Franklin County Environmental Literacy Public Dialogue
St. Albans Town Educational Center
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
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:
- Everything comes from a starting point of sustainability and reusability.
- The choir is so big that it becomes the congregation.
- Consumption is less. We’re satisfied with less.
- The well being of the soul is the focus.
- From a global perspective, create a comparative value scale.
- We’ve all accepted the responsibility for solid waste.
- Making the “right” choice is more affordable
- We have enlightened leaders, and corporations don’t get to vote as individuals.
- Communities and individuals (fisherman, kayakers, the school janitor, etc.) realize their impact and power.
- Communities understand their connection in the bigger picture.
- People see their common ground before their differences.
- There’s a common repository for data collected in various organizations, and it is accessible and understood by all.
- More implementation – less studies
- Everyone sees themselves as educators.
- There are networks that share best practices.
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:
- Missisquoi River Basin Association (MRBA) – work days to plant trees, connects schools and landowners, etc.; do water sampling; do river clean-up each year; geomorphic assessment; grants to get teacher who teachers kids about insects; public forums; share watershed model with teachers and libraries; cost-share program with farmers to test soil
- Northern Water Partners – advocacy group, is a collaborative effort between Franklin Watershed Association, St. Albans Watershed Association, Friends of Lake Champlain, etc.
- Farmers Watershed Alliance – for decrease in phosphorous, local farmers work with state and with MRBA, farmers are engaged in pilot projects and share knowledge with other farmers
- Richford High School
- St. Albans Educational Center
- Watershed for Every Classroom
- Bellows Free Academy
- Ben and Jerry’s – encourages and supports employees to be community volunteers, also have a full-time person who looks at recycling
- St. Albans Area Watershed Association – have signs that people put out saying that they have a phosphorous-free lawn, also have a walk-a-thon around the lake and a bottle drive to raise money for a weed harvester
- Lake Champlain International – have a blog, forums, Facebook page, Twitter, Flicker; also have “Bobber Bob,” which is a kids’ program
- Maple Festival
- CHRC – recycling in St. Albans, is a private business that goes to businesses and pays them for their recycling, also gets coffee filters from Green Mountain Coffee to farms (can use them for compost)
- McCuin – looking at alternative energy
- Cow Power and Methane Digesters
- Exordium – take teacher to the field trip, generate excitement of kids by going to the places near them
- Hazens Notch Association – camp, winter excursions, work with municipalities on a campership fund
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:
- We could broaden the definition of an educator and encourage the support of people who want to teach.
- We could use the bartering system – get businesses to sponsor a student and then the business gets half off of a program.
- Town budgets could be linked to environmental opportunities within the town.
- Social media could be made more accessible and less overwhelming. There could be better training for social marketing. Teach folks to choose the best tool for their needs. Keep up with technology. There could be peer-to-peer sharing to help folks learn how to use technology and social marketing.
- There could be more open source sharing.
- There could be Conservation Commissions in every town – share success and projects so that others want to start their own.
- Towns could be restructured so work is done together and not in silos.
- Conservation could be considered/required when getting permits for projects.
- School budgets could be linked to create more environmental education, community projects, etc.