Sustainable Communities Network Quarterly Meeting Minutes – 2014

Present: Gerry Whitman, Craig Moser, Dave Tebo, Dick Gosse, Jim Resick, Paul Farrell, John Conrad, Linda Stoll, Roger Kanitz, Carol Kasimor, Kathy Thunes, Aimee Niendorf, Catherine Neiswender, Elizabeth Williams

Guests: Kim Miller, Jeff Roe, DNR


1. Resilient urban tree canopy – Kim Miller and Jeff Roe, DNR

Kim and Jeff shared information on the Street Tree benefit studies done in several fox valley communities (using iTree software). Community data was shared with the group. There is a trend now towards canopy management, and this is a new direction for DNR too.

They wanted to put this on people’s radar and asked how DNR can help communities set and achieve tree canopy goals? They asked the group what kind of tools and data would be useful for communities that the DNR could provide? Group responses included:
• Sample tree protection ordinances
• Help sorting priority areas to create canopy
• Something compatible with communities’ existing GIS software
• Help selling canopy approach to the public
• Help knowing which trees are suitable for the changing climate
• How to identify a % cover, and how to put a plan together to help
o Note: American Forest identified a goal of 40% canopy coverage, but there is no science behind this number
• Models and examples of parks that can capitalize on canopy opportunities (need to check with landscape architects)
• How to add trees to a no-terraced, no-sidewalked subdivision?

Continued discussion about a workshop. The group suggested asking communities what they need out of a workshop in helping them move from a street tree to a canopy approach. Perhaps homeowner and energy saving options too.

NEXT STEPS: Follow up with C. Neenah, C. Menasha, T. Greenville and C. Oshkosh to look at this topic regionally. Discuss at next meeting

2. UW-Oshkosh food waste diversion project – Aimee Niendorf, Renewable Energy Institute

Aimee introduced herself and described the institute’s purpose. They are currently working on an ‘urban dry’ food waste composting effort, small farm biodigester, and the Rosendale dairy digester. She described the food waste collection and diversion grant project. She is interested in connecting with this group and communities for potential teaching and research opportunities.

3. Plastic bag recycling education project – Chris Miller

Update provided by Kathy Thunes on Chris Miller’s behalf. Chris has the posters and talking points and has identified possible sites to set up the signage for plastics recycling. Next steps is to get the posters out to the communities in April for distribution. This will be coordinated by Chris.

4. SCN-Fox Valley website update – Roger Kanitz

Roger reported that there was new material on this eco site ( He wondered if folks needed training on how to add material to the web. He has also included an ordinance review section with a sample of a backyard fowl ordinance comparison and asked whether the group would like to see more of this. Answer – yes! Group discussed doing trees, stormwater and/or weed ordinance comparisons next. Discussion around asking the planners which ordinance to compare next and how. Elizabeth volunteered to help.

5. Earth Week planning – Kathy Thunes and Roger Kanitz

Brief update provided. Events posted on ecos-foxvalley. Posters were distributed.

6. Torbjorn Lahti tour events – Tour planning workgroup

Catherine provided a brief update of the Lahti events that are upcoming in April. Brief discussion. This planning effort is being handled by a subgroup of the SCN, who is one of the main sponsors of the events.

7. Set next meeting date and place – will be done via doodle, Catherine will coordinate.

Comments are closed.