Saturday, April 10 | 10AM – 3:30PM
10:00AM | Open
10:00AM – 10:15AM | Welcome and Introductions
- Virtual bulletin board (share project news & updates)
10:15AM – 10:30AM | EAC Network Updates
- New website and resources
- Connect to your network
- Share your stories
10:30AM – Noon | “Hot Topics” Panel
Climate change, renewable energy, smart growth, and EV’s…oh my! Join guest speakers from NJ Future, the Environmental Protection Agency, Ready for 100, and the Upper Dublin EAC for a lively discussion on “Hot Topics” of interest to EACs. Presenters will lay out some of the issues facing municipalities, and ways in which EACs can engage. The program will end with an opportunity for open discussion between panelists and Q&A with attendees.
- Topic: Environmental co-benefits
Matt Konfirst | EPA
Nature-based solutions, including green infrastructure, aim to increase society’s resilience to impacts from natural hazards while protecting, managing, and restoring natural or modified ecosystems. EPA along with other state and federal partners, have developed training materials to demonstrate how to more consciously integrate major federal water quality programs into Hazard Mitigation Plans and thereby simultaneously address a community’s water quality and water quantity goals.
- Topic: Smart Growth
Tim Evans | NJ Futures
Tim will present on his recent research on warehouse sprawl in New Jersey, and similarities that can be seen in the Lehigh Valley. He will also touch on electrifying fleets.
- Topic: Ready for 100
Paula Kline | Chester County Ready for 100
Local government has a critical role to play in addressing climate disruption – from leading by example to providing guidance and support to community stakeholders and reducing roadblocks to renewable energy. Our EACs can take the initiative to provide clean energy transition plans for municipalities that have made commitments to transitioning to renewable energy. All our local governments aspire to manage their operations efficiently and at the lowest cost. EACs can help by sharing the latest research and successes in the transition to cleaner, more efficient and healthier energy practices.
- Topic: EVs and EV infrastructure
Melissa Laffen | Upper Dublin EAC
Noon – 1:00PM | Lunch Break
1:00PM – 2:00PM | Breakout Session 1
2:30PM – 3:30PM | Breakout Session 2
Breakout Session 1 | 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Strategies and Successes in Community Engagment
As an EAC, one of the most important tools in the toolbox is community support. An engaged community, one which understands and is invested in the work of an EAC, can provide volunteer support on projects and become valuable advocates and allies for EAC priorities. Toni Gorkin will give an overview of the Heart of Uwchlan project, a program to introduce native plants and enhance the biodiversity of the township’s public spaces and to educate the public on sustainable practices. Volunteer opportunities as well as educational signage increase the visibility of the EAC and its work. Ben Felzer will discuss Bethlehem City EAC’s collaborative relationship with Lehigh University, including recruiting interns for work on projects, and their advisory work on Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). Fred Suffian and Ivy Ross, Warrington Township EAC will highlight the many service projects hosted each year, as well as how the EAC has developed and nurtured relationships with community groups to increase effectiveness. This session will provide an opportunity to learn from your peers, and gain insight into strategies and successes for gaining community buy-in.
Madge Monser | Ambler Borough EAC
Toni Gorkin | Uwchlan Township EAC
Ivy Ross & Fred Suffian | Warrington Township