New Initiatives, Ongoing Projects in 2016

We at Sustainable Woodstock are looking forward to an active and productive year. With new energy and ideas among our board members, we will continue working to improve the long-term resilience of our community. We invite you to get involved!

Two new initiatives are taking shape. Our new transportation action group will take on the challenge of developing more flexible and energy efficient transportation options in our rural area. The group will try to find ways to lower total carbon emissions from vehicle use and make transportation easier for people with limited ability to drive. We are collaborating with Vital Communities to prepare a survey that we will distribute among area residents to gain a better understanding of transportation patterns and unmet needs.

Vital Communities has devised creative programs to improve transportation options in the Upper Valley and to “reduce reliance on driving alone” (see vitalcommunities.org/transportation for details). The forthcoming survey is a first step–watch for it.

A second new action group will examine our local food system and find ways to support home gardeners, farmers, and food producers. The group may introduce educational programs on organic methods and permaculture, and will encourage more residents to join the wonderful community gardens that have already been thriving for several years. Look for additional information on this year’s gardens in the next few weeks.

At the same time, our already established projects will continue:

The East End action group has been making exciting progress recently toward the revitalization of this long-neglected portion of prime village land. The group has been convening landowners and reaching out to possible developers to formulate a coordinated plan. We received one of the first grants from the Economic Development Commission’s new fund to facilitate the preparation of an East End Developer Package. The principal goal of the project is to create the documentation necessary to attract appropriate development to long underutilized East End properties. The RFP is available on the Town website or by contacting eastend@sustainablewoodstock.org.

Meanwhile, the riverside park at the East End is closer to completion, and we believe this is the year when the snow dump will at last be permanently relocated. That will enable the community to turn the park into an inviting recreational resource that everyone can enjoy.

The Woodstock Energy Group is busy as ever. With the leadership of Sustainable Woodstock’s outreach staff person, Zach Ralph, they are conducting a second Solarize campaign this spring. The goal is to help many more homeowners install solar panels for long-term energy and cost savings. There will be an informational meeting on Tuesday, March 1 at Norman Williams Library at 7 p.m. Come and find out how easy the process can be.

Recently, the Energy Group hosted Linda McGinnis of the statewide Energy Action Network to explain EAN’s new energy “dashboard”—an online tool that will help communities monitor their progress toward reducing fossil fuel use and carbon emissions. Folks from energy committees in nearby towns also attended.

Sustainable Woodstock’s recycling work also continues. We are planning an event, just in time for Earth Day, on April 23, for collecting unwanted electronics and other nonroutine recyclable items, including paper documents for shredding. Local businesses or individuals who collect items that often go into the trash or recycling (like bubble wrap or wine corks) are encouraged to let us know and we will be glad to collect them for you at this special event.

To stay informed about these and other projects, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, or check out our Facebook page and website regularly.And contact us to find out how you can be part of one of our action groups and help make a meaningful, long-lasting contribution to the health and vitality of our community.

You can reach us at 457-2911 or by emailing our Executive Director Sally Miller at sally@sustainablewoodstock.org.

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