Caledonia County Meeting Minutes

Caledonia County Environmental Literacy Public Dialogue

The Fairbanks Museum

Wednesday, April 14, 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:

Public Institutions

  • VT utilities are tied to a new Smart Grid
  • Comprehensive carbon, energy, water and waste measurement become central to secondary school curricula
  • School system-wide all day outdoor education (or even spur of the moment opportunities to learn outside)
  • Move towards zero waste/compost – healthy food – compost
  • More recycle in the school and community
  • All town planning is done to reduce energy consumption, retain open space and create more walk-able communities

Private Sector

  • Creating new products from material not being recycled from local businesses, reduce waste.
  • Ag and food awareness within the local community
  • Community energy with solar and wind group net metering on most buildings

Individuals

  • Every kid knows how to play outdoors.
  • Civicly engaged community that sees waste as a resource
  • Lawn care – individual quiet mowers – no fossil fuel consumption!  Fire the landscapers!
  • Have Reduce, Reuse, Recycle be the norm.
  • Most people would walk in the woods around them.
  • Composting is as common as any other form of recycling.
  • Awareness of impact on environment of everyday practice
  • Community energy with solar and wind group net metering on most buildings

Associations

  • Religious institutions disseminate “green” knowledge

 

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:

Public Institutions

  • Danville school composts cafeteria waste (advised by Highfields Institute with Marty’s Store)
  • Waterford school has a nature trail
  • Northeast Kingdom Waste Management – 21 out of 35 schools compost
  • Waterford Springs (community) started community gardens in power line row
  • Barnet, Waterford, Danville, Lyndonville and most communities have free recycling
  • Danville started Conservation Commission and town hired Smart Growth Vermont for help with zoning
  • Northern Vermont Regional Hospital hosts Smart Growth conference
  • Hospital has trail
  • Fairbanks Museum
  • Police Department – license your animal for free day
  • Sidewalks – St. J is great!
  • School gardens and community some food used in schools – St. J, Lyndon Inst. (starting), Waterford, Hardwick
  • FEED Program (HES) in school
  • Town Forest in St. J and Parks and Recreation Committee
  • Colleges have Master Composter and Gardening programs including Community College of Vermont and Lyndon State
  • Northeast Kingdom Waste Management compost/recycling facility
  • St. J town fire department hosts household hazardous waste days
  • First Night – walk, carpool, it’s central
  • St. J town plan will include an energy plan
  • Farm to School program at St. J Town School (Lynn W.)
  • Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP) in schools
  • Agency of Natural Resources’ Fish and Wildlife office in St. J serves as a public resource
  • St. J school garden club/tree planting
  • Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Farm to Family
  • Good Shepherd kindergarten/school
  • St. J Academy – ropes course, retrofit lights, LEED Gold, composting, local food, Earth Week

Private Sector

  • Filtrexx – water management/ag systems, school garden/composting programs
  • Ag farms – meat, vegetables, organic and local, CSA’s, etc.
  • Casella Recycling in St. J, pick up service and recycling
  • Artists – Dog Mountain
  • Vermont Soy
  • Vermont Natural Coatings in Hardwick
  • St. J Food Co-op
  • Highfields Center for composting – statewide
  • Elements – local foods restaurant, buys at farmers’ market, demos
  • Freight House Restaurant in Lyndonville – grow, sell and serve organic beef
  • Kingdom Trails – biking and cross country skiing
  • Nursing homes – bird feeders
  • Burke – worms
  • Farmers
  • Eric Paris – compost/commercial
  • Wool Away
  • Artisans Guild
  • Passumpsic Savings Bank
  • Weidmann
  • Claire’s
  • Kham’s
  • High Mowing Seeds
  • Rabbit Hill Inn serves local food
  • North Country Federal Credit Union – small and low, local interest loans
  • Sustainable wood chip plant – Ryegate and Bethlehem, NH; one coming to Berlin, NH
  • Marty’s Store composts (Danville)
  • Precision Composites of Vermont – reducing waste in fiberglass manufacturing
  • Washington Electric – landfill methane
  • Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) – Cow Power

