Orleans Meeting Minutes

Orleans County Environmental Literacy Public Dialogue

Newport State Building

Wednesday, April 7, 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:

  • No trash (litter)
  • Sharing of resources among community members (wood splitter, canoes, bikes, etc.)
  • A lot of walking, buses, few cars
  • Seeing people outside playing, etc.
  • School kids are out of the classroom working with members of the community.
  • More incentives for renewable energy – community owned photo voltaic and solar voltaic energy
  • Community gardens
  • Multi-age energy education events
  • Collaboration of non-profits working on similar goals and longer range visioning
  • Kids and everyone feel whole.
  • Tolerance
  • Basic needs are met – safety, self-esteem, etc.
  • Root causes are addressed.
  • Schools are measured by how well they produce citizens and critical thinkers (not based on standardized tests).
  • 80% of food is local and people are connected to farms and welcome to visit them.  Farmers’ markets sell food.
  • Greater connection between businesses, communities and schools
  • Steady state economy, economy of scale
  • Bartering is alive and well.
  • State bank that handles taxes and pension funds, loans money to Vermonters and there’s no interest that leaves the state
  • 10% obesity rate
  • Volunteerism is the norm – not just in crisis situations – barn raising model
  • Zero waste
  • Ecosystems have full complement of organisms again – healthy and intact ecosystems
  • Community transfers values to newcomers – welcoming communities
  • Jobs pay for housing
  • Folks who own second homes are connected to and engaged in the community.

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:

  • Coventry landfill generates energy from methane – Washington Energy Co-op offers tours, education, etc.
  • Cabot School, especially 8th grade (but the whole school), Peter Stratman – school owns canoes, PFD’s etc. that the community can check out (just one example), industrial arts teacher does great stuff
  • Coventry School – Irene Degasse, alternative education and environmental education
  • Hazen – energy efficiency, work with Efficiency Vermont, students got school to replace all lights, replace water heater, got federal grant to do solar, Mark Considine
  • Montgomery’s Café – local foods
  • Jay Peak – local food in cafeteria, support Farm to School, recycling for condos, etc.  Bill Stenger
  • Science teacher at North Country – Chris Shafer
  • Transition Towns – prepare for life beyond peak oil, plan for survival when energy supply changes, Hardwick Area Transition Towns (HATT), Caledonia Transition Towns
  • Sustainable Living and Agricultural Fair – Done by HATT, Hardwick Energy Action Resource Team (HEART) and Center for an Ag Economy – local farming, cooking demos, environmental groups, etc.
  • Bug Works – Missisquoi River Basin Association (MRBA) person, John Little, takes kids on river and shows them what bugs should be there
  • MRBA works with WHIP to plant trees, stabilize banks, etc.
  • Hazen’s Notch Association – summer camps, school groups, etc.
  • North Woods Stewardship Center – employ kids to do conservation service work
  • Green Mountain Farm to School
  • Siskin Ecological Adventures – citizen science, environmental education, team building, adventure education, etc.
  • Bournes Energy – hybrid trucks
  • Lowell’s wind project
  • Northeast Kingdom Waste Management District – sponsors environmental education, outreach with schools, set up composting, works with Green Mountain Farm to School
  • Wildlife Habitat Improvement Project (WHIP) – similar to current use
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in St. Johnsbury promotes pasturing, rotational grazing, composting, etc.
  • Center for an Ag Economy
  • Community Supported Restaurants (CSR’s) – Claire’s in Hardwick
  • Wild and Scenic Study Committee working to get Upper Missisquoi River and Trout River the Wild and Scenic Designation – will get federal money each year to do restoration, was started by MRBA but is now different
  • Newport Renaissance Project – economic development, is making sure that folks do “green” things, Trish Sears
  • Ann Brown at Lyndon State coordinates AmeriCorps, very helpful
  • Cross country ski trails – MSTA
  • Memphremagog Watershed Association (MWA) works with Memphremagog Conservation Inc. (Canadian organization)
  • Katherine Sims – Farm to School
  • Northeast Kingdom Collaborative
  • Amy Robinson from Newport writes grants, works for organization that helps small businesses get grants, she has an office at Northeast Kingdom Community Action (NEKCA)
  • Kingdom Trails – Tim Tierney

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:

  • Smaller organizations could work together to accomplish bigger tasks – bring strings together, create less insulated towns.
  • Northeastern Vermont Development Association (NVDA) could look at agriculture and energy (not just tourism) and focus on them too.
  • An umbrella organization could have enough money to share with similar organizations so they work together (ex. Bring together Siskin, Hazen’s Notch, etc.).
  • Environmental literacy could be made personally relevant to a broader audience.
  • Local folks could be brought together to talk about what they care about (fisherman, fur bearers, turkey hunters, etc.).
  • Environmental organizations could go talk to existing groups like the Kiwanis, Rotary, etc.
  • We could do more things and educate people about doing things that support the local economy.
  • Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) could borrow bond money and loan it out to people/businesses in the district to make homes/businesses more energy efficient.  Local contractors need to get certified.
  • There could be a shared biodiesel bus that can be borrowed by schools and organizations to use for field trips, etc.
  • Amy Robinson could write grants for organizations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *