Washington County Environmental Literacy Public Dialogue
Thatcher Brook Primary School
Monday, March 15, 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:
- “Systems” make living light easy.
- Flexible work locations (work from home)
- Economic benefits for renewable energy
- Environmental education is incorporated/integrated in school curriculum (systemic) and is not an add-on.
- ALL public buildings must be renewable educational centers.
- Businesses receive benefits for educating about renewables.
- Trees and shrubs growing along lakeshores
- Local foods are easy to come by and common
- There is a connection between our actions and the effects on climate change.
- We willingly pay for necessary environmental services.
- We turn off the lights.
- Grow new ideas and nurture what works.
- Public transportation would be available and convenient.
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:
- Mad River Solid Waste was changed to Mad River Resource Management, which sends the important message about stewardship – it shouldn’t be looked at as waste.
- Trail to Every Classroom recruits teachers to include the Appalachian Trail in their classroom. It’s happening in Woodstock, VT.
- Biomass Curriculum at Vermont Technical College and Randolph Center grade school (also Fayston)
- Vermont Technical College’s Center for Sustainable Practice (weatherization skills) – Phil Petty and Joan Richmond Hall
- Outdoor Classroom at Union Elementary School in Montpelier
- Statehouse inviting localvore folks into the cafeteria
- Agency of Natural Resources (ANR)
- Agency of Transportation – animal migration, aquatic organizations and culverts
- VTrans – RideShare, commuter parking lots
- Building and General Services – recycling in state offices, building thermal renovations, etc.
- University of Vermont’s (UVM) formula hybrid
- University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Natural Resources
- Green Mountain National Forest
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife
- Go Vermont – commuter program/van pool program
- Safe Routes to School – Federal money for kids to bike/walk to school
- Way to Go Week – annual event for folks to try out alternative transportation
- The Link Express
- Park and Ride programs
- Union Institute and University – progressive education for adults, environmental studies
- Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) – Tom Hark
- University of Vermont’s University Transportation Research Center – sustainable transportation
- Clean Cities Program – promotes alternative fuel vehicles at UVM
- State fleet car system and hybrids
- National Life and NRG Systems are given incentives to showcase/educate visitors/users about their conservation efforts.
- Mountain School has curriculum about the Long Trail.
- Methane digesters for renewable energy (Avatar Energy)
- Ben and Jerry’s environmental packaging
- Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS)
- Green Mountain Power
- Green Mountain Coffee Roasters – carpooling, solar collectors, reducing energy footprint, compostable cups and lids, working on K-cups, “major force in the world”
- Localvore Restaurants – Claire’s in Hardwick
- Black River Produce
- Abbey Group – working with organizations to offer local foods and to connect with local farmers
- Gardener’s Supply
- Seventh Generation
- Green Hotels in the Green Mountain State
- Governor’s Awards (Smuggs, NE Woodwork, Green Mountain Power)
- Vermont Business Environmental Partnership (VBEP)
- National Life commuter program
- Concept 2
- High Mowing Seeds
- Local CSA’s
- Craftsbury Outdoor Center
- Shelburne Farms
- High Fields Composter
- Moretown recovers methane from the landfill to produce energy (2,500 homes)
- Bob Walker in Thetford – Sustainable Energy Resource Group (SERG), emails, writes and is engaged in communities
- Robin Gannon is a teacher in East Montpelier who is doing/including environmental education.
- Susan Barnard is a physical education teacher who does snow shoeing.
- Laurie Thygesen is a physical education teacher who takes kids outside.
