A Letter From The SWEEP Co-Chair
We hope this time of seasonal transition finds you productively engaged in work that you love. SWEEP has had a busy winter building organizational elements that will blossom in the coming months. In November, we hired a coordinator, Bethany Powers, who juggles multiple responsibilities with warmth and acuity. Her efforts are helping SWEEP to build a solid infrastructure for our next chapter. And that chapter will be enacted through our new 501(c)3 status, shepherded through dizzying bureaucratic hoops by our trusty and determined treasurer, Rob Anderegg. With its statewide scope, SWEEP will use its new tax-exempt role to raise money and leverage resources to advance the work of its members through collaboration.
We'll tell you more about SWEEP's recent doings at our
upcoming Spring Gathering on Wednesday, April 5 from 5 to 8 pm at Vermont Audubon.
Please join us to network with your colleagues from around the state, share a meal provided by our board, and participate in our annual vote of board members. We'll hear
Stories from the Field
, a popular feature of membership gatherings that gives us a glimpse into selected environmental education programs. And we'll unveil our revised SWEEP bylaws, carefully reworked by Rob Anderegg, Ali Thomas, and Jamie Montague, and ask for a vote of the membership to ratify them. The evening will culminate with a special session called
Multisolving for Climate Change
, presented by Coleen O'Connell, SWEEP board member and faculty of Lesley College. Please plan to join us - we'd love to see a big showing of our membership for this important meeting.
On a regional level, change is afoot for NEEEA (
New England Environmental Education Alliance
). Adrian Ayson is stepping down as NEEEA's Executive Director and the Board is gearing up to evaluate how NEEEA can stay resilient as an all-volunteer organization. NEEEA is asking each state to respond to the question, "What do you want and need from NEEEA as an organization?" Because NEEEA is in evaluation mode, it will not host a fall conference. Any thoughts about and participation in this process are welcomed:
Please stay tuned for upcoming information on a fall 2017 professional development event for SWEEP members and friends called
The Work that Reconnects
, presented by Coleen O'Connell. This session will offer you a meaningful way to interact with professionals in the field and find inspiration for your work ahead.
With gratitude for all you do for our shared Earth,
Co-Chair of the SWEEP Board
Spring Community Gathering
We have a lot to share at our upcoming gathering and are hoping you can join us!
In addition to our usual networking, business updates, and delicious meal provided by the SWEEP board, our evening will culminate with a special session "Multisolving for Climate Change," with Coleen O'Connell, SWEEP board member and faculty of Lesley College.
5:00 - 5:45 Beaver Pond hike and Networking (optional)
5:45 - 6:00 Grab Dinner
6:00 - 6:30 Stories From the Field
6:30 - 7:00 SWEEP Business Discussion: New Members and Revised By-laws
- The SWEEP by-laws govern how we, as an organization, operate. They were last reviewed in 2010, but the Board has been working on them again to bring them up to date.
- View the SWEEP By-laws Draft with major changes summarized.
- View the SWEEP By-laws Before and After Document that breaks down the updates for easier reading.
- We will ask for a vote of the membership to ratify this revision so please review in advance.
7:00 - 7:05 Break
7:05 - 8:00 Featured Session: Multisolving for Climate Change
Multisolving (v.): Searching for systemic solutions that protect the climate while improving health, equity and well-being.
This emerging concept from
gives us a framework for working holistically to address issues while solving for climate change at the same time. You will leave this workshop with a framework for designing projects that multisolve or evaluating to improve a project you already are doing.
8:00 Meeting Adjourned
Please plan to join us - we'd love to see a big showing of our membership for this important meeting.
Vermont SWEEP Membership
(Vermont State-Wide Environmental Education Programs) is a nonprofit coalition of individuals and organizations whose mission is to promote a resilient future by fostering exceptional environmental education through our state and regional networks.
SWEEP envisions a society that strives for environmental resilience for the well-being of humans and global ecosystems.
SWEEP members include environmental organizations, teachers & schools, outdoor educators, museums, farm & forest centers, nature centers, youth leaders, parents, and many others.
