Conference Sessions

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    2019 Housing & Conservation Conference
    Building and Sustaining Healthy Communities


    1A. Building Champions in Your Community

    10:45 a.m. - 12:00
    Moderator: Jenna Koloski, Community & Policy Manager, Vermont Council on Rural Development
    Presenters: Tracy Zschau, Vice President, Vermont Land Trust; Sarah Brock, Energy Program Manager, Vital Communities; Joe Kasprzak, Assistant Town Manager, Town of St. Johnsbury
    Format: Roundtable

    Local leaders are key to economic and community progress in Vermont. Across the state, community leaders are advancing projects and initiatives that are boosting economic and community vitality and improving the quality of life in their towns. In this workshop, we will explore how we can cultivate and empower these leaders to succeed. Join us to discuss strategies, tools, and techniques to engage local citizens in community initiatives and cultivate a culture of community service and leadership. Hear success stories of housing and conservation projects that have relied on fostering, cultivating, and encouraging local leadership and engagement.

    2A: Box Lunch Roundtable: Diversity and Inclusion

    12:15 - 1:30 p.m. - FILLED
    Facilitator: Xusana Davis, Executive Director of Racial Equity,
     State of Vermont  

    Join this box lunch discussion to share your thoughts on how we can create an inclusive culture, advance equity, and embrace diversity in Vermont workplaces and communities.

    3A. Measuring What Matters: An Introduction to the Whole Measures Framework

    1:45 - 3:00 p.m.
    Presenters: Ginny McGinn and Mohamad A. Chakaki, The Center for Whole Communities
    Format: Presentation

    What we measure determines what we value, what we pay attention to, and what we do. To help broaden our view of success and how we measure it, and to catalyze stronger collaborative efforts, the Center for Whole Communities developed the WHOLE MEASURES framework. When applied to a social or environmental change initiative, Whole Measures can serve as a foundation for a highly integrated, whole systems approach that effectively embraces a wide variety of values such as: social equity, biodiversity, human rights, ecosystem health, civic engagement, and economic vitality. Learn about the process land conservation and urban development organizations have used to implement Whole Measures in program planning, community engagement, and program evaluation. We hope these examples will spur thinking about what your organization could measure in order to evaluate and broaden the impact of your work.

    4A. Beyond Four Walls & A Roof

    3:15 - 4:30 p.m.
    Moderator: Eileen Peltier, Downstreet Housing & Community Development
    Presenters:  Joshua Davis, Groundworks Collaborative; Margaret Bozik, Champlain Housing Trust; Jan-Roberta Tarjan, Dismas House; Kara Casey, Vermont Network; Donna Olsen, Clara Martin Center

    Format:  Panel discussion

    Community collaborations have resulted in a number of innovations to respond to the housing and service needs of vulnerable Vermonters. Philanthropy, volunteerism, and partnerships with businesses and institutions have supported the creation of housing that targets a variety of housing needs. These partnerships support the organizations that own and manage “four walls and a roof” and those who provide the services and support. This session will be an engaging conversation about our response to serving our most vulnerable citizens with housing, services, and compassion. Strategies that support those experiencing homelessness, domestic violence, mental illness, substance use disorder, transition from corrections, and more will be discussed.


    1B. Leveraging Our Data to Advance Housing and Conservation:
    The Urgency to Build Public Will

    10:45 a.m. - 12:00 noon
    Presenter: Tiffany Manuel, PhD, President and CEO, TheCaseMade

    Format: Workshop

    Data is helping us prove it’s possible to invest in housing and conservation in ways that are cost-effective, improve outcomes for residents, and engage citizens as partners in healthy, thriving communities. But it can be tough to make a compelling case for meaningful systems change and, worse, attempts to increase support for thoughtful investments in this space can backfire. This presentation will explain how to use data to build public support for scaling housing and conservation policies and investments that fundamentally transform our community ecosystems for the better.