- Chip Darmstadt does teen naturalist programs at North Branch Nature Center (NBNC)
- Joseph Kiefer does FoodWorks
- George Gay – National Wildlife Federation, Northern Forest Alliance, Vermont Wildlife Partnership Coalition
- Anson Tebbetts
- Bryan Pfeiffer
- Tom Stearns – High Mowing Seeds, Hardwick
- Jens Hilke – Connect Vermont (wildlife habitat), Vermont Biodiversity program/project
- Brian Slopey – U32 teacher (air and water)
- Nancy Bell – Land Trust (Shrewsbury)
- Judy Geer – Concept 2/Craftsbury Outdoor Center
- Pete Johnson – Hardwick, Center for Ag. Economy
- Lisa Ransom and Scott Bothman (unsure of spelling) – grow compost in Moretown, diversion of stuff from landfill
- John Malter – Rotary, Farmers’ Market, Resource Management Alliance, facilitator to different entities
- Nicole D’Agata – Waterbury Farmers’ Market Manager, growing and nurturing market
- Doug Weber
- Gregor Barnum – “Carbon Shredders” making carbon footprint tangible with workbook encouraging individuals and towns to reduce carbon footprint
- The E Team – youth developing environmental education program at ECHO
- Earth Day at Rumney School – 1 child got it started
- Duncan McDougal – Waterbury LEAP, meeting of energy planning groups at Crosset Brook
- EarthWalk (Goddard College)
- Vermont Energy Conservation Action Network (VECAN)
- Northern Rivers Land Trust (Albany, Craftsbury, Woodbury, Greensboro)
- Association of Vermont Recyclers (AVR)
- Youth Environmental Summit (YES)
- Connect Vermont – NGO’s and Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife working to protect wildlife conductivity – corridors with partners and communities
- Town Conservation Commissions
- Four Winds Nature Institute
- HEART – energy committee in Hardwick
- Vermont Off-highway Vehicle Recreation Association (VORA) – won the “Vermont Trails and Greenways Trail Project of the Year Award,” different user groups partner to improve water quality, land use and land stewardship, sharing a resource in a responsible manner
- Waterbury Rotary Club – “Hunt for Sunzilla” in conjunction with Arbor Day – Hand out 40,000 sunflower seeds to kids and the community; tallest, heaviest, etc. are judged; sunflower seed spitting contest, etc.
- Waterbury Farmers’ Market – food council has gotten involved
- Green Mountain Club teacher workshop focusing on Long Trail curriculum (environmental education on the Long Trail)
- Similar program at Shelburne Farms – Forest in Every Classroom?
- Green Mountain Club partnering with Audubon to provide education programs
- ReSource – green energy training programs
- Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) – youth sustainable building skills
- Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
- Efficiency Vermont
- Central Vermont Community Action Council (CVCAC) weatherization
- Local Agricultural Community Exchange (LACE) in Barre, Arielle Zevon; restaurant, boutique, grocery, craft makers, community kitchen
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 could be better informed about their choices – We can’t regulate everything. We can educate and motivate.
- Energy could be taxed – allow market forces to help change behavior.
- Bike lanes could be a part of new roads and people could want to pay for them!
- Work/play/home could be in close proximity – Smart Growth.
- We could look at places with density and find corridors that connect these places. Livable communities
- We could integrate school transportation with public transportation.
- People could be incentivized to do things.
- State government could shift priorities and become the change, then fund priorities (comparative risk), share knowledge and skills (Transition Towns)
- Measure environmental literacy of all Vermonters.
- Thatcher Brook Primary School could use Green Mountain Coffee Roaster’s conservation measures as a lesson/data. Local schools could take field trips to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.
- There could be financial incentives for companies to initiate measures to reduce their footprints. For examples, there could be an incentive to lease lower mileage vehicles (make them the best deal).
- Private companies could provide educational opportunities for the public or associations (labor training, job shadowing, etc.).
Dialogue participants chose not to address individuals for this question.
- Neighboring Conservation Commissions could hold meetings, projects and events together.
- Associations could partner with public schools on a regular basis. The model of connecting content specialist with schools/teachers could be expanded.
- Rotary clubs could provide community service opportunities for schools and classes.
- The “Green Up” model could be emulated in other areas (ie. waterways).