Zero Never Looked So Good

By Elle O’Casey

Union Arena is making progress toward becoming the nation’s first net-zero hockey rink.

This week, I sat down to talk with Harold Mayhew, a local architect who owns Bear Mountain Design AC, LTD in Barnard and the president of the Union Arena Board of Directors. Harold and the Union Arena the board are part of a team of local community leaders helping turn Union Arena into the first net zero hockey rink in North America. He and his team recently received a $109,000 sustainability incentive from Efficiency Vermont and a sustainability award from Sustainable Woodstock.

How did the idea for a net zero hockey rink in Woodstock begin? (more…)


By Elle O’Casey

For decades, the US Conference of Mayors has been meeting annual to discuss some of the most pressing issues of the day and plan for the future. The Conference was born out of a crisis. During the Great Depression, mayors across the country banded together and went to Congress asking for federal assistance. Congress responded by sending $300 million in federal aid to cities. This action contributed to the formation of the Conference of Mayors and their charter was written the same week as the inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Today, the Conference still focuses on addressing solutions to pressing crises. (more…)

Green is the New Red

By Elle O’Casey

Just as wind and sunlight cannot be constrained by geographical or political boundaries, the green energy movement transcends partisan and state lines. The adoption of clean energy has taken off across the country and many state and local leaders are stepping up as the progenitors of the movement.

There has been a growing trend of solar and wind power expanding rapidly in traditionally ‘red’ states. According to CNN, “96% of the 46,000 turbines recorded by the FAA in wind farms nationally are located in red counties or in red precincts within blue counties.” Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Oklahoma are leading the nation in wind power (NYTimes). (more…)

Gardening Event Sows Seeds of Knowledge for Community Members

By Elle O’Casey

It was a lovely evening in the garden a few weeks ago. After months of cold, dreary weather, the sun finally showed up June 7 as a group of community gardeners gathered next to their plots at the Billings Community Garden to learn more about growing their own food and flowers from Master Gardener Bea Cole. As part of Bea’s Master Gardener certification, she offers educational talks throughout the year, sharing her wealth of gardening knowledge.

Sustainable Woodstock held the workshop at Billings Community Garden and it was open to anyone interested in getting some gardening tips from a local expert. Sponsoring this event, Sustainable Woodstock is holding summer events like this to help support communities interested in developing and sustaining local food systems. (more…)