    2B.  Field Trip: Restoring Historic Buildings for Housing

    12:15 - 3:00 p.m. - FILLED
    Presenters:  Jeff Kantor, JD Kantor, Inc.; Eileen Peltier & Megan Lovely, Downstreet Housing & Community Development; Samantha Dunn, Housing Vermont; Greg Gossens, Gossens Bachman Architects; Bill Fraser, Montpelier City Manager
    Format: Field Trip with box lunch

    Tour two housing developments created in historic buildings in Montpelier--apartments in the upper stories of the historic French block and above the Senior Center in a fire-damaged building that was donated by the City to the developers. We will also walk up Barre Street in Montpelier and point other affordable housing on our way to the Senior Center apartments. Bonus drive by: Taylor Street -- new affordable housing above a transit center located along the bike path.  

    3B.  Storytelling Approaches

    1:45 - 3:00 p.m. 
    Presenters: Tim Terway, Vermont Center for Geographic Information; Erica Heilman, Rumble Strip; Eve Frankel, The Nature Conservancy in Vermont 
    Format: Workshop

    How can we better illustrate the success of our work, broaden our audience and develop new supporters? Beyond reeling off data points or reporting on programs, stories are powerful tools to showcase our common values, increase understanding of challenges, and convert new supporters to your cause. From interviews, to story maps, to developing a walking tour of a neighborhood or a targeted social media campaign, consider multiple platforms to showcase your organization's accomplishments and increase public awareness of your mission.

    4B. The Art of Working with the Press 

    3:15 - 4:30 p.m. 
    Presenter: Daphne Larkin, Director of Media Relations and Community Affairs, Norwich University
    Format: Workshop

    Learn from a public relations professional how to best present the news you want to share. Whether for on-line, print, television, local, regional, or national use, what will make your press release stand out?  How can you get the most leverage from your efforts? Get some tips for writing a great release, establishing relationships with reporters, recognizing partners, and promoting your news with social media. Organizations are doing excellent work, and in the age of communication in which the internet and social media afford everyone the tools to self-publish and to share their stories, there is a huge opportunity to tell your story your way.


    1C. Reviving Historic Buildings for New Uses

    10:45 a.m. - 12:00 noon
    Presenters:  Carolyn Shapiro, Rise Up Bakery, Jim Haas, artisan baker;
    Karen Lane, Barre Historical Society, Lisa Ryan, Preservation Trust of Vermont 
    Format: Roundtable discussion and tour

    Vermont’s historic resources play a crucial role in community-building, from gathering places to spaces for commerce. Over a 4-year period, the Barre Historical Society has brought a former bakery back to life as a commercial enterprise and teaching center for youth and adults. Tour the Rise Up Bakery and adjacent Old Labor Hall, followed by a roundtable discussion to share strategies and lessons learned from Barre and beyond.

    2C.  Field Trip and Panel Discussion:
    The Future of Vermont Agriculture and Visit to Bear Roots Farm

    12:15 - 3:00 p.m. - FILLED
    Tour hosts:  Karin Bellemare and Jon Wagner 
    Panelists:  Abbie Corse, Corse Farm Dairy; Chuck Ross, UVM Extension; Grace Oedel, NOFA-Vermont; Kevin Channell, Intervale Center; Ela Chapin, VHCB Farm and Forest Viability Program 
    Format: Field Trip and Panel Discussion with box lunch  

    Join this farm tour and conversation to learn more about the trends, changes and challenges facing Vermont’s farmers, particularly regarding land use and production and new and existing statewide resources and tools needed to support the next generation of Vermont agriculture. A recent report by  VHCB and UVM Extension, A 2018 Exploration of the Future of Vermont Agriculture, analyzed the variety of factors affecting trends in Vermont agriculture–particularly market forces combined with a generational shift in assets–that are threatening Vermont’s economy, community, and culture. New approaches must be identified, evaluated, and implemented, in addition to continuing investment in existing high-impact approaches such as land conservation easements and technical assistance. We’ll start with a panel discussion, followed by a tour of Bear Roots Farm. Karin Bellemare and Jon Wagner grow organic vegetables in South Barre and Williamstown that are distributed through CSA shares, their brand-new farm store in Middlesex, and to restaurants and farmers markets. 