Organizations - $50 (includes three free individual memberships)
Individuals - $20
Students/interns - $15
In addition to the SWEEP newsletter and membership meetings, SWEEP members get a discount on registration to SWEEP-sponsored conferences.
You can download the
2017 Membership Form
here to pay with a check and send to: VT SWEEP, 20 Damon Rd., Hartland, VT 05048. Or you can
to pay with a credit card.
Please contact SWEEP Membership Coordinator and Treasurer, Rob Anderegg (
) with questions.
Vermont SWEEP Gains 501(c)(3) Status
In January, Vermont SWEEP was granted tax-exempt status by the US Internal Revenue Service. This means that the IRS recognizes SWEEP as a charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code.
There are several reasons we sought this designation. Now, individuals and companies who make donations to SWEEP may take a tax deduction for those donations. (If you've been waiting to make a large donation to SWEEP, now your wait is over!) Prior to this, SWEEP needed to have another organization act as our "fiscal agent" to receive tax-free donations.
We are also exempt from paying sales or excise taxes when we buy goods or services. In addition, there are certain grants that we will now be eligible to apply to receive that are only available to tax-exempt organizations.
The 501(c)(3) status also restricts the amount of political activity we can engage in. As an organization, we are not allowed to lobby for particular legislation or to campaign for or against any political candidate.
New Program Alert: Cody Outdoor Classroom
Cody Outdoor Classroom
is a new progressive STEM and environmental science program that aligns with Next Generation Science Standards. We currently offer both classroom and residential programs to New England students. Classroom programs are available for 2nd - 8th graders and feature inquiry-based curriculum spanning engineering and science (life, physical, and earth and space). Residential programs are available for 4th-8th graders at our superb campus on the shores of Lake Ossipee in Freedom, NH. In addition to STEM and environmental science programs, we also offer team building and ropes course programs.
Visit our website
for more information or join us for our
upcoming open house
on May 19 - 21, 2017, which is available to elementary and middle school teachers, administrators, and PTA presidents and their families.
Introducing Landowner Guides For a Successful Timber Harvest
Do you work with landowners who could use help exploring their woods, learning about what they have, and planning the management of their land? If so, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) has some new tools you could use when you talk with landowners. FPR just published a new series of brochures to help landowners explore their woods, and have the confidence to make great decisions on how to manage their property. These brochures give landowners knowledge and guidance in digestible, pocket-sized booklets that are also downloadable on-line:
- The Overview brochure includes tips on how to plan harvest goals and outlines the five major steps of a successful timber harvest.
- The Wildlife brochure outlines the characteristics of woods that make them home to wildlife and suggests ways to maintain a complex forest structure that supports wildlife habitat.
- The Water brochure reviews the importance of the many types of water features that may be on a property, including large lakes, wetlands, vernal pools and springs.
- The Economics brochure examines the many ways to measure timber, explores the dollar value timber receives, and lists the elements of a good contract.
- Working with Foresters & Loggers discusses which professionals are involved in a timber harvest, advises on how to communicate well with these professionals, and outlines who does what in a timber harvest.
These guides are for the landowner who, someday, may consider harvesting forest products from his or her land. Wisely planned harvests, while providing can help forests thrive while maintaining and even enhancing wildlife habitat, supporting forest health, and encouraging opportunities for outdoor recreation. Whatever the objectives, these guides promote education and communication between foresters, loggers and landowners to promote forests that thrive after harvest. Visit
to view the brochures, and download the series. Or contact Joanna Garton (
) for paper copies of the brochures.
Autumn Professional Development: Northern Woodlands Conference
October 20 - 22, 2017
The Hulbert Outdoor Center,
SWEEP Special: SWEEP members receive 15% off registration for this event! Use special offer code SWEEPMEMBER at check-out.
Enjoy a fun, informal weekend with the Northern Woodlands crew at the Hulbert Outdoor Center on Lake Morey, while engaging with writers, scientists, artists and educators. Writing workshops, natural history presentations, woods walks and more!
