Neighborhood Environmental Challenge

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The City is pleased to announce an environmental challenge to ONE PS neighborhoods in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day April 22, 2020. The Neighborhood Environmental Challenge asks ONE PS neighborhoods, as well as Home Owners Associations that may be outside of a ONE PS Neighborhood, to take at least one environmental action as a community in the coming year. If you do anything, you are a winner! The neighborhood that completes the most and/or most significant actions will be named the “Green Neighborhood of the Year” on Earth Day 2021.

This challenge is part of a broader effort to encourage all Palm Springs residents to take ownership of their environment in 2020. The world faces a growing number of environmental challenges, and our task can feel daunting. If we each do our part, we can make a big impact.

Below is a list of example projects and implementation information. They are broken down into different tiers to provide a general sense of complexity or impact. The City welcomes your ideas for other projects that may not be listed. Some of these projects can even be done through virtual approaches.

For comments, concerns, or questions, please contact the Office of Sustainability at 760-323-8214. City staff will provide periodic updates on neighborhood actions at ONE-PS meetings. Download a hard copy of the guide here. 

Tier 1

1. Host a sustainability-themed house party, informational session, movie night, or other event


Get your neighbors talking about important issues that affect them and their opportunities for impact. Learn something new that may help reduce your environmental footprint.


1. Pick a hot environmental topic that might be of interest to your neighborhood. Here are some examples: recycling, climate change, water efficiency, what not to put down your drain, fast fashion, organic gardening/native planting, energy efficiency.

2. Figure out what engagement method might be best for you – house party, movie night, neighborhood meeting agenda item, special neighborhood event.

3. Reach out to the Office of sustainability to figure out what resources are available to make that topic come alive – movie, guest speaker, demonstration, tour, etc.

4. Announce the event either at your neighborhood meeting or through your typical outreach methods (list serves, emails, bulletin boards, etc.).

5. Hold your event.

6. Report your results.

2. Organize a “Make a Difference” Day to help a neighbor in need


Sustainability is about more than just the environment. Communities thrive when there is a sense of caring and comradery, and neighbors help each other out when there’s a need.


1. Work through your neighborhood organization to identify a project that will make a difference in a neighbor’s life. Here are some examples: cleaning a garage or yard for a neighbor that is can’t do it on their own, making dinner for someone who isn’t able, making minor home repairs if someone can’t afford to hire someone.

2. Determine what need your neighborhood can fill.

3. Coordinate with the individual to ensure they want or need the assistance.

4. Set the date and invite the neighborhood to join in.

5. Report back to the Office of Sustainability about the difference you made.

3. Organize a plant swap to provide free plants to neighbors


Plants help promote vital habitat for local species. Providing them to people for free helps people on limited budgets. Getting them from those that don’t want them to those that do prevents them from ending up in green waste bins or worse, being sent to a landfill.


1. Identify an event that your neighborhood is already planning – a neighborhood garage sale or other meeting.

2. Ask neighbors to bring labeled plants to that event at a specific time. Be sure the plants are in bags or containers that can be transferred easily.

3. Set aside sufficient time and space at the event to accommodate the swap.

4. Encourage neighbors to come and take a plant.

5. Report back to the Office of Sustainability about any event statistics.

4. Get as many of your neighbors as possible to sign the Personal Environmental Pledge.


The pledge provides easy ideas for people to adopt every day. Even if people commit to only one thing, it is more than they were doing before. If they sign the pledge, the City can send them an occasional reminder that helps prompt continued action.


1. Send around the link to the Personal Environmental Pledge through your standard communication network.

2. Reinforce the pledge at an in-person meetings.

3. Provide updates to your neighborhood at future meetings to let them know where you are on the pledge leader board.



Tier 2

5. Conduct a cleanup event


Litter in our streets ends up in our land and can leach chemicals and other materials into the earth and eventually our groundwater. These materials can also pose a danger to wildlife and pets. It’s important to remove it where we can.


1. Identify an area to clean up. This could be a general, neighborhood-wide street cleanup, focus on a particular stretch of road (especially if you have a busy road running through your neighborhood), an open lot, or a park.

2. As an alternative, you could organize a group to participate in the Tahquitz Creek cleanup that happens the third Saturday of each month.

3. Contact the Office of Sustainability to reserve cleanup resources – gloves, pickup sticks, and bags. Staff will also reach out to Palm Springs Disposal to pick up collected materials.

4. City Staff will arrange for drop off and pickup of cleanup resources.

5. Hold the event and try to get participants to document what they collect (e.g., cups, bags, straws, etc.) using a simple data collection form.

