Sustainable Woodstock Plans New Endeavors in 2018

By Ron Miller

As we head into the new year, keep reading this column—and watch your mailbox—for news about Sustainable Woodstock’s newest initiatives. In 2018 we plan to work with more folks

Bill Keeton leads a discussion about managing forests for carbon sequestration, a program sponsored by Marsh Billing Rockefeller National Historical Park and Sustainable Woodstock (photo credit: Zach Ralph)

Bill Keeton leads a discussion about managing forests for carbon sequestration, a program sponsored by Marsh Billing Rockefeller National Historical Park and Sustainable Woodstock (photo credit: Zach Ralph)

across our region than ever before!
Within the next couple weeks, we will be sending a postcard to everyone in the five towns we serve, inviting you to participate in our sustainability survey. We want to learn how important it is to you to save energy, to practice recycling and composting, to support local farmers and businesses…and how we can help in all these areas. Please help us improve our efforts by responding when you get the card.

To further discover and address your concerns, we will be working with other organizations and town officials to launch a community visioning process. It has been more than twelve years since Woodstock participated in the Vermont Council on Rural Development program that brings people together to identify community needs and aspirations, and nine years since the “Our Green Villages” gathering took some of the ideas generated at that time and turned them into a citizens’ sustainability group. We think it’s time to bring people together again to talk about what we want for our community in the coming years.

Another new project on our agenda is the Five-Town Sustainability Initiative. Our outreach coordinator, Zach Ralph, is contacting residents and officials in Reading, Bridgewater, Barnard and Pomfret as well as Woodstock to find out how we can bring our programs to more residents in our region. Could there be more community gardens? Better recycling and composting systems? More transportation options? Energy savings in town buildings? We’ll find out.

On the topic of transportation, board member Juan Florin has been conducting an extensive study of rural transportation possibilities. He’s investigating ride-sharing options and working with the Thompson Senior Center to come up with a comprehensive plan. Please contact Sustainable Woodstock if you’d like to help with this promising endeavor.

In 2018, we also expect to see further progress on the riverside park project as well as plans for commercial and residential development in the East End. We will also follow up on Woodstock’s commitment to the national 100% Clean Energy Cities program by pursuing upgrades to town facilities that could save thousands of dollars in energy costs at Town Hall and other places.

As you can see, it’s going to be a busy and exciting year for Sustainable Woodstock! We invite you to join our efforts: Volunteer for one of our action groups or find out about serving on our board. At the very least, participate in our survey, coming your way very soon.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the volunteers and board members who have contributed their time and effort during the past year, and to recognize the amazing dedication of our staff, outreach coordinator Zach Ralph and Executive Director Sally Miller. Together, we have had a productive year:

We have helped homeowners save on energy costs and cut carbon emissions through weatherization, giving special attention to those with limited resources. We helped launch a citizen action group to identify and clean up pollution sources on Kedron Brook and developed an educational program for forested land owners to help them manage in ways that sequester (lock in) more carbon rather than releasing it into the atmosphere. We continued to develop East End projects, manage community gardens, help residents and businesses with composting and recycling, and we again sponsored community-building events such as Trek to Taste and Bookstock.

Yes, it’s been a good year. 2018 could be even better…Join us!

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