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Environmental Sustainability - How Charlotte is Going Green

 #SpotlightOnCLT: Environmental Sustainability -  How Charlotte is Going Green

#SpotlightOnCLT is SHARE Charlotte’s monthly content series that highlights a different cause or issue each month and allows us to explore the crucial work being done in that particular arena by our local nonprofit partners. It is one way that we shine a light on various causes and issues in one calendar year. We strive to help educate the community and explore the given topic through the lens of the nonprofit community- breaking down who does what, how to get involved, and where to meet the innovative change-makers.

September’s spotlight is Environmental Sustainability. Environmental sustainability is the responsibility to conserve natural resources and protect global ecosystems to support health and wellbeing, now and in the future. 

113 people move to the Charlotte region every single day.

How do we protect, support, and sustain the city we all love?

We know you want to be involved, so we’ve put together a guide for next steps. Stick with us all month long on social media, as we share events, updates, and happenings from innovative sustainability nonprofits in Charlotte.

Want to dive deeper? 

Attend SHARE Charlotte’s Environmental Sustainability Event on September 27th at Lenny Boy Brewing. Attendees will have the chance to meet and network with nonprofits who are working to create a zero-waste, low-carbon future and ensuring that our surrounding rivers, land, and wildlife are being protected.  Learn about ways all Charlotteans can go green, support these nonprofits and create a more sustainable future.

Check out the list below of environmental nonprofits, their volunteer opportunities, and some upcoming events to help Charlotte go green.

SHARE Charlotte’s Environmental Sustainability Nonprofits:

🌳 The Anne Springs Close Greenway connects people to nature through education, recreation and conservation efforts and programs. How can you help? Gifts, both large and small, make a difference. 

  • $7 maintains a foot of trail for a year.
  • $25 secures one bag of ryegrass for overseeding during winter.
  • $300 tests water quality in Lake Haigler.
  • $780 buys a 25-pound bag of wildflower seed.

Larry Nelson, 2022 Volunteer of the Year, shares what led him to volunteer at ASCG. “The Greenway itself, my love of the outdoors and the people we have met there.” Larry volunteers with roadside trash cleanup, special event parking, driving golf carts to/from parking for those who need a lift, checking on the Litter Gitter each week and coordinating clean-out when needed. You can also find him lending a hand at horse shows. 

Upcoming Event Spotlight: The Colonel’s Club Boil & Brew combines delicious food, craft beer and fall weather for a can't-miss community experience!












Kayaks near Lake Haigler at the Anne Springs Close Greenway photographed by Carissa Rogers

🌳 Catawba Lands Conservancy (CLC) is a land trust – a nonprofit, community-based conservation organization that permanently conserves and manages land for public benefit in the Southern Piedmont of North Carolina, and leads the Carolina Thread Trail - a network of 370+ miles of trail across 15 counties. How can you help? 

  • $10 covers the cost to construct a linear foot of natural surface trail
  • $50 lets us conduct a prescribed burn on one acre
  • $250 allows for one linear foot of stream restoration

“Our Piedmont region is home to some of the fastest-growing urban centers in the Southeast United States. Recently, the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance announced that 113 people are moving to our region every day. As the Charlotte region prospers and grows, the Catawba Lands Conservancy permanently protects our most valuable (and vulnerable) natural areas. The Thread Trail provides access to these natural spaces, while also connecting us to each other. Together, the Conservancy and the Thread Trail are your local land trust and trail network.”

"I've been an avid hiker for much of my life and volunteering with a great organization like the Carolina Thread Trail gives me the unique opportunity to build and maintain trails that are safe and accessible for everyone to enjoy.” – Larry Humbert, Catawba Lands Conservancy and Carolina Thread Trail volunteer











Hikers enjoy the Pharr Yarns Family Trail in McAdenville, NC, which runs through 90+ acres of permanently conserved land along the banks of the South Fork River.

🌳 TreesCharlotte grows, diversifies, and stewards our iconic urban forest as well as teach Charlotteans about the value and care for trees. How can you help? $250 covers a tree, the planting process and the watering of that tree for one year.

“We work to add 5,600 trees to Charlotte annually to create a stronger, healthier, resilient community.  Trees increase property values, attract visitors, prevent flooding, maintain cool temperatures and promote health and wellness.

"Trees around schools improve children's ability to learn and puts them in touch with the natural environment. Play time around trees can improve focus and reduce symptoms of ADHD. Trees benefit all humans regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or background. We love planting at schools for these and many other reasons.  

Following a planting of 340 trees at University Meadows Elementary, their Family Advocate, Sylvia Hines shared: "A short walk on our campus among the trees does wonders for mental space. TreesCharlotte positively impacted us and we appreciate the transforming experience!"

volunteers planting trees










Work and fun at a TreesCharlotte School TreeDay (University Meadows Elementary) Charlotte, get ready to adopt trees at our Opening Day Citywide Tree Adoption on Saturday, September 30, 2023.  

Get involved! Tree Adoptions are open to all Charlotte residents (up to two trees per resident) and pre-registration is required.  Tree planting training is provided along with mulch. The trees are free but donations are welcome as we purchase our trees from 3 NC Growers to provide to Charlotteans. We also offer tree adoptions every month of planting season (October - March) so follow us and help build our urban forest!

🌳 Sustain Charlotte is a community-based nonprofit organization advocating for smart growth solutions to Charlotte’s Sustainability challenges. How can you help? “Your contributions of time, energy, and money enable Sustain Charlotte to work collaboratively with residents, neighborhood organizations, government agencies, nonprofits, and businesses to solve the most important challenges to the long-term social, economic, and environmental health of our community.”

"I have been impressed with the efforts of Sustain Charlotte to bring many different people and organizations in our community together to identify and implement solutions that improve our city's sustainability. Some of the things that Sustain Charlotte is doing, saying, and being, in our community are things that we don’t have another group out there able to be, do and say. So to me, Sustain Charlotte is an important voice for not only the environment but for the lifestyle that all of us hope to have in this community long-term. And I hope Sustain Charlotte continues to sustain.” – Anthony Foxx, Former US Secretary of Transportation + Former Mayor of Charlotte

ribbon cutting










Photo: David Flower Sustain Charlotte joined City of Charlotte leaders for a ribbon-cutting of the new protected bike lane uptown that we advocated for tirelessly. We do this work to reduce our impact on the climate, advance racial equity, and support residents’ health and wellness.

Join Sustain Charlotte on October 22, 2023, for Biketoberfest, a fun, scavenger-hunt-style event for all ages and abilities and a great way to explore and discover new places around central Charlotte without a car. 

🌳 Upcycle Arts provides the Charlotte community with reclaimed materials to transform into art. How can you help? “A $100 donation allows us to fund our upfit for a larger space. Upcycle Arts is gearing up to move into a larger space so they can have regular business hours to be more easily accessed by the community and so that we can accept larger donations of art supplies to divert from the landfill. Funding our upfit will allow us to more sustainably make this leap and expand our impact for the city of Charlotte.”

The impact: “This year we partnered with Charlotte Stormwater to divert 130,000 lbs of leather scrap and leather hides to makers all around the country. We had people traveling from Asheville, Raleigh, and even some who traveled from New York to buy our heavily discounted leather pieces. Diverting this leather helped Charlotte Stormwater begin demolition so they can add greenspace to the NODA area, all while keeping these expensive materials out of the landfill and getting them to people who could use it. We were recently recognized by the National Waste & Recycling Association for an Honorable Mention for their Sustainability Partnership Award.

volunteers and artists










Two local artists shopping all reclaimed art supplies at Upcycle Arts, Charlotte's only creative reuse center.

🌳 Envision Charlotte: Help transition the city of Charlotte into the first circular city in America “With our volunteer's help, our goal is to create 600 sound panels to divert 1 ton of tshirt material from the landfill.” 

Help transition the city of Charlotte into the first Circular City in America!

envision barn










Volunteers are cut and weave donated t-shirts into sound panels to divert those t-shirts from the landfill.

🌳 Carolina Raptor Center ignites imaginations and inspires engagement in the natural world through the exploration and rehabilitation of birds of prey. How can you help today? A $400 donation allows us to feed all of our resident birds and birds in our Raptor Hospital for one day.

More than 60 avian ambassadors call Carolina Raptor Center Home, and our Raptor Hospital treats 800 to 1000 sick or injured raptors each year. That's a lot of beaks to feed! Your donation allows us to ensure these birds are receiving the highest quality of food to stay full and happy.

“At the beginning of June, an Osprey came into our Raptor Hospital after being found with a fishing line wrapped around its wing. Our expert staff treated its injury and gave the Osprey plenty of time to rest. Around that time, we were running low on fish - an Osprey's primary food source! The community showed up by donating more than 40 pounds of fish, giving us plenty of food to feed the Osprey and other fish-eating birds in our care.”

raptor on vet table










Renee Brewton, a Raptor Tech at Carolina Raptor Center's Raptor Hospital, inspects the wing of a Great Horned Owl who has undergone imping, a process to replace damaged flight feathers with donor feathers. Imping is one of many specialized techniques our rehabilitation team uses to treat injured, sick, or orphaned raptors. The goal is always to release healthy individuals back into their natural habitats, giving them a second chance at life.

Check out our special Repurposing Charlotte section! 

🌳 Feeding Charlotte. “We partner with professional kitchens to rescue surplus, prepared meals and use a volunteer pool to move those meals from those kitchens to nonprofit distribution partners, who feed those in need in Charlotte.

For every $100 donated to the organization, we can provide over 35 meals to those in need. It supports us in ensuring that nobody in our community goes hungry.

“Being retired has given me a chance to get out when I know some people can’t and help people with my wife, “ he said. “It’s something we can do together in our retirement years.”  -Feeding Charlotte volunteer, Jeff Grubbs











Feeding Charlotte volunteers receiving food from a partner kitchen.

The month of September is Hunger Action Month and Feeding Charlotte is hosting a Peer to Peer giving campaign.


🌳 Furnish For Good - "We connect gently used furnishings to our neighbors in need through collaborations with partner agencies."

Donating to Furnish For Good can provide:

  • $100 - Basic needs for cooking, dining and bedding packs
  • $250 - Twin bedding pacakge with frame, mattress, pillow, bedbug cover, bedding
  • $1000 - Moving expenses for 2 families.

Since opening their doors in 2019, Furnish for Good has served over 1400 people and completed over 600 deliveries. They've recently moved to a new, larger, and more accessible location to be able to recieve and store donations. 

furnish for good volunteers pose behind furniture boxes







Get your tickets today for SHARE Charlotte’s Environmental Sustainability Event!

Tickets and Info

enviro event header


Share With Us!

We have so much great news to share from our nonprofit partners about their amazing work. But, we'd love to hear from you. Let us know if you have stories you'd like to tell and we'll make you a guest blogger!!