6. Take a picture to record your accomplishment!

6. Conduct a sprinkler check week in your neighborhood


Water is a precious resource here in the desert. Using less is not only important for our long-term sustainability but also is a great way to save yourself some money!


1. Decide on a good week to designate a sprinkler check week in your neighborhood. The best time to aim for is when the majority of your neighbors are in town.

2. Advertise the dates for your neighborhood sprinkler check week. The ultimate goal is to keep your neighborhood streets and sidewalks dry, which extends their lifespan. You’ll save water and money.

3. Circulate instructions to residents and post signs (physical and/or electronic) around your neighborhood as a reminder.

4. It is important to get the word to people that aren’t full-time residents so they can tell their lawn service to do the check in their absence.

5. If you live in an HOA, this may be an easy task to get your gardener to do the check throughout your neighborhood. The landscape committee (if your HOA has one) or board members can help and review landscaper findings.

6. During the week, provide residents with information about DWA programs to help address the problems that they might identify – sprinkler nozzle replacements and smart controller installation. (

7. DWA will provide the city with neighborhood-level program participation data.

8. Survey your residents to see how many people participated at the end of the week. Consider using Nextdoor or an online tool like Survey Monkey. You should also follow up with residents in-person one-on-one or at any future HOA and NORG meetings.

NOTE: if you see a leak or sprinkler issue on a neighbor’s property and you do not feel comfortable approaching them to let them know, you can contact DWA (760-323-4971 ext 183 or 184,

7. Plant pollinator-friendly plants in common spaces and rights of way. We’ll supply the plants if you provide the space and the irrigation.


Pollinators (bees, butterflies, birds, bats, etc.) are critical for food production (dates, grapes, citrus, etc.), and their habitat is being devastated by development, pollution, and other man-made stressors. Planting native nectar plants, such as milkweed for monarch butterflies, helps promote pollinator populations.


1. Identify a potential area in quiet part of your neighborhood’s common space or public areas that gets full or partial sun. Spaces should be 20 square feet or more (2x10, 4x5, 3x7, etc.) and away from high-speed streets.

2. Contact the Office of Sustainability to let us know you are interested.

3. Pollinator plant experts will visit your site to confirm the space will accommodate the plants.

4. The City will provide you with seeds or plants (if available) and watering instructions. We will also provide a small sign to let others know that the location of the project.

5. Organize a planting day with some neighborhood representatives so that everyone knows what is planted and where, and how to maintain them.

6. Take a picture of your plantings and provide them to the Office of Sustainability for our website. Follow up with additional photos as the plants grow and they are in bloom.

8. Organize an Earth Hour in your neighborhood.


Celebrate your commitment to the planet and spread awareness about the environment.


1. Pick a date and time (usually around 8 - 10 PM) for your Earth Hour.

2. Ask all your neighborhood residents to turn off their lights and turn off their TVs for one hour. During that hour, you could host a neighborhood walk or environmentally themed social event.

3. Report back to the Office of Sustainability on your participation.

9. Plant a tree in a City Park through the Parks & Recreation “Parks Beautification and Tree Program”.


Increasing the City’s tree canopy helps reduce carbon in the atmosphere, provides shade for people and valuable habitat for birds and other wildlife.


1. Check out the program requirements on line at

2. Contact the Parks & Recreation Department at to let them know you are interested.

3. Allocate or raise $1250 to plant a tree and install a plaque at one of the City Park properties. ($1000 without the plaque.)

4. Select a park and location for your tree.

5. Work with Parks & Recreation to identify an appropriate tree species.

6. Present your request to the Parks & Recreation Commission for approval.

7. Invite your neighborhood to the tree planting.


Tier 3

10 Get as many neighbors as possible to take advantage of DWA’s water rebate programs (turf conversion, smart controllers, sprinkler head replacements).


DWA offers a variety of rebates that help residents save money and water.


1. Help DWA get the word out about available rebates by providing information through your newsletters or social networks.

2. Get residents to plant flags in their yard to note their participation in a DWA program.

3. Get monthly updates from DWA on neighborhood progress.

4. Share updates with your neighborhood about participation levels.

11 Get as many people as possible in your neighborhood to stay with Desert Community Energy, especially at the 100% carbon free level.


Getting energy from renewable and carbon-free sources helps reduce individual and community carbon footprints, which can help mitigate the impacts of climate change.


1. Send a note to your neighborhood encouraging them to stick with the 100% carbon free plan with DCE if they can and opt down to the Desert Saver rate if they aren’t able to go carbon free.

2. Get monthly updates from DCE about neighborhood progress.

3. Share updates with your neighborhood about participation levels and continue to advocate for DCE plans.