By Jenevra Wetmore
Narrated by Oscar Nominee Willem Dafoe and with music by the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Radiohead, River spans six continents.
Vermonters witnessed the devastating power of rivers in July 2023 as they crested their banks and flooded homes and businesses. A total of 4,087 residential units and 839 businesses in Vermont reported damage, according to self-reported data. Of the residences damaged, 18% were no longer habitable and a total of 314 people reported to the state that they needed shelter– all in the midst of an ongoing housing crisis. Sustainable Woodstock experienced firsthand the impact of floods on our community, particularly at Riverside Mobile Home Park, where we recently completed flood recovery efforts. We also experienced severe bank erosion at our Billings Community Garden, where we grow food for the Woodstock Community Food Shelf and Upper Valley Haven.
This month’s Climate Change & Sustainability Film Series screening is especially poignant now, in the wake of this season of endless rain and flooding. We will be screening the visually breathtaking film River– an exploration of the timeless relationship between human civilization and Earth’s rivers. We are thrilled to partner with Pentangle Arts and the Ottauquechee Natural Resources Conservation District (ONRCD) to screen this film live and in-person at the Woodstock Town Hall Theatre at 6:00 PM on February 15th, and invite you to join us for this immersive experience on the big screen. We will briefly present on the impacts of this summer’s flooding, and flood relief Sustainable Woodstock and ONRCD have done before the film begins. You can register to attend the live screening here. This is a free event. Donations are welcome and go to support our local arts community.
As we move into 2024, we at Sustainable Woodstock are excited to begin using WISPr Funding to address the health of waters here in Woodstock. The WISPr Program (Water Infrastructure Sponsorship Program) will provide $227,014 in funding to cover the cost of implementing natural resource projects throughout the town and village of Woodstock. We applied for these funds on behalf of the Town and have worked with the State of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources to develop a list of water restoration and protection projects to work on.
Our first WISPr project will focus on stabilizing the bank along Barnard Brook near Billings Farm, in partnership with the Woodstock Resort Corporation and Billings Farm. Our Billings Community Garden is threatened by Barnard Brook as the bank quickly erodes, encroaching on the garden and depositing sediment and nutrients into the brook– this erosion progressed by several feet in the July floods. We have procured a grant of $11,714 from the VT Agency of Natural Resources, which was used to complete the 30% design for the Community Garden Bank Restoration Project. Planning is now underway to complete the 100% design and implement the project with WISPr funds. We are very excited to begin this process to mitigate damage that dates back to Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.
This summer will be a season of change, as we work to implement water quality efforts and relocate sections of our Billings Community Garden, all while continuing to grow fresh produce for our local community. We hope you will join us for this year’s events, starting with the live screening of River.
You can register to attend the live screening at https://sustainablewoodstock.eventive.org/schedule/6579e358546bb400899b7484