anyone left out. With such a great list of partners it is bound to happen, but rest assured it is not intentional.

To recap:


4:30 - 6:30 - ICE CREAM SOCIAL

5:30 - LIVE MUSIC Mayor Bucky Johnson and the Jazz Lites


The Results Are In

And we like them!

The City recently held a Three in One Recycling Day and it was an overwhelming success thanks to people like YOU.

City of Norcross Code Enforcement Supervisor Phil Robertson and team really did it up right. 81 participants of Electronics Recycling kept 7,510 pounds of old computers, fax machines, printers, phones, etc. out of the landfill.

The City Wide Neighborhood Clean Up Day netted 17.56 TONS of bulky items such as old furniture and trash, yard debris and 1,800 pounds of regular household recyclables. Over 90 Norcross residents participated, some making more than 1 trip.

This was the first offering of the Shred It Event and it was wildly popular, filling up the entire huge truck with 8,865 pounds of shredded personal paper documents from over 120 participants. We knew we had a hit on our hands when 8 vehicles lined up 30 minutes prior to the official start time. There was no more room in the truck by an hour before quitting time. Plans are to add a second truck to the next Shred It event scheduled for October 24.

Thank you for your generous support of our local food pantry at Cooperative Ministy by donating 4 large boxes of non-perishable edibles.

10 volunteers, most from Sustainable Norcross, joined 6 community service workers and 6 city employees to provide this service for the community. The E-cyle and Shred It Events were open to the public and attracted people from 24 cities including Cumming, Duluth, Peachtree Corners and the greater Norcross area and as far away as Flowery Branch.

Seizing Opportunities and Fulfilling the Promise

Yes, I’ve been neglecting the blog. So sorry, but I have been out seizing opportunities and fulfilling the promise of spring. I had no idea there would be so many…

So even though the heat of summer is upon us, let’s pause and reflect on our recently departed spring.

Sustainable Norcross and Sustainable Peachtree Corners cemented their relationship with planning meetings almost weekly right up until the start of the late Spring CSA season on May 27. They participated in the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center Lunch and Learn for home schoolers in March. Cross promotion that has brought new faces to the table is another product of their collaboration. This includes brand new community gardens. Founders of the two groups serve on the Whistle Stop Farmers Market planning committee and share a tent at the market. Look for “the Sustainables” most weeks and especially on June 23 with a rain barrel and water conservation display.

Sustainable Norcross Commission has been working with the City and County to achieve points towards Green Community certification by the Atlanta Regional Commission. They also field questions and supply educational information as requested. These joint efforts were the subject of an article, “Norcross Is Greening Up” in the Georgia Sierra Club magazine by Greater Gwinnett Chapter President Tom Morrissey. The group also submits an article for the city monthly newsletter.

Sustainable Norcross became a Georgia non-profit corporation and opened a bank account. These are steps towards becoming an IRS tax exempt 501 (c) 3 organization. Thanks to Kim Civins and Bryan Cave Powell Goldstein for their pro bono assistance. And yes, we accept financial contributions.

In March Sustainable Norcross held an Open House to introduce many of their initiatives. The
Away From Home Event Recycling kit was especially featured and is available to qualified community groups to use at their events.

Sustainable Norcross volunteers manage the kit at city sponsored events. Have you noticed how many of those there are? The City has a great line up.
Contact us to volunteer for this important ongoing project.

A meeting of Sustainable Norcross Inc. was presented by a
Chamblee Community Wildlife Habitat volunteer leader who informed members on how to get their own Backyard Wildlife Habitat certified by the National Wildlife Federation.

Volunteers from Sustainable Norcross recently assisted the City with the very successful Three in One Recycling Events for electronics, paper shredding and bulky items. Other partnerships are developing to achieve common goals.

A field trip to Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center is in the works. A class to make your own rain barrel is also in the planning stages.
Adopt–A-Stream Training is coming up. All are outgrowths of interest expressed by participants like you.

Join us now. Seize the opportunities. Fulfill the promise of summer.