    4C. Building Regional Identity & Developing Community

    3:15 - 4:30 p.m. 
    Presenters:  Maura Adams, Northern Forest Center); Michael Sacca, Alliance for Vermont Communities; Beth Roy, Vital Communities
    Format: Panel

    Collaborations among organizations and municipalities working in the same geographical area, watershed, or county have enabled sharing of resources, cross promotion, development of new programming, and more. Is there opportunity for your organization to develop or strengthen relationships with other groups in your region that could lead to new initiatives and prove mutually beneficial? Developing regional bike paths, task forces, town forests, trails, joint housing efforts, and transportation networks can all bring citizens together, address community needs, and attract visitors as well as new residents who will contribute to the regional economy.   



    1D. Bringing Community Involvement to Your Doorstep

    10:45 a.m. - 12:00 noon
    Format:  Panel
    Presenter/s: Mike Rama, Director of Advancement, Downstreet Housing & Community Development;  Kristen Sharpless, Executive Director, Stowe Land Trust; Patrick Shattuck, Executive Director, RuralEdge

    Are you interested in more fully integrating community engagement in your mission work? Curious about the tools and strategies that may help your organization become a more integral part of the communities you serve? Join us for a healthy discussion and exploration of organizing techniques that involve constituents and community partners to build trust and long-term success. This workshop is ideal for leadership, board members, community engagers, fundraisers, and communicators.

    2D. Box Lunch Roundtable Discussion:
    The Next Generation of the Housing & Conservation Movement

    12:15 - 1:30 p.m. - FILLED
    Format:  Roundtable Discussion
    Facilitator: Kerrie Lohr, Lamoille Housing Partnership

    An opportunity for new and/or younger staff to engage in an open dialogue on leadership development and career advancement in the movement and Vermont. Further, the group will explore the role mentors play in fostering emerging leaders. 

    3D. Let's Talk Gender: Responding to Everyday Sexism

    1:45 - 3:00 p.m. 
    Presenter: Jessica Nordhaus and Lindsey Lathrop
    Format: Workshop

    Using Change The Story’s Conversation Cards, we will explore the gender stories we all grew up with and those we tell ourselves (and others!) now. We will dive into the stealthy subtleties of implicit biases, highlighting how they perpetuate gender stereotypes and contribute not only to gender gaps in pay and advancement, but also how they play out in the workplace every day. Whether you experience a sexist act or comment as a recipient or an observer, it can be tough to know what to say in the moment. This hands-on workshop is a way to begin a constructive conversation about what is and what isn’t appropriate at your workplace, how to create ready responses for those sticky situations, and how your organization can foster an inclusive, empathic and welcoming culture.

    4D. Navigating Leadership Change

    3:15 - 4:30 p.m.
    Presenters:  Elizabeth Bridgewater, Windham & Windsor Housing Trust & Michael Debonis, Green Mountain Club
    Format: Roundtable

    As many long-time directors and senior staff reach retirement age are we adequately mentoring and providing professional development opportunities to empower staff to take on these roles? Hear from Elizabeth Bridgewater, Executive Director of Windham & Windsor Housing Trust and Michael DeBonis, Executive Director of the Green Mountain Club about their journeys into the Executive Director position. They will touch on the aspects of the transition that went well and will also reflect on the challenges.


     1E. Resilient and Connected Landscapes

    10:45 a.m. - 12:00 noon
    Presenter: Mark Anderson, Director of Conservation Science for The Nature Conservancy’s Eastern U.S. Region
    Facilitator: Heather Furman, State Director, The Nature Conservancy in Vermont
    Format: Workshop

    Land conservation is an essential strategy for conserving diversity and maintaining nature’s services under climate change. A protected network of climate resilient sites and linkages will help sustain the diversity of plants and animals in the US while storing carbon and helping to facilitate nature’s adaptation. The Nature Conservancy has developed a conservation planning tool for climate adaption: Resilient and Connected Landscapes. Lead Scientist Mark Anderson will explain the scientific underpinnings of this analysis and how it can be used at multiple scales to set priorities, inform strategies, and integrate landscape and project-level conservation work within a much broader narrative around climate resilience.