Plenary Speakers Include:
- David George Haskell, professor at the University of the South and author of The Songs of Trees (2017) and The Forest Unseen (2012), winner of multiple book awards and finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction
- Thomas D. Seeley, Horace White Professor of Biology, Cornell University and author of Honeybee Democracy and Following the Wild Bees
- Julie Zickefoose, artist, writer and naturalist, author of Letters from Eden, The Bluebird Effect, and Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest
Sponsored by The Bailey Charitable Foundation and The Trust for Public Land, this event celebrates the natural history of our region and the interactions of people and place.
Professional development hours available. Enrollment limited.
Questions? Contact conference coordinator Emily Rowe:
Click here to learn more.
Call for Workshop Leaders for the Winooski Valley Park District's Annual Conservation Field Day!
Each May the
Winooski Valley Park District
, based at the Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington, hosts between 250-300 fifth grade students from schools in our member communities to participate in a fun filled day of hands-on environmental and conservation education learning at our annual Conservation Field Day event. This year's
Conservation Field Day
is scheduled for
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
, and is held at the Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington.
In order to make this event possible, we ask professionals from across the state to volunteer their time to lead engaging, hands-on workshops on a variety of conservation and environmental education themed topics. We ask that workshops be geared to the 5th grade level and be as hands-on as possible.
As a volunteer workshop leader, you will lead five twenty-minute workshops of the same or similar activity throughout the morning to five different groups of students from local schools. Each group will have between 10-15 students accompanied by at least one chaperone.
If you are available to lead a workshop at this year's Conservation Field Day, or would like to learn more about participation in the event, please contact Programs Director, Lauren Chicote at
or (802) 863-5744. I am happy to discuss and help plan workshop ideas if needed!
To learn more about the Winooski Valley Park District visit our website at
Summer Job Openings with the Winooski Valley Park District!
The Winooski Valley Park District (WVPD) is a 501(c)3 non-profit and incorporated Vermont municipality whose mission is to plan, acquire, and manage lands and waters within the boundaries of its member municipalities in the Winooski River Valley for purposes of conservation, preservation of natural areas, establishment of parks, and resource-based education and recreation. The WVPD manages 18 parks and natural areas in the member communities of Burlington, Colchester, Essex, Jericho, South Burlington, Williston and Winooski. To learn more about the WVPD please visit our website at
The WVPD currently has several employment opportunities for the summer season available:
AmeriCorps Environmental Educator & Camp Coordinator
The Winooski Valley Park District seeks a motivated individual to serve as Camp Coordinator & Environmental Educator for the
Sustainable Outdoor Leadership Education - S.O.L.E. Camp
. This position is part of the
Vermont Housing & Conservation Board AmeriCorps
(VHCB AmeriCorps) Program. Full time position for May through August 2017, with the potential to extend service term. Visit
for more information and to download the full position description.
To apply visit:
For questions about this position, contact: Lauren Chicote, Programs Director, (802) 863-5744,
April 21, 2017
Hildene Announces Summer Youth Corps Program
will soon select six 7th, 8th or 9th graders to be the first members of the new Hildene Youth Corps. Students involved will engage in a variety of activities in an ecologically dynamic environment. Over the course of three weeks they will also share the common goal of constructing a handicapped accessible observation deck at the edge of the bob-o-link sanctuary at Hildene's Dene Farm. Construction will take place under the tutelage of experienced builder and restorer, Peter Palmer, and two Youth Corps staff members.
The tuition for the program that runs from July 10 to July 28, 8:45 to 3:00 five days a week, is $500.00. At the end of the three weeks, those who have successfully carried their portion of the team's workload receive a check for $140. The work of the Youth Corps embodies the Hildene mission of Values into Action.
Application for the Hildene Youth Corps are available at
and must be submitted by
Saturday, April 15
. Prior to acceptance, a meeting with the candidate and his or her parents is required. If a student has a strong desire to participate, but finds the cost to be an obstacle, parents are encouraged to call President Bongartz at 802.362.3996. Some scholarship money may be available.
