Sustainable Communities Network Quarterly Meeting Minutes – March 2019

Sustainable Communities Network – March Meeting
3/7/19                      Location: City of Neenah

Attendees: K. Thunes, K. Miller, C. Kasimor, R. Kasperek, V. Stabenow, K. Divine, L. Stoll, D. DeTroye, and S. Wiley.

Local Invasive Plant Species – Speaker Anne Pearce, Wisconsin First Detector Network

  • Wisconsin Invasive Species: Ms. Pearce introduced the Wisconsin First Detector Network (WIFDN) to the group including the reporting and identification tools available on their website. WIFDN uses citizen scientists to collect field data. Ms. Pearce then ran through some common invasive species, and some new ones to keep on the radar. Reaching out and educating people as to why invasive plants are actually harmful is important, and Ms. Pearce encouraged the sharing of citizen scientist tools.
  • City of Neenah Invasive Species Update: Mr. Fink gave an update on the City of Neenah and their management practices. Neenah sees a lot of buckthorn and is working to isolate and control populations. They have one specific population by the fire station they have been working to eradicate the past few years. Usually the City uses volunteers to manage invasive plants in the City, but recently have started contracting out some specific work as volunteer interest comes and goes.
  • City of Menasha Invasive Species Update: Mrs. Stoll expressed concern that the areas along the railways are a hot bed for invasive species as they are allowed to create large seed banks that spread out. No one reported any success on working with the rail companies to maintain the invasive species in their right of way. Otherwise, the City is looking towards educating the public. Some information has already gone out on Doty Island, and some management efforts have been started in the parks though the volunteer help is also lacking in Menasha. It was advised by Ms. Pearce it might be easier to educate on other less established species versus more established species as it is unlikely we will ever eradicate buckthorn in Wisconsin.

Glacierland RC&D – Speaker Kari Divine, Glacierland Resource Conversation and Development, Inc.

  • Services Available: Ms. Divine gave a presentation on the services Glacierland RC&D is able to provide communities. They are able to do a lot of agricultural work, but they are capable of helping with a wide range of other grants. Glacierland RC&D has done work with Clean Water and Aquatic Invasive Species Education/Control, Healthy Forests including the Urban Wood Network, and other administrative services such as serving as a fiscal agent. You can find their website here.

Local Farmers Markets

  • Town of Greenville: Ms. Kasperek asked for an open discussion on Farmers Markets and any feedback communities may have about their successes or failures. She shared about the Greenville Farmers Market as they have a new location for the 2019 season. The Greenville Farmers Market relies heavily on vendor feedback and has made changes based on their input, including raising the vendor fees slightly in order to afford two special events every month to attract more guests. The season start and end date is also determined in part by the vendors that attend. The Greenville Farmers Market is the only one run by volunteers (e.g. the Sustainability Committee).
  • City of Menasha: Ms. Kasperek, Mrs. Thunes, and Mrs. Stoll shared the status of the Menasha Farmers Market. Unfortunately it has not had a consistent market manager which makes it hard to encourage vendors to come back. There was a discussion on the parking issues and the lack of access for vendors – many like to have their vehicles close by and being on the City street makes it difficult. The Sustainability Board agreed this was good feedback, and would do what they could to share that with the Market Manager. Otherwise, it seems that residents still value having the market downtown and the ability to pop in on their lunch break to grab items.
  • Village of Hortonville: Mr. DeTroye shared that he was collecting information and experiences as the Village had an expressed interest in having a market, though the conversation had not gotten very far. Ms. Kasperek shared that the Greenville Farmers Market runs on Wednesday afternoons; Ms. Thunes said there is also another market that runs Wednesday mornings at Festival Foods.
  • City of Oshkosh: Mr. Wiley shared that their Farmers Market runs largely independently and he was not aware of any issues.
  • City of Neenah: Ms. Kasimor also was not aware of any issues as the City’s market is run by Future Neenah.

Additional Items / Next Meeting

The next meeting will be at the Oneida Nation on June 6th at 3:00pm. The topic will include local solar energy as they have recently completed a project.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 4:40 pm. 

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