December 2020 E-News: Updates from VNRC

December E-Newsletter from VNRC

Winter is almost here, but don’t fear! Read on for lots of great opportunities to learn about and connect with like-minded Vermonters about issues affecting our environment, our communities, and our neighbors.

Thanks for your interest in VNRC and our work. We wish you a safe, fulfilling holiday season. 

Giving season is here

 It’s Giving Tuesday — Join a global movement of giving by supporting VNRC and other organizations that make a difference in your community. 

— Benefit Bake tonight! — Here’s another way to support our work: VNRC will receive a portion of proceeds from every flatbread sold at American Flatbread in Burlington tonight between 4-9pm. Order online here for safe pick-up.

Upcoming events

 Register now for the VECAN conference (Dec. 5-11) — VECAN’s Community Energy and Climate Action Conference, now in its 13th year, celebrates the role that community energy leaders play in Vermont’s clean energy transformation. We’re going virtual this year, starting Saturday. Register here.

 Support the naming of Susanna Toby Brook (Dec. 8) — Attend a public hearing in favor of renaming of Negro Brook, Vermont’s last remaining formally identified race-based place name, to instead commemorate a Black woman who lived in Vermont in the 19th century. Learn more here about Toby and her legacy and here about how to plug into the meeting.

— 2020 Annual FEMC Conference (Dec 17-18) — The Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative will hold its annual conference online. This year’s theme is “Revealing a Changing Forested Landscape.” Register here.

VNRC news

  Climate Council holds first meeting — The Climate Council has been tasked with developing a plan to meet emissions reductions mandated by the Global Warming Solutions Act. The group met for the first time on November 20. Learn more about the Council here.

— Small Grants for Smart Growth make impact across Vermont — Check out our new map of grantees here to see the towns we’ve reached so far. Our latest grant will support the Town of Rockingham in its revitalization of buildings in downtown Bellows Falls.

— Visualize Vermont Art Contest winners — Over the summer we asked Vermont youth to submit artwork depicting what they love about Vermont. Find the winners and all submissions here. Thank you to the wonderful young artists who participated!

— Coming soon: Sustainable Transportation Vermont’s new home — VNRC will serve as the new home for the highly regarded STVT blog. Stay tuned for launch! In the meantime, enjoy some past entries from the STVT archives.

— Thank you, Patagonia Burlington! — All proceeds from the October drive-in premiere of Public Trust, a film about threatened public lands, were donated to VNRC. We thank Patagonia Burlington for their continued partnership. You can watch the film here.


— We’re Hiring a Legislative Intern — This position is for someone who wants to learn about the legislative process and monitor issues related to climate change, land use and Act 250, clean water, forests and wildlife. Learn more and apply here.

— Board openings at AVCC — The Association of Vermont Conservation Commissions (AVCC) seeks volunteer board members to engage with conservation commissions across Vermont, helping them access the resources they need. Please email your interest to

Find more details below…

Giving Season is Here!

Today is Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving. Many of you received our 2020 year-end brochure in the mail, which kicks off our annual year-end fundraising. You can also give to VNRC online, here. Your continuing support is invaluable to our work!

In this year’s mailer we were excited to feature the work of Vermont youth who participated in our Visualize Vermont Art Contest over the summer. Find the “virtual museum” of the winners and all submissions here. (At left, find a painting on Northfield slate by Kendall Ladieu, 15, of Swanton.)

Also, give the gift of food: Did you know that 1 in 4 Vermonters will face food insecurity as the pandemic continues? Your local food pantry (locate it here) could really use your help this season, or support the Vermont Foodbank, which coordinates relief statewide.

Register Today: VECAN Conference begins Dec. 5

The VECAN Community Energy and Climate Action Conference centers and celebrates the role that community energy leaders play in Vermont’s clean energy transformation.

This year’s virtual, multi-day event will begin by framing up the current state of energy and climate action with a post-election analysis and an overview of timely, potentially transformative opportunities, including the recently enacted Vermont Global Warming Solutions Act.

Learn more about the agenda and register here. We hope you’ll join us for this week of solutions-based conversations!

We know that high-speed internet is not always available to many Vermonters. If that applies to you, check out this list of public wireless internet locations around the state. Be sure to sign in to the conference from a place with high-speed internet access.

Climate Council: What’s Next?

Johanna Miller, VNRC’s Energy and Climate Program Director, is among the appointees to the Climate Council, a group tasked with developing a plan to meet the emissions reductions mandated by the Global Warming Solutions Act. 

The Council held its first meeting on November 20. Check out this helpful resource that outlines key dates for the Climate Council process, the sequence of work, the structure of subcommittees, and more.

And plug into VNRC’s page on the Council, where we’ll be updating you on how you can get involved!

Naming Susanna Toby Brook

Attend a public hearing on December 8 in favor of renaming of Negro Brook!

Negro Brook, which flows down Bald Mountain in Townshend State Forest northwest of Brattleboro, is a vestige of race-based place-naming conventions that were pervasive until the civil rights era, explains Seven Days.

That’s why advocates from the Restorative Remapping Project are proposing a new name: Susanna Toby Brook, to commemorate a 19th Century Black resident of Townshend who lived to be 104. Toby’s husband, James Huzzy, fought at the Battles of Bunker Hill and Lexington during the Revolutionary War, serving as a proxy for his enslaver in exchange for his freedom. 

Watch this video recorded by Dr. Elise Guyette for more historical background about Toby and her family’s legacy. If the renaming effort is successful, Susanna Toby will become the first Black woman to have a place named after her in the State of Vermont. 

The organizers need your voice at the public to help move this important effort over the finish line! Click here to learn how to plug into the Dec. 8 Zoom meeting.

Small Grants Make Impact Across Vermont

VNRC’s Small Grants for Smart Growth provide seed money for community-based initiatives related to smart growth, encompassing advocacy for better land use; advancing transportation choice; supporting housing choice and affordability; promoting downtown or village revitalization; promoting conservation of natural resources; and more.

Since 2018, we have granted 12 awards across Vermont, most recently to the Town of Rockingham for the revitalization of buildings in downtown Bellows Falls. Check out the map to see where we’ve given grants so far (click through the image to the website, where you can find a larger version of the map).

Interested in applying for a Small Grant for Smart Growth? Learn more here.

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