To learn more about Hildene programs go to
, call Stephanie at 802.367.7960, or
find us on Facebook
Vermont Learning for the Future: A Collaboration for Educational Transformation
Over the last year and a half a growing cohort of educators, administrators, and community stakeholders have been coming together to build a vision for an education system that serves all students, our communities and the planet. Through this work, participants have built important professional relationships, shared best practices, and made tangible progress towards our goals. There are vast challenges that we must face today and in our future, but if we come together, the opportunities are even greater.
What is VTLFF?
Vermont Learning for the Future
(VTLFF) is an emergent collaboration between stakeholders across Vermont's educational landscape united by a common sense of urgency to address the escalating social and environmental challenges of our time. The VTLFF network is working to leverage systemic change through our educational system, confronting these difficult realities by creating conditions that promote a more just, sustainable and joyful future.
What is the goal?
By 2022, Vermont will have a model learning system where no less than 80% of youth are engaged in equitable, reciprocal learning relationships that help them become resilient global citizens committed to developing their individual capabilities and partnerships in order to create a socially and economically just and sustainable society.
Who is involved?
VTLFF member-participants include more than 150 teachers and administrators in schools across the state, school board members, Agency of Education staff, charitable foundations, business and social profit ELO providers. The project is supported by the Bay and Paul Foundations and the Argosy Foundation in partnership with Shelburne Farms and Synergy Learning International.
How can I learn more?
Curious educators or stakeholders can learn more by contacting Ben Freeman, VTLFF Network Coordinator, at
. A two page overview of Vermont Learning for the Future is
"Backyard Sustainability in Action" - A Garden to Table Symposium
Saturday, April 22, 2017
One World Conservation Center, Bennington, Vermont
Are you interested in really utilizing your backyard space this summer? This year's
Garden to Table Symposium
focusing on Backyard Sustainability, will offer workshops that will help you become more sustainable within your own yard and kitchen.
Join local gardeners and farmers to learn tips for composting and your garden soil, "how to" have backyard chickens, use herbs from your garden to make soap, and "how to" incorporate VT native plants in your landscape.
The Keynote Speaker will be
, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sustainable Agriculture, and Director of the Summer Farm Semester & Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Program, Green Mountain College, Poultney, Vermont. She will be speaking how to produce compost, using the linkages between the Green Mountain College campus food waste system and the College's Cerridwen Farm as an example.
The agenda will include the following presentations:
Click here for more information and to register.
- Growing and caring for Native plants in the home garden, Or, common sense solutions for lasting natural beauty. Presented by Paul Morgan of Morgan Mountain Organic Gardeners, Middletown Springs, Vermont
- Backyard Chickens! Presented by Alan Baker, Master Gardener, Shaftsbury, Vermont,
- How to Use Carbon to Produce Abundant Gardens-with Less Work. Presented by Jesse McDougall of Studio Hill, Shaftsbury, Vermont
Spring Wildcrafting: Greens and Mushrooms
Saturday, May 13, 2017
10:00am - 12:00pm at Audubon Vermont in Huntington
Adults and children 12+
Members $25, Non-members $30
Online Registration is Required:
Are you intrigued by the wild world of mushroom and plant foraging? Join Ari Rockland-Miller of
The Mushroom Forager
on a guided tour of spring's wild tastes and tonics. In May, the woods burst with a profusion of tender new greens and mushrooms. Our program begins with a colorful presentation introducing wildcrafting safety, strategy, and sustainability, followed by an exploration of the rich woods around the Green Mountain Audubon Center with an eye towards the early culinary and medicinal treasures of springtime.
Audubon Vermont - Spring Vacation Camps
K - 5
Members $60/day or $150 for all three days, non-members $65/day or $165 for all three days
Online Registration is Required:
Muddy Monday, Monday, April 24, 8:30am-3:30pm
Vacation Day Camp:
What comes after winter but before summer? That's right, MUD SEASON! To celebrate all things sticky and sloppy, we will turn our attention to the wonderful world of mud.
