Green Hands: Our Origin Story

Posted: 6/20/2018


The Green Hands Initiative’s sustainability efforts are entrenched in the daily operations of the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, whether there is a show or not. But how familiar are you with its birth?


Jack Johnson brought his surf rock stylings to the Amphitheatre in 2014, and his contract included eco-riders regarding things like single use plastics and the waste generated during the event. His team got involved in local beach clean ups and the concert was more like an environmental festival than “just” a show. The beginnings of the Green Hands Initiative were set into motion in the aftermath of that event. But the years since have seen it grow exponentially.

Conservation and Sustainability

The Initiative's mission is simply to reduce unnecessary waste and minimize adverse impacts on cherished resources. Things like eliminating plastic bags, switching to biodegradable disposables, a strong commitment to onsite recycling and having water refill stations throughout the venue were put into place. The 2018 season has seen new initiatives in the Pint and Last Straw Programs.


There also been a changing of the guard. Former program volunteer Jen Snare stepped into the Coordinator role when the position was vacated by Megan Murphy. Snare said she is “grateful to be able to contribute to what Megan has worked so hard to grow and nurture and be able to expand and educate our patrons and community.”

Rooted in Music AND Community

The Initiative has partnered with its closest local school by donating a water refill station there. Getting out into the community during happenings like the Saturday Farmer’s Market held at the Amphitheatre and the St. Augustine Christmas and Easter parades are important and fun ways to share how the program has grown with folks who may not get to shows frequently. Spreading the word to out of town concertgoers to bring back to their own home venues during shows here is vital as well.


The Green Hands Initiative is proud of its origin story. And why shouldn’t it be? Surely Johnson played a lot of other shows that fateful concert season a few years ago that followed his wishes. Yet how many of those venues implemented them one by one? How many planted the seed for a successful perennial program which will only keep growing? We did. And one of the best things about the Initiative is it is full of ideas about how one can make an impact by making small choices across daily life at home, work, school and social occasions.

Join the Troops

The Green Hands team relies on a dedicated core of volunteers, not only on show days, but also during other local events. Consider joining the crew! Those interested in volunteering can visit the Amphitheatre website for more information. Come and say hello to the “green shirts” next time you visit the Amp.


Jen Hand is a freelance journalist and aspiring fiction writer. She's a regular contributor to Edible Northeast Florida Magazine. Hand lives in St. Augustine and is one of the original Green Hands volunteers.

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