    2E.  Box Lunch Tour of Vermont Salumi 

    12:15 - 1:30 p.m. - FILLED
    Presenter: Pete Colman, Vermont Salumi
    Format: Tour
    Location: 159 North Main St. (storefront)

    Proprietor Pete Colman will give a tour of his business: Vermont Salumi. Pete trained in Italy, learning to make authentic cured meats from artisans. His products include various sausages, salami, and prosciutto. He has recently relocated to downtown Barre, creating a new production facility in a vacant storefront on Main Street. Pete is excited to share his enthusiasm for this new location as he embeds his business in the community.

    3E. Adapting to and Mitigating Climate Change in the Ag and Forestry Sectors  

    1:45 - 3:00 p.m. 
    Presenters: Josh Faulkner, UVM Extension Farming & Climate Change Coordinator; Nancy Patch, Franklin-Grand Isle County Forester, 
    Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation
    Format: Presentation, then Q&A

    What are the drivers of climate change in Vermont? How can our land use choices minimize our impact on climate change? Learn about current examples of climate adaptation and mitigation in Vermont, and existing and potential programs that compensate landowners for ecosystem services. Among the strategies to be discussed are carbon offsets, farm retirements, wetlands restoration, and floodplain conservation. 

    4E. Mitigating Climate Change: Embodied Carbon in Building Design

    3:15 - 4:30 p.m. 
    Presenters: Alan Organschi, Gray Organschi Architecture, Timber City & Yale School of Architecture; Jacob Racusin, New Frameworks
    Format: Presentation then Q &A

    What are embodied energy and emissions and why are they critically important topics as we seek to transition to a sustainable built environment? How do the choices we make today in building design and materials specification affect climate change? Explore the flow of carbon, “king of the elements,” through the building life cycle in an integrated model that links sustainably managed forest resources to urban construction and a carbon-sequestering cityscape of the future. 



    1F. Recent Case Studies in Conservation Stewardship

    10:45 a.m. - 12:00 noon
    Presenter:  Leslie Ratley-Beach, Land Trust Alliance Conservation Defense Director
    Format:  Presentation/Roundtable

    Join this presentation led by  Leslie Ratley-Beach, Conservation Defense Director for the Land Trust Alliance, to learn about recent case studies resolving conservation easement violations. Leslie will present four case studies on recent legal decisions, including one preserve trespass case. The session will conclude with time for questions and answers.

    2F.  Field Trip: Barre Town Forest:
    A Collaboration for Community Benefit

    12:15 - 3:00 p.m. - FILLED
    Presenters: Kate Wanner, Trust for Public Land; Caitlin Cusack, Vermont Land Trust; Carl Rodgers, Town Manager; Elaine Wang, Assistant Town Manager; Kevin Spaulding, Millstone Trails Association; Dave Rouleau, Barre Recreation Committee & Thunder Chickens Snowmobile Club
    Format: Field Trip and Panel Discussion with box lunch

    On a walking tour, hike a loop trail at the Barre Town Forest and hear from various partners how 355 acres of privately owned and municipal forest land was protected as a town forest, securing public access to miles of trails. The abandoned granite quarries on Millstone Hill date from 1790 but they have been idle for more than one hundred years. The Millstone Trails Association  maintains more than 70 miles of trails that have been named among the top 10 trail systems in New England. Learn from collaborators how the new town forest was created and the multiple public uses now enjoyed there--including a disc golf course that has brought a new demographic to the Barre Town Forest.

    3F. Stewardship Roundtable for Small Conservation Land Trusts

    1:45 - 3:00 p.m. 
    Facilitator: Mark Martin, VHCB Director of Conservation Stewardship
    Format: Roundtable 

    What are the issues that are coming up as we steward the resources we have protected? In this session, participants will share different stewardship challenges and conflicts, hoping to find common strategies and solutions. Bring your questions!

    4F.  The Story of Our Roots: The Founding of
    the Vermont Housing & Conservation Coalition

    3:15 - 4:30 p.m.
    Presenters: Bob Klein, retired founding Director, The Nature Conservancy in Vermont; Brenda Torpy, President and CEO, Champlain Housing Trust; and Gus Seelig, VHCB Executive Director 
    Format: Workshop

    Establish an understanding of the conservation and affordable housing movements and their shared impact in Vermont. Engage in a dialogue with founders and long-term directors to understand the history of our collective work and to shape strategies towards collective impact.