Sustainable Communities Network Quarterly Meeting Minutes – June 2015

Minutes of Sustainable Communities Network

Winnebago County UW-Extension office, Oshkosh

June 4th, 2015

Meeting called to order at 3:00 pm by Jim Resick. Members present: Kathy Thunes, Jeanine Knapp, Kimberly Miller, Roger Kanitz, Linda Stoll, Carol Kasimor, John Conrad and Resick.

Roger reported on planned meeting with urban forestry managers, set for June 17, 10:00 am at Menasha Library. He distributed a survey of managers in DNR Northeast Region, covering 15 counties. They include park/recreation directors, urban foresters, and consultants. Kimberly said that 12 responses had been received to date. Summary of survey results is to be presented on 17th and shared with SCN. Initial results indicate the two biggest barriers to expanded urban forestry programs are funding and staffing.

Discussion on available urban forestry grants. One possible activity of SCN may be to provide listing/education on available grants and guidelines. DNR plans an invasive plant species education program. Kathy offered to distribute the invasive identification brochure at Menasha farmers’ market.

Linda and Kathy reported on sustainable indicators project. Linda visited with Margie Weiss of LIFE Study group, which has received the SCN indicator suggestions, and reported back in turn that LIFE is using 114 indicators as reflected in county-level census data. AARP has a 7-category “livability index”, pointing to capacity of community for “aging in place”. Cornell University urban planning program has issued an aging-livability study which includes rural amenities that complement urban infrastructure. And, American Planning Association has available a community resilience scoring system in its latest study. Linda and Kathy suggest that comparing these studies with LIFE study indicators will allow SCN to identify indicator gaps that we can address. An intern may be available at Winnebago County UW-Extension this summer to support this comparison research. The LIFE Study report is expected this autumn.

Discussion ensued on food waste issue. Members requested a late afternoon (4:30?) tour of UW-Oshkosh bio-digester, in order to learn about dry fermentation of food waste. Kathy will conduct a Doodle poll of SCN members for a proposed tour in second half of July. Sustainability boards and committees are to be invited, as well. Food waste work group will meet to discuss other potential food waste learning and activities. For example, John reported on farm-to-school food education in Hortonville School District. Jim suggested including Goodwill of NC Wisconsin, since it has a food hub project that when paired with SCN food waste work, could create a looped system approach.

Those present reviewed the 2015 list of potential projects, from previous SCN meeting. Linda suggested we learn what various groups in health sector are doing around health-livability-sustainability connection. This could be an evening educational session. The session might be supported by the Planning 4 Health grant, which requires outreach through WAPA to 6 communities. Linda will meet with Emily Derringer and Steve Steinholz (Madison) to develop a proposal for SCN. We can use these events to raise awareness with our constituent communities and groups of SCN and bigger sustainability-livability issues.

Roger reported he will re-contact Chris Miller regarding possible outreach/education effort around recycling. Jeanine and John said they will contact Wild Ones regarding cooperative outreach/education about rain barrels. Kim passed around invasive species “playing cards” (ID cards).

Community reports ensued. John reported that Greenville will deliver finished compost product to its residents, soon. Roger reported on his personal involvement in community gardening and composting. Carol reported that Neenah will utilize high school project-based learning students on sustainability projects during the next school year.

Next meeting was set for September 10, 2015, 3:00 pm at the City of Menasha Library.

Meeting adjourned at 4:37 pm.

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