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

Orange County Meeting Minutes

Orange County Environmental Literacy Public Dialogue

Vermont Technical College

Thursday, March 11, 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:

  • People are more aware of interrelationships and balance.
  • We stay away from simplistic answers.
  • People process questions as a community.
  • Balance is considered that includes both human and natural resources.
  • We do long term planning/have longer visions.
  • Civil discussion is the norm.
  • The environmentally appropriate choices are doable.
  • Resource sharing is the norm.
  • Individual responsibility is the norm.
  • Environmentally appropriate choices save money/are affordable.
  • It is harder to throw away than to recycle.
  • The process of making choices is more obvious.
  • There are fewer buildings for places of business/more telecommuting.

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:

  • Dartmouth-Hitchcock has a resource person (John Leigh).
  • Hartford, NH landfill is great at policing recycling.
  • One of the Randolph schools is working on a project where they map local groundwater.
  • Peter Allison leads Farm to School (Sharon and Hartland Elementary Schools).
  • Randolph Farmers’ Market
  • The Sharon Academy (TSA) does Energy and the Environment.
  • TSA does place-based education.
  • TSA has “No idling” signs.
  • Randolph Fish and Wildlife sponsors kids to go to conservation camp.
  • Fish and Game offers hunter education.
  • Tunbridge World’s Fair – celebrates and honors existing culture, 4H, canning exhibits, hold technology, etc.
  • In Randolph there are still some old wooden water troughs to gather water.
  • VT Castings wood stoves – some have catalytic combusters.
  • People are connected to their history.
  • Sharon rest area on I-89 has water treatment education.
  • Vermont Law School
  • Vermont Technical College – student environmental group, Senator Sanders is getting a grant for biomass project, there’s a wood pellet making experiment
  • Neighborly Farms farm store – is a co-op

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:

  • Solar to wind to hydrogen to fuel cell education center at Vermont Technical College – could get donations, Senators could be involved, NRG and Grow Solar could be involved, the land owner near I-89 could be involved
  • Folks who do project coordination for a living could work on environmental projects.
  • Fish and Game could do green initiatives – wind power, etc.
  • An energy company could work with the hospital (Dartmouth-Hitchcock) to get car plug-in stations installed.
  • State fairs could provide more education – educate people beforehand about who they can connect with, offer more workshops, offer discussion forums, etc.
  • Instead of turning our backs on one another, we could offer more support, training and mentoring.  This is true in terms of new people moving into the state (invite them in), as well as people who could be doing a better job at work, etc.
  • There could be other opportunities in terms of green tourism – logging, farms, other natural resources, canning, etc.
  • People could cheer each other on and offer more moral support.

Franklin Meeting Minutes

Franklin County Environmental Literacy Public Dialogue

St. Albans Town Educational Center

Tuesday, March 30, 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:

  • 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.

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.