Individuals

  • Annie Berger – environmental education for kids
  • Heather Burt and Heather Root – composting at Waterford School
  • Scout Leaders – Sharon Patoine, Marci Bostic, Joe Fox
  • Nicole Begin and Chris Buhner – environmental week
  • Mike Bugbee and Ralph Mold – “green” building
  • Tim Tierny – Kingdom Trails
  • Earth Walk – Angela Gibbons
  • Four Winds volunteers in schools
  • Two leader of Northeast Kingdom Waste Management District – Paul Tomasi and ?
  • People who hold town office
  • Green Up Day organizers and volunteers
  • Amphibian monitors and crossing helpers
  • Farmers’ market organizers
  • Hardwick Trails volunteers
  • Members of Lyndon Outing Club
  • Weather reporters who call in to Fairbanks
  • Joe Fox – Cub Scouts and EE – “is” the Rec. Department, recycling
  • Eric Paris (Lyndon) – teaches composting
  • Danville Wind Turbine
  • Wood chip heat – Hazen Union, North Country High School
  • Wind turbines – high concentration in Hardwick area
  • Mattsinger’s property – off grid, open for Fairbanks Museum programs
  • Birding excursions hosted by Tom Berriman of Audubon
  • Bill Amos – Caledonia Record, Tuesday’s paper
  • Henry Hovmeyer – organic gardening
  • Wurtzburg farm and woods used for school field trips

Associations

  • Fairbank’s community of observers (phenology database)
  • Master Gardeners at Farmers’ Market, composting efforts
  • St. J “Seed and Weed” – natives and invasives
  • University of Vermont (UVM) Osher Lifelong Learning and library – eat local, civic engagement, education
  • Northeast Kingdom Audubon organization – youth birding, camp scholarships
  • St. J Farmers’ Markets – Elizabeth Everts
  • Town Forest – trails, invasives
  • St. J Rec. Department
  • St. J Food Co-op – snack program
  • NEKCA – seed program
  • Northwoods Stewardship Center
  • Siskin Ecological Adventures
  • Farm to School
  • Highfields Institute
  • Kingdom Trails
  • Northeast Kingdom Waste Management District – waste presentations
  • Vermont Land Trust
  • Northern Rivers Land Trust
  • Passumpsic Valley Land Trust
  • Center for Whole Communities
  • Center for Ag Economy
  • Vermont Coverts
  • Northern Woodlands
  • Vermont Center for Ecostudies
  • Transition Town movement
  • Vermont Energy Education Program
  • Conference:  Liberal Faiths and Social Justice, May 22-23, U.U. Church, St. J
  • Energy Committees – Hardwick (multi-town)
  • Danville Congregational Church composts
  • P.A.C.E. – Hardwick, Glover?, Barton?
  • Green Mountain Farm to School – Kathy Simms?
  • Passumpsic Naturalists – one/month at Lyndon State
  • Kingdom Animal Shelter – adoptions, spay/neuter

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:

Public Institutions

  • Town officials could be environmental leaders.
  • Job descriptions and contracts could include sustainability/environmental responsibilities.
  • Cost effectiveness and the environment could be considered in the bidding process for government contracts.
  • Town officials could be better trained.
  • Institutional food services could be trained in using local food and in composting.
  • Outdoor education could be part of the school day.
  • All schools could have green play areas.
  • Juvenile justice could be linked to trails and outdoor work and food production.
  • Loggers could be trained in sustainable forestry.

Private Sector

  • Could use the most education – help them get to a real respect for the environment and rationalize their business
  • Business could look at the BIG picture and not just making money, since economics is about the need to grow always and increase their footprint.
  • Businesses could/should connect with nonprofits.
  • Businesses could form or connect with other businesses in the area to support a sustainable footprint (environment).
  • How to educate them?  They could start from within:  their employees and then their affect on the community.
  • Talk to town and school leaders and find the one person with passion and motivation to make a difference.
  • There could be retreats for the private sector.  They could sit in a wood lot!

Individuals

  • No Child Left Inside idea could be used at school.  Phys Ed. Class could go outside.  Parents through Four Winds could go outside.
  • St. Johnsbury Academy student volunteers could lead outdoor activities (outdoor reading) with younger kids.
  • St. Johnsbury Academy Capstone Project could be harnessed to get the community outside and to make people more environmentally aware.
  • Community/parent support of outdoor/environmental opportunities could be organized in schools/communities.
  • Speakers Bureau could be available for speaking to community groups/schools about environmental issues.  The Rec. Department or Lyndon State could host/organize.
  • Children could take on some chores or responsibilities for themselves.
  • Children could learn to play outside at school, not play video games, etc.

Associations

  • There could be a shared calendar.
  • There could be scout programs for big kids/adults.

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