Addison County Meeting Minutes

Addison County Environmental Literacy Public Dialogue

Ilsley Public Library

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Meeting Minutes

Participants responded to the question, “What do you see when you picture an environmentally literate community?  What’s happening?  What are individuals, schools, businesses, organizations, etc. doing in your future vision?” as follows:

Town Centers – Title given to the following group of visions by participants

  • Membrane between school and community more permeable
  • Pedestrian/bike commuter friendly community
  • Compact population centers
  • Stable population

Conservation of Resources – Title given to the following group of visions by participants

  • Resource conservation and renewable energy
  • Consume and reuse locally.  Less consumption.
  • Incorporation of nature in all aspects of life – town planning, education, recreation, etc.  Link into people’s love of natural beauty as well as science.

Active Citizenship – Title give to the following group of visions by participants

  • Community members feel valued and empowered
  • Informed decision making

Participants responded to the request to, “Share some of the environmental projects and initiatives that already are happening in your workplace or community that bring us closer to an environmentally literate Vermont.” as follows:

Town Centers

  • Green Energy Expo at Middlebury Union High School
  • Trail Around Middlebury
  • Farmers Markets (winter and CSA’s) in most small towns
  • Vermont Family Forest helps families to manage small woodlots
  • Localvore groups
  • Energy committees and coordinators in Ripton, Bristol, Middlebury, Shoreham and Lincoln
  • Addison County Transportation Resource (ACTR) provides a shuttle bus and rides along the Route 7 corridor
  • Conservation Commission in towns
  • Outside Starksboro land is preserved and conserved to prevent sprawl
  • Green businesses and co-ops (both for energy and for food)
  • Addison County Regional Planning Commission (ACRPC) does land use planning that promotes village centers and provides a transportation infrastructure for rail, bikes and pedestrians
  • Stone Soup – Addison County local foods/local schools conference in April
  • Vergennes and Middlebury community gardens
  • Town Hall Theatre and Vergennes Opera House
  • Four Winds Nature Institute
  • Middlebury Area Land Trust (MALT)
  • Otter Creek Audubon Society (OCAS)
  • Otter View Park is in town
  • Marble Works condos
  • New bridge in Middlebury town center
  • After school programs in schools
  • Middlebury Natural Foods Co-Op (MNFC)
  • Mountain Greens Market in Bristol
  • Recreation opportunities nearby include:  Snake Mountain, Lake Dunmore, Otter Creek, U.S. Forest Service land, Lake Champlain, Vermont State Parks, State Fish and Wildlife areas
  • Safe routes to schools in some towns
  • Mary Hogan School has a Walk to School Day
  • Buttolph Acres

Conservation of Resources

  • Building weatherization programs
  • Addison County Green Energy Expo
  • Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) moving to Smart Power Grid and Cow Power
  • Lake Champlain Committee publishes monthly newspaper columns and a book on Lake Champlain
  • Lake Champlain Committee offers regular public presentations
  • Otter Creek Audubon offers field trips, winter lecture series, wildlife monitoring and environmental education grants
  • Middlebury Area Land Trust (MALT) offers a lecture series
  • Addison County Regional Planning Commission (ACRPC) offers a lecture series
  • Vergennes Union Elementary School has an outdoor classroom
  • Vergennes Union High School does the Walden Project
  • Conversion to renewable, more sustainable systems
  • Middlebury town has many conserved lands like the Trail Around Middlebury (TAM)
  • Watershed Center’s 200 acres for Indiana Bats
  • Earth Turbine’s solar panel lease program
  • Gleason Grains
  • Starksboro community gardens (and in other communities too)
  • Local CSA’s
  • Ilsley Library book group
  • Interest in growing and preserving food
  • Addison County Transportation Resource (ACTR) offers public transportation
  • Addison County Solid Waste Management District
  • Middlebury Union High School (MUHS) has a diversified occupations program, which includes hawk banding
  • Middlebury Unplugged contests for businesses to reduce energy use
  • Moo Doo is a compost product
  • State of Vermont Thermostat Control Program for government buildings
  • Community College of Vermont has a Go Paperless campaign
  • Vergennes and Mt. Abe high schools merged their football teams
  • Efficiency Vermont
  • Gleaning with Vermont Food Bank
  • Mow Down is a statewide program that allows people to switch out old lawn mowers for electric Newton mowers
  • Current Use tax program
  • Vermont Housing and Conservation Board funds
  • Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) has a solar project and they added hybrid vehicles to their fleet
  • Audubon Vermont
  • Grassland Bird Protection
  • Forest Bird Monitors

Active Citizenship

  • Button Up Vermont workshops
  • Addison County Regional Planning Commission (ACRPC) offers environment-related workshops and speaker series
  • Addison County Relocalization Network (ACORN)
  • Food co-op, local theatre and Farmer’s Diner collaborated to show Food Inc.
  • Middlebury College ES Colloquium
  • Middlebury College student Sunday Night Group
  • Lewis Creek Association
  • Accessibility of Vermont legislature
  • Town Meeting Day
  • Environmental Consortium at Middlebury College
  • Middlebury town offers low carbon diet courses
  • Middlebury Union High School offers AP Environmental Science course
  • At Community College of Vermont all students take a course either in sustainability or other cultures
  • Way To Go campaign
  • No Idling resolution in Middlebury town
  • Otter Creek Audubon
  • Watershed Center
  • Middlebury Area Land Trust
  • Local energy committees
  • Middlebury Area Land Trust (MALT) helping Lincoln with land trust ideas
  • Lake Champlain Committee’s Lake Protection Pledge
  • Farm to Plate initiative
  • Rural Vermont and NOFA engages local farmers to increase their activities in communities
  • Vermont Community Energy Mobilization (VCEM) helps to put energy saving products into homes
  • Local conservation commissions

Participants responded to the question, “In order to get from where we are today to your future vision of environmental literacy, what more needs to happen?” as follows:

Town Centers

  • Increased fuel costs or taxes (1 cent tax like New Jersey)
  • Coordination of environmental literacy programs between Middlebury Union High School, Hannaford Tech Center, Community College of Vermont, etc.
  • Communication about courses at Middlebury College that can be audited
  • The State-Wide Environmental Education Programs (SWEEP) can connect schools and communities around environmental issues
  • Change of zoning to expand town centers and put limits on buildings to encourage energy efficiency
  • Change lot sizes and setbacks to encourage dense population centers

Conservation of Resources

  • Coordination of the large number of education programs possibly in the form of a shared calendar that is county-wide (Elizabeth from the ACRPC said she might be able to do this)
  • Financial incentives
  • Education for all ages
  • On-going weatherization programs for every town
  • “Little Houses” or Katrina Cottages are big enough

Active Citizenship

  • Provide and integrate into community good life-long learning and education opportunities
  • Insure that the steps of critical thinking are embedded in human resources and education curriculum
  •  We need a clearinghouse of unbiased information
  • Create a guide of resource people and contact information to answer the public’s environment and energy related questions
  • Workshops or courses to help people learn to be more media savvy

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