March 2020 E-News: Updates from VNRC

March 2020 E-Newsletter from VNRC

Policy updates

— It’s Town Meeting Day: Don’t forget to vote! – Here, find an issue guide and list of questions you can ask your legislators.

— Act 250 modernization bill passes in House – On Friday, the Vermont House of Representatives passed a bill, H.926, that strengthens environmental protections in Vermont’s land use law. Read more below.

 Global Warming Solutions Act passes in Vermont House – One of our key policy priorities passed the House, 105-37. But the work is far from done! Read more.

— TCI has broad support – The chance to submit a comment on the proposed Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) ended on February 28, and a strong 91 percent of comments support the initiative. Tell Governor Scott that you do, too! (Consult our talking points and sample letter for inspiration.)

— Send a postcard to propel climate solutions – Send a free postcard to your legislators and Governor Scott sharing your support for local renewable energy. Renewable Energy Vermont (REV), which organized this initiative, especially needs postcards from Addison County. Click here to get started.

 Act against NEPA rollbacks – The Trump administration has proposed sweeping rollbacks to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations, which would eliminate long-standing protections for people and wildlife. Stay plugged in with action alerts from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).

In other news

— Backyard Habitats – Is your garden, schoolyard, work landscape, or roadside green space friendly to local widlife and pollinators? If so, make it a Certified Wildlife Habitat®! Fill out the application and you’ll receive a certification from VNRC in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). Find out how.

— Amphibian season is fast approaching – The Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas needs documentation of certain species that might be in your neighborhood. Find out which and consider supporting this cool resource as spring gets closer.

— Thank you, Switchback! – In February, VNRC was the recipient of Switchback Gives Back, when the Burlington brewery donates a portion of Thursday proceeds to a Vermont nonprofit. We appreciate those who came out to have a beer on behalf of VNRC!

Coming to a screen near you…

We’re thrilled to announce an incredible line-up of films we’re showing this spring across Vermont about our environment and the people who steward it.

So far, there will be screenings in Waitsfield, Montpelier, and Bennington. Read more below and stay up to date at

More events & opportunities

— Talk: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Environmental Institutions – Celebrated thinker and educator Dr. Dorceta Taylor is coming to UVM on Wednesday, March 25 at 5pm. The event is free and open to the public. Learn more here.

— Award: 2020 Arthur Gibb Nominations – Nominations are now open for VNRC’s annual Arthur Gibb Award for Individual Leadership, which honors people working on the challenge of integrating growth and conservation. Last year’s awardee was Governor Madeleine Kunin. Click here for the application and a list of past awardees.

— Award: Honoring James W. Marvin – The James W. Marvin Award in Science and Conservation is offered annually to a Vermont-based young professional in the early stages of their career or a post secondary or high-school student, to be used for projects in botany, maple science, and conservation. Applications are due on April 10; learn more here.

— GrantAVCC’s 2020 Tiny Grants – Are you a conservation commission in need of some funding for a local project? Check out the Tiny Grants program from the Association of Vermont Conservation Commissions (AVCC). Applications are due April 10. Here’s more info. (Plus, find AVCC’s 2019 Annual Report here.)

— Survey: Women & Vermont’s forests – VT Coverts: Woodlands for Wildlife is looking for feedback from women who own and/or love Vermont’s woodlands. The organization is building a women’s network around managing and learning about our forests. The survey link is here. Reach out to Lisa Sausville ( with any questions.

Learn more about select topics below!

Act 250 bill moving forward in Vermont Legislature

Last week the Vermont House of Representatives passed H.926, an Act 250 modernization bill, 88 to 52 with tri-partisan support. This legislation strengthens Act 250 environmental protections and equips Vermont’s land use law to better serve current and future generations.

H.926 adds criteria to Act 250 to better protect forest blocks, wildlife habitat, and river corridors. It promotes efforts to foster sustainable trail development. It supports smart growth by reducing sprawling development while facilitating development in our compact downtowns, villages, and neighborhoods.

The bill also better addresses climate change — an issue that was not in the public consciousness when Act 250 was enacted in 1970 — through consideration of transportation and energy impacts of development.

Read our full statement here about the bill. We’ll need your help to make sure this bill continues moving succesffully through the Legislature!


Global Warming Solutions Act

Vermont lawmakers took an important vote to address the climate crisis by passing the Global Warming Solutions Act in the House of Representatives on February 21. By a margin of 105-37, and with the support of Democrats, Republicans, Independents and Progressives, this critical bill now moves on to the Senate.

The Global Warming Solutions Act transforms our existing emission reduction goals into requirements. It requires climate solutions that reduce energy burdens for rural and marginalized communities, build rural resilience, and promote the use of natural and working lands to capture and store carbon.

Our work is far from over. We now must ensure that the bill gets a strong vote in the Senate and secures the support of as many legislators as possible to avoid the veto pen of Gov. Phil Scott. Learn more here about how you can help!

Upcoming VNRC film screenings

We’ll keep you posted with exact details and film offerings. Here’s a snapshot of what to expect:

VNRC Presents the Wild & Scenic Film Festival w/ Patagonia Burlington
May 1: Big Picture Theater (Waitsfield)

Film Night @ Onion River Outdoors
April 2: Onion River Outdoors (Montpelier)

Bennington Film Night
April 17: Bennington College (Bennington)

Motherload: A crowd-sourced documentary exploring a global movement of people who use cargo bikes instead of cars.

March 21: Savoy Theater (Montpelier)
May 9: Savoy Theater (Montpelier)

Stay tuned at

Submit your nomination for the 2020 Arthur Gibb Award for Individual Leadership

The Arthur Gibb Award for Individual Leadership is presented annually to a Vermont resident who has made a lasting contribution to their community, region, or state in advancing smart growth policies.

Do you know someone who fits this description? Nominate them today!

Find more information and an application at Applications are due on March 27.

Turn your backyard into a Certified Wildlife Habitat!

Through a partnership with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), VNRC hopes to empower Vermonters to turn their backyards (or school gardens or office landscapes) into thriving habitats for birds, butterflies and other wildlife.

Tell us how your yard or garden meets five criteria necessary for wildlife: food, water, cover, places for wildlife to raise young, and wildlife-friendly landscaping practices. If it’s eligible, VNRC and the National Wildlife Federation will recognize it as a Certified Wildlife Habitat®.

Find out here how to get certified!

Switchback Gives Back

In February, VNRC was the recipient of Switchback Gives Back, when the Burlington brewery donates a portion of Thursday proceeds to a Vermont nonprofit. We appreciate those who came out to have a beer on behalf of VNRC.

Thank you, Switchback, for your generosity!


VNRC Events Calendar

Make sure you’re not missing any events! View our public events calendar at Thanks for staying in the loop.

Support Us!


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