Sept 9, 2009

Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network
September 9, 2009 Meeting Minutes
City of Chicopee Department of Public Works

Present: Tony Dover-PVPC, Catherine Ratté-PVPC, Nancy Hazard-Greening Greenfield and World Sustain, Eric Weiss-Hilltown Resource Management Collaborative, Patrick Dufour, Kirsten Bonanza- Earthrives, Rose Zdybel-UMASS, Andrew Glace- Long Island Energy Partners, Sue Bridge (Conway Board of Health), Rudy Perkins (Publisher Sustenance Today website & Project Manager Affordable Housing development organization) Madeleine Charney (UMASS Librarian- Co-host Program ), David Mager (Author-writer), Sara Holmes (recent Environmental Studies Graduate),  Marcia Eagleson (Worcester State University), John Engel (Life Migrations),  Rick Taupier (UMASS -), Sandhya Sundararagaran (UMASS Graduate Student – Indicators), Tom Rossmassler (HAP), Jim Barry (DOER Regional Coordinator)

Informal Networking 8-9am:
Following the informal networking between members, network chair Eric called the meeting to order.  The meeting began with each member sharing a brief overview of their organization and their work on sustainability

Member Updates:

Nancy Hazard: Greening Greenfield- Greenfield has new Mayor who seems to be pro sustainability issues- too early to know for sure. GG applied for EPA “Communities Showcase grant” (not funded). GG website has been updated/completed and ICLEI inventory is now posted and available online.

Jim Barry: met with Greenfield Mayor and the city, along with all the other western MA municipalities he has met with so far, wants to become the 1st green community in commonwealth. Jim is the newly appointed DOER western mass regional coordinator for Green Communities providing assistance/outreach to municipalities.

Andrew Glace (formerly with Constellation Energy)- has started a new ESCO. Located in Amherst.

Sarah: just graduated from Environmental Studies program and looking to get involved.

Kirsten:  working with Earthrives to offer website access to environmental groups; Collecting articles, events, and press releases about sustainability and posting on want to be a clearinghouse for sustainability organizations/ issues/news/events.

Sue:  more of the same: still working on zero energy home and 7-8 acres of Permaculture landscaping.

David Mager: Writing book” Street smart sustainability…” looking for stories on sustainability being cost effective.

Madeleine Charney: works at UMASS library- research – offers her services of research and resources to the network members. She just started a sustainability list serve passed around signup sheet if interested in joining. Co-host of radio program Farm to Fork-about local food and agriculture; broadcasted every other Tuesday 6:30-7:30pm on 103.3 FM- Valley free radio.

Rudy Perkins:  Has published a new website that tackles what it will take to sustain regions for long term.  Researches new experiments and innovative thinking about sustainability.

Marcia Eagelson: significant activity happening at the Worcester State-here to see what’s happening next door.

Catherine and Tony: PVPC facilitating regional performance contract with interested member communities to engage services of an Energy Services Company-11 municipalities are participating with 2 regional school districts. Also providing Green Communities assistance to 10 municipalities to help them meet the 5 criteria to be certified as a “green Community” thereby making them eligible to apply for significant funding from the State to become even more green.

EPA Deliverables:

§         Rose Zdybel (UMASS) Update of the Decision Support Tool

The energy costs have been updated, emissions have not been updated. Currently working on a technical instructions document covering a general overview, usage instructions, and importance of conserving energy and reducing emissions.  Rose passed out a draft for members to review and give feedback. A copy of the draft will be on the PVSN website. She asked that members email her at with comments.   She will be documenting assumptions and link them to citations in Ben’s thesis.

Member comments:
Someone asked when the tool will be available, and was reminded that the tool is up and has been up on our website for a number of months. PVPC needs to do a media release about the availability of the tool as part of the membership drive-outreach and invitation to the Fall/Winter Retreat dinner party/celebration with Woody Tasch.

Someone asked if the tool could be made “real time” with links to data websites updated regularly for actual price of energy etc-and the answer is No! not with the current funding available.

The energy average should be BTU/per square foot. It’s a standard measure.


§         Rick Taupier (UMASS) Indicator update

Rick introduced his graduate student intern who will be working on populating the baseline indicator data- Sandhya Sandararagaran. 18 indicators for 69 communities is very time consuming. Rick underestimated the amount of time needed to collect all the data. It is Important to categorize data by municipality. Some indicators are easily accessible like waste data and others are not- for example “health status” has more than one variable to aggregate and “homelessness rate” is difficult to find statistics.

Member comments:
Combine indicators with the work PVPC is working on for Plan for Progress- contact Molly Jackson Watts. Catherine offered to set up a meeting.

How will network maintain indicators? suggestion- “Adopt an Indicator campaign” – members choose an indicator to help maintain over time.

Once we have baseline send out press release, maybe create competition between regions.  Boston has an indicator project, Austin does too.

§         Catherine (PVPC) update on Skills Bank and Art of Sustainability

She will send out final draft of skills bank inventory to members.

Art of Sustainability: being hosted in Ashfield for month of September and Montague for October.

Network Business:

§         Patrick Dufour gave brief overview of First Class:

It is a networking platform that will give an opportunity to move to a higher level of functionality. There will be a more detailed presentation given at the next meeting-for additional information, members can go to this website: .

Member comments:
The future of the network could be information sharing association not an organization with a specific mission or political stance.

Add bi-line “PVSN an information sharing organization”

Energy falls out between meetings; this software could be a way to keep up the energy.

Function of network is communication. Public facilitation around sustainability.

§         Catherine (PVPC) Update on Fall Retreat:

Woody Tasch of Slow Money Alliance has accepted our invitation to speak at the PVSN’s first annual Fall Retreat.  We’re waiting to hear back on a date (between September – November).  It will be a Cocktail party/dinner for members only. There will be a cost.

Member comments:
Lets plan a meeting before the dinner (Fall retreat) for network business related issues.

Let’s use this event as a membership drive opportunity. “Become a member and attend first annual retreat”.

Membership is on calendar year. Need to finalize membership fee structure.

Next Meeting 11/18/09 (because scheduled date of 11/11/09 is a Holiday) in Hampshire County-may be combined with Retreat dinner…

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