Watery World, Wednesday, April 26, 8:30am-3:30pm
Vacation Day Camp:
Get your mud boots ready! This program is about all things wet, wild and wonderful. We'll explore the path water takes from sea to sky, in rivers and wetlands, through trees and into the ground. We'll also head out to find salamanders, tadpoles, and other animals.
Audubon Expedition, Friday, April 28, 8:30am-3:30pm
Vacation Day Camp:
Join us as we mount an expedition, Audubon- style! Throughout the day we will work together as a team and explore our newly-blooming wilderness. We'll learn how maps can help us navigate our way across the landscape. Whether blazing a trail through the woods or foraging for spring snacks.
Audubon Vermont - The Best Plants for Birds
Native Plant Sales
We've been getting phone calls about how to provide food for birds during blizzard snows and cold conditions. The very best way to help birds is by adding native plants around your home. We love Audubon's new resource:
Plants for Birds
. It's an interactive native plants database. Give it a try and
let us know
how it works for you.
Our favorite Vermont native plant sales are coming up soon. Order early to get the best selection. These are some of the most affordable options for native plants.
Winooski Conservation District Annual Tree and Trout Sale:
All orders must be postmarked by April 7, 2017. Plant pick-up is available in either Berlin or Essex Junction. Prices are very reasonable and proceeds are used to develop and implement on-the-ground projects that protect riparian and shoreline buffers, for stormwater mitigation projects, fish habitat restoration, culvert replacements, and so much more.
Intervale Conservation Nursery:
Place you order early for best availability. The Intervale Conservation Nursery was founded in 2002 and is dedicated to growing native, locally sourced trees and shrubs for riparian restoration projects throughout Vermont. These folks do wonderful work!
Branch Out Burlington!'s Annual Tree Sale:
Branch Out Burlington!'s first tree sale took place in 2008. Its intent is to increase Burlington's urban 'forest' by providing good young trees, suited to our climate and urban conditions, at an affordable price to individuals, families and non-profits. They sell out early, so place your order ASAP. Tree pick-up will take place Saturday May 6th, 2017.
Do you have a favorite source for native plants in Vermont?
so we can add them to Audubon's
Native Plants Database
Summer Camp at the One World Conservation Center
One World Conservation Center
(OWCC) plans and teaches science, nature and environmental education programs to children, youth and adults in the Bennington Community. This includes: classroom, homeschool, community based and field trips to the Greenberg Reserve.
Camp will be enjoyed at our Education Center and our 96 acre Greenberg Re- serve. Campers should come prepared for all weather conditions. Lunch, sunblock, hat, water shoes, water bottle, rain gear, pants, sturdy shoes and tick/bug repellant should be labeled and sent for your child.
Price includes all materials $150.00/week per child
$100.00 for each additional child per week.
$50.00 non-refundable deposit with registration per child per week.
Sign up for all five weeks and receive an additional $10.00 off per week per camper.
Full payment is due the Friday prior to the week of camp. (minus deposit)
We are happy to work with grant funders to help your child get to camp!
Hours: 9am to 2pm. After-camp care is available from 2-3pm for an additional fee of $10/day per child.
Meals: OWCC provides a daily healthy snack for campers (included in registration fee). Campers should bring their own lunch.
Register Today for NEEF's National Environmental Education Week!
Don't forget to register for the National Environmental Education Foundation's 13th annual
National Environmental Education Week
, Sunday, April 23, 2017 through Saturday, April 29, 2017. Register today to be among the first to receive resources.
When you register you'll receive:
- Resources for educators, such as toolkits and activity guides to make environmental learning come alive.
- Resources for everyone, including EE activities to do with children and year-round inspiration for your every day.
- Bright spots in the field of EE, including stories from the field with tips and ideas you can use.
- Advance notice of special events and activities during EE Week.
Annually, NEEF celebrates the benefits of environmental education (EE) and its relevance for people of all ages and all walks of life. EE Week would not be possible without the generous support of our official sponsor, Samsung Electronics America, Inc., who shares NEEF's commitment to environmental education and stewardship.