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Southwest Ohio Updates from the Field – March

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Letter from the Regional Director:

OEC Southwest Ohio: March 2023 Updates


I love this time of year and am fully embracing all of the signs that spring is here — warmer temperatures, longer daylight hours, birds chirping, and blooming flowers. Read on to find a number of ways to celebrate the season, like the 2023 Greater Cincinnati Earth Day event. You’ll also learn about a number of opportunities to take action and participate locally – like attending the 2023 Green Cincinnati Plan adoption event. 

Wishing you the best this season has to offer. Happy spring!

With gratitude,

Kylie Johnson
Southwest Ohio Regional Director

Regional Events & Opportunities:

Green Cincinnati Plan Adoption

Tuesday, April 11 | 10 AM

Cincinnati City Hall (801 Plum St.)

The 2023 Green Cincinnati Plan is finally ready for adoption! Join Councilmember Meeka D. Owens and the Climate, Environment, and Infrastructure Committee for presentations at City Hall (801 Plum St.) on April 11 at 10 AM. Public comment is actively encouraged to share your thoughts on the plan. If you can’t be physically present, sign up to participate via zoom.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Friday, April 21, 2023

Woodward Theater (1404 Main St, Cincinnati, OH 45202)

The Ohio River Foundation (ORF) will again bring one of the largest environmental film festivals in North America to Cincinnati this spring. The Wild & Scenic Film Festival will be on Friday, April 21 at the Woodward Theater in Over-the-Rhine. The goal of the festival is to inspire environmental activism and a love for nature through film. Tickets are on sale now on their website.

Solar Town Hall & Happy Hour

Friday, April 21 | 4-6 PM

5455 Glenway Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45238

The Cincinnati 2030 District invites anyone interested in learning about solar energy to participate in a Solar Town Hall & Happy Hour on April 21 at the NECA/IBEW Net Zero Training Center. This town hall is an opportunity to learn about the latest in solar technologies, hear from experts across the solar industry, and connect with leaders in the community implementing solar at a variety of scales. Those interested in solar estimates for their property can bring a recent utility bill showing 12 months of electricity usage. More information here.

Greater Cincinnati Earth Day Celebration

Saturday, April 22, 2023 | 12-5 PM

Blue Ash, Summit Park

The Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition will be hosting the 2023 Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 22 at Summit Park in Blue Ash. Activities and presentations about environmental education will be featured at the event along with 125 exhibitors, local music, food, and drinks. For more information, visit the website.

Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit 

Friday, May 12, 2023 | 8am-5pm

Duke Energy Convention Center (525 Elm St, Cincinnati, OH 45202)

Early registration is now open for the 2023 Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit at the Duke Energy Convention Center on Friday, May 12. Featuring keynote speaker Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, this year’s theme is Imagine What’s Possible, inviting attendees to come together in collective hope and renewed resilience amidst the climate crisis.

Ohio River Paddlefest

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Make plans to be part of the nation’s largest paddling celebration, Ohio River Paddlefest, on August 5! Registration is open, so sign up now for the lowest rate and while rental boats are still available. Kick off the weekend on Friday, August 4 with the free Outdoors for All Expo, featuring 50+ exhibitors (including parks, outdoor outfitters, adventure experts and environmentally minded organizations), hands-on demos, live music, raffles, food trucks and beer.

The Ripple Effect – Online Course

April 24 – June 5, 2023

The Cincinnati Nature Center invites you to move from being a “nature lover” to a “nature do-er” in this free self-paced online course that guides you to use your voice to create positive change for people and nature. OEC’s Managing Director of Democracy Policy, Chris Tavenor, is featured in one of the course videos to discuss the democratic process and citizen engagement! Pre-registration is required by April 17. Details and registration link here.

Regional Updates

OEC Staff attend the ORSANCO Commissioner Meeting and Technical Committee

In February, OEC’s Associate General Counsel and Managing Director of Democracy Chris Tavenor, Southeast Ohio Regional Director Molly Jo Stanley, and Southwest Ohio Regional Director Kylie Johnson represented the OEC at the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) meeting in Covington, Kentucky. The team had the opportunity to meet the new Ohio EPA Director, Anne Vogel, along with a dynamic group of attending committee members, scientists, researchers, and advocates across the Ohio River Basin.

PFAS Education for Cincinnati City Council Committee

On Valentine’s Day, OEC’s Managing Director of Water Policy Melanie Houston joined Southwest Ohio Regional Director Kylie Johnson in Cincinnati to present at the Cincinnati Climate, Environment & Infrastructure (CEI) Committee meeting. The meeting was focused on understanding the health and environmental impacts of PFAS chemicals. Melanie shared information about OEC’s advocacy efforts to safeguard drinking water from PFAS and updates about PFAS policy progress at the federal, state, and local levels. To watch Melanie’s testimony at the CEI Committee, visit CitiCable. In March, the U.S. EPA proposed the agency’s first-ever national standard to limit PFAS in water. Read OEC’s press release here.

Citizen Science and Air Quality Monitoring Kicking off in Cincinnati’s Mill Creek Corridor

Residents from the area are being trained and paid to work with Groundwork Ohio River Valley pairing their lived experience with science. In partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Groundwork is piloting neighborhood-scale monitoring to uncover why some neighborhoods have life expectancy 10-15 years higher than others. Thanks to Cincinnati Red Bike, youth employees are riding in style while on monitoring routes. These data will help to inform policy and raise awareness of unseen environmental justice concerns.

City of Dayton updates

The City of Dayton is excited to announce their large calendar of events for Earth Month! More information about Earth Month is available on their website. If you want to get involved in more sustainability initiatives in the Miami Valley, check out the City of Dayton website for ways to get involved. 

Additionally, Dayton will be launching their solar small business and non-profit co-op in May with Solar United Neighbors and Montgomery County! Check out their website for more information.

Ohio Lights Out

Did you know that last year Ohio Lights Out volunteers recovered more than 3,000 birds injured by building collisions? 3,000! You can help too. Please join Lights Out Miami Valley and turn off your lights from midnight to dawn March 15 through May 31. More information here

Support Water Quality Improvements in the Upper Little Miami River Watershed

The Ohio EPA Office of Surface Water is seeking comments on the Draft Loading Analysis Plan for the Upper Little Miami River Watershed in an effort to improve water quality. The draft report recommends several actions in various locations throughout the watershed, including follow-up monitoring, habitat restoration plans, and a pollution reduction plan (TMDL, or total maximum daily load) to address sedimentation. Click here for a descriptive fact sheet and the full report. Comments are due by 5:00 p.m. on April 5, 2023, to

Summer Conservation Leaders Program for High School Students

Looking for summer opportunities for High School students? Ohio River Foundation is offering a week-long course. Participants will meet professional conservationists and scientists in the field and paddle, fish, hike, seine, wade, sample, observe and so much more! Learn leadership skills and about environmental science careers. More information here.  

OEC Updates

Doing our part in East Palestine

Since the devastating Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio in early February, we have been working with community leaders to monitor the impact of the train derailment and toxic chemical release on the community, and develop long-term regulatory and policy solutions to ensure an environmental disaster like this never happens again. We stand in solidarity with our partners fighting for transparency, accountability, and justice. To learn more and for an updated timeline of our work, please visit our dedicated webpage.

Continuing the call for HB 6 repeal after Householder found guilty

Early in March, former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and former Ohio Republican Party Chairperson Matt Borges were found guilty for their role in the largest public corruption case in Ohio history — a complex scheme to pass House Bill 6. This decision is an important step towards justice and rectifying the wrongs that FirstEnergy and other utility companies have perpetrated on Ohioans. However, justice will not truly be served until Ohioans are no longer bailing out old, dirty coal plants on their monthly electric bills, and until Ohioans can trust that their lawmakers and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio are looking out for them, and not corrupt special interests. We won’t stop until HB 6 has been fully repealed and Ohio has an affordable, clean energy economy that benefits everyone, not just fossil fuel companies and utilities. We will keep working until we have energy justice in Ohio. We hope you will continue to support our work for energy justice. 

You’re invited to our May 20 Green Gala

The Green Gala provides the unique opportunity for environmentalists around the state to come together, build our path ahead, and celebrate the accomplishments that bring us hope and heart. This year, we will be celebrating environmental champions from across the state, including: the Buckeye Trail Association, Cuyahoga County Director of Sustainability Mike Foley, Cincinnati City Councilmember Meeka Owens, and River Valley Organizing. 

Join together with hundreds of other committed members of the environmental movement to network, collaborate, and be inspired at this indoor and outdoor event. Heavy appetizers and beverages will be served. Register online before May 12!

Check out current openings at the OEC and our partner organizations.