November 2018 E-News: Updates from VNRC

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November 2018 E-News 

Tomorrow is Election Day. Don’t forget to vote, if you haven’t already!Find your polling location and hours here:

Catch up below with VNRC’s latest news, and learn about opportunities to help us protect Vermont’s environment and communities.


  • Don’t Let Our Kids Down! — If you haven’t yet, check out our video about how climate change is affecting Vermont’s future (and winters), and why we need to take action now. (Hint: The video features some adorable young Vermonters.)
  • Register for the VECAN Conference — VECAN’s 11th Annual Community Energy & Climate Action Conference will be held on Saturday, December 1. Register here.
  • Now Available: Act 250 Community Input Report — This year, Act 47 established the Commission on Act 250: The Next 50 Years, and provided ways for Vermonters to weigh in on the future of this landmark legislation, which included an online survey. See the results of community input here.
  • VNRC’s Night Out at Zero Gravity — Join VNRC for an evening of brews, bites, and post-election conversation at Zero Gravity on 11/15, with special guest Becca Balint, Vermont State Senate Majority Leader. Click to RSVP.



  • VNRC Awards Small Grant to Danville, VT — The Danville Village to Village Steering Committee used its $1,500 VNRC Small Grant for Smart Growth to support community engagement activities around revitalizing the 1871 Historic Danville Railroad Station. Read more about the project and find out how to apply for a Small Grant here — we’re accepting applications!
  • New, Energy-Efficient Neighbors — We recently attended the grand reopening of the newly-renovated Winooski River Apartments in Montpelier, which just happen to be located across the street from VNRC’s offices. We’re impressed with what Downstreet Housing & Community Development has accomplished, offering 15 attractive, safe, energy efficient units of housing to low- and middle-income earning families, including 2 ADA accessible units.
  • Living Planet Report — Our friends at the World Wildlife Foundation released their 2018 Living Planet Report, which comes with horrifying news: we’ve experienced a 60% decline in wildlife populations in just over 40 years, “a grim reminder and perhaps the ultimate indicator of the pressure we exert on the planet.”


  • Welcome, Chris Robinson and Adam Weschler! — Chris and Adam came aboard this fall as our interns, working on the Smart Growth Report Card (a joint project with AARP Vermont) with our Sustainable Communities Program.

    Chris is a senior at the University of Vermont, where he’s studying Community and International Development. He brings an interest in land use, design, settlement patterns, and economic development to this work. Adam graduated from UVM in May of 2018 with a degree in Environmental Studies, with a minor in Green Building and Community Design, and also works as a research assistant at UVM. Both interns have done a great job diving right into the nitty gritty of understanding state budgets, and we’re incredibly lucky to have them!

Find more detail on select topics below. As always, we welcome your feedback and support.


Brian Shupe
Executive Director, VNRC

What Future Are We Leaving Our Kids?
Our future is threatened by climate change — and so are Vermont’s winters. Morse Farm in Montpelier announced it would no longer offer cross-country ski touring this year for the first time in nearly two decades, writing that “climate change has not been our friend.” In a new video, we ask kids how they’d feel if there wasn’t any more snow, or if they could no longer enjoy their favorite winter activities. And we urge viewers to ask their lawmakers: #WhatsYourPlan on climate? 
We hope you’ll view, like, and share the video.

VECAN’s 11th Annual Community Energy & Climate Action Conference

Join VECAN partners, town energy committee leaders, clean energy businesses, policy makers, and concerned Vermonters for another action-oriented day geared towards meeting our 90-by-2050 total renewable energy goal!

This year’s conference theme is Mobilizing Leadership to Make Bold Progress. Keynote speakers are author and activistBill McKibben and Michael Shank of the Carbon Neutral Cities Coalition and Urban Sustainability Directors Network.

Workshops will range from helping low-income earners access clean energy solutions to the latest in transportation innovation. We’ll also outline where we stand on climate and clean energy in the state – and explore big and small opportunities to make needed progress. The conference will take place on Saturday, December 1 at the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, VT. Learn more and register here.

The Act 250 Commission: What’s Next?

The Commission on Act 250: The Next 50 Years, established by Act 47 to comprehensively examine how Act 250’s criteria and processes can better serve Vermont for the next 50 years, hired a consulting firm to conduct six outreach meetings across the state from June through September. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend and share their input on their wants and needs for the future of Act 250! The results of the Commission’s public outreach are now available in a draft report, which you can view here

As an advisor to the Commission (a role established by the legislature), VNRC remains engaged as the Commission works to meet its December 15threport deadline. Our Executive Director Brian Shupe addressed the Commission last month, speaking to the effectiveness of Act 250 in promoting compact growth and reviewing the right type and scale of development (hint: it’s not very effective in either, so we see room for improvement).

We will continue to update you as this work concludes. And we’ll be releasing our own position soon, so stay tuned!

VNRC’s Night Out at Zero Gravity Brewery in Burlington

Join VNRC on Thursday, November 15 for an evening of brews, bites, and post-election conversation. Special Guest Becca Balint, Vermont State Senate Majority Leader, will discuss the many challenges facing Vermont’s environment and how your involvement and support could help. Hosted by VNRC Board members Kesha Ram, Scott Johnstone, Chad Farrell, and Darren Springer.

The event will be held at Zero Gravity Craft Brewery in Burlington from 5:30-8pm. We hope to see you there! RSVP to our Facebook event or by emailing Colin Keegan at, ideally by Nov. 12.