You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

Welcoming Our New Executive Director

 Jennifer Westerholm (Outgoing Executive Director) & Todd Lawrence (Incoming Executive Director)

Jennifer Westerholm (Outgoing Executive Director) & Todd Lawrence (Incoming Executive Director)

Jennifer Bids Farewell

Serving as Urban Green Lab's Executive Director for the past 3 years has been such an honor! I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to grow the organization and help make Nashville a cleaner, greener, and healthier city. Each of you, our enthusiastic supporters, has made my job a joy. Your dedication of time, talent, and wealth has sustained and buoyed us. 

As I make the transition to full time mom (our son is due in 9 days!), I take with me many fond memories of my time at Urban Green Lab, a continued commitment to serving the organization however I can, and a deep appreciation for each of you and the wonderful city we call home!

We Welcome Todd Lawrence as New Executive Director

A Nashville native, Todd spent 15 years on the frontlines of global health and community well-being.  Prior to Urban Green Lab, Todd managed community education for the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and taught International Leadership at Peabody’s College of Education & Human Development.  He served two years in South Sudan with the Carter Center’s Guinea Worm Eradication program, five years leading a global AIDS campaign with the Global Health Council in Washington, DC, and two years with the Peace Corps training community health workers on rural farms in Zambia.  He has a masters in International Development from American University and a bachelors in Political Science from Furman University. 

a Night of Pervious Pavement & NetZero Building

Last night Urban Green Lab teamed up with Lightning 100's Team Green Adventures for our monthly Engage Green event at the beautiful campus of Tennessee Concrete Association. Between their wonderful landscape and gracious hosting, guests were in for a real treat! 

Guests were first given an introduction by Matt, from Lightning 100 and Jennifer from Urban Green Lab. It was each of their LAST Engage Green events before moving on to the next stage of their lives. (Thanks Jennifer and Matt for all your hard work with these monthly Engage Green events!).

From there, Alan Sparkman took the mic and dove in to the world of pervious concrete. Where normal concrete is impervious and causes there to be harmful run-off, pervious concrete mimics that of a more natural ground cover where water can absorb into the ground. This sustainable concrete is exponentially growing here in Tennessee. Questions? Alan is your guy! Contact him at

Up next was Holly Baird, the Director of USCGBC's Mid TN chapter then talked to us about the NetZero building on the property and how important green design is. She explained how we spend 90% percent of our lives indoors ... so we better make the most sustainable, healthy decisions for those spaces. Questions? Interest in green building here in TN? She is your expert! Contact her at 

Last was Donna and her concrete magic of creating bird baths formed around leaves. One lucky winner was able to take one home as a raffle prize!

Thank you for hosting us TCA and USGBC Mid TN!

Americorps VISTA Positions Now Open!

Urban Green Lab is now accepting applications for four new AmeriCorps VISTAs to start this fall. Are you interested in nonprofit Development, Communications, Program Evaluation & Grants, or Volunteer Engagement? Then check out these opportunities to serve your community and gain great experience in sustainability education! Positions start early November. Applications due September 1st. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis! Questions? Contact

Not familiar with the Americorps VISTA program? Learn more here.




Salute to Excellence Finalist

Urban Green Lab has been named a finalist for CNM's Salute to Excellence awardS in the category of "Sustainable Practices".  We couldn't be more excited! 

Each fall, CNM honors Middle Tennessee nonprofits with the Salute to Excellence awards dinner - the largest nonprofit awards event in the country. As a part of CNM's 30th anniversary year, the 2016 Salute to Excellence event is building up to be the largest event yet. Save the date - this year's Salute will take place on October 18, 2016 at the Omni Nashville Hotel.

Congratulations to Turnip Green Creative Reuse and Hands on Nashville for being the other two finalists in our category.

Nashville Scholars: Summer Zone

Nashville Scholars is an incredible program offered every summer to Nashville students. The program is for rising 8th grade - rising 11th grade students. They are given meals, transportation, field trips and enhanced knowledge of core subjects, for FREE!

We have been invited to bring the Mobile Lab to each of the four sites of the program at Cane Ridge, Hunters Lane, McGavock, and Whites Creek High Schools. 

It's nice to see students keeping engaged throughout the summer months, and even better that we can help!

Welcome Cara and Kelsey!

We are so excited to welcome Cara and Kelsey as our summer interns! We've had fun getting to know them in the short time that we have been working together, and can't wait to see what they learn throughout their summer ... and teach us, as well!

"Hi! My name is Cara Miller and I am a Marketing & Communications intern for UGL this summer!   I grew up in Philadelphia, PA and I am a rising senior at Vanderbilt University, pursuing a major in the Communication of Science and Technology, as well as minors in Environmental Science and Engineering Management.

I spent the last semester studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland, where I took courses focusing on environmental science and sustainability.  My interests including running, photography, and traveling!  I’m looking forward to spending time in Nashville this summer while exploring everything Urban Green Lab has to offer!"

"My name is Kelsey Driscoll, and I am excited to join Urban Green Lab this May and June as a summer intern. I am originally from Nashville, a graduate of Hume-Fogg High School and the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt, and have just completed my first year at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California. I am a Geology major with a passion for environmental education and community engagement, and I enjoy working with youth to inspire community change. This summer at Urban Green Lab, I am developing an interactive activity for the Mobile Lab and creating GIS graphics for the UGL Annual Report. Following my time with UGL, I will be working for a month in Akko, Israel, with a team of students and archaeologists at the Tel Akko excavation site. Other plans I have for the summer include hiking, reading, and exploring this constantly-evolving city. I look forward to an exciting summer with Urban Green Lab!"


Jennifer's Announcement


A Letter from our Executive Director, Jennifer Tlumak Westerholm:

Dear friends, 

My husband and I are expecting a little boy this fall! We're thrilled! 

Considering the rigors of directing Urban Green Lab and of motherhood, I’ve decided to step down after three amazing years with Urban Green Lab. I'll be departing in late August/early September.

I wanted you – our best supporters and friends – to be among the first to know. 

It has been a privilege to work with incredible Board members, volunteers, partner organizations, and donors to build something very exciting for our city. I’m proud of what we’ve done so far.

Our Board of Directors has just launched a formal search, and we hope that you each will help us spread the word and find the perfect candidate to take the reins of this growing organization and – with the firm foundation of great staff, volunteer, and Board support – take it to the next level! The job opportunity is posted here, so please share.

Thank you again for the opportunity to serve. Even after September, I will remain closely engaged with Urban Green Lab and very involved in the work that we all carry on together … that of making our city greener and healthier!

All my best,


Click Here to View the Job Posting

You can help Urban Green Lab by telling your friends and family about the available position!  

If you have any questions or recommendations, do not hesitate to reach out.

Green Garden Party: Urban Edition

Thanks to an incredibly supportive community, this year's "Green Garden Party: Urban Edition" was a rousing success. With nearly 200 people in attendance in an incredibly unique space, delicious food and drinks, a silent auction with over 40 items, an inspiring program, Mobile Lab tours, and terrific music, the event was a hit! 

We owe many thanks for the success of this event. First, thank you to Elizabeth Suzann for the incredible space. Thank you to Michael Samis, former cellist of the Nashville symphony, for his cello performance and DJ Rutherford Beat Hayes for his crowd-pleasing vinyl spinning. Mitchell Deli, Alexander's Catering, and Blackstone Brewery were kind enough to donate delicious local food and beer. Thank you to our event sponsors, Piedmont Natural Gas and NASBA for their generous donations. 

Last but certainly not least, thanks to the committee who pulled the event together, led by Americorps VISTA, Charlotte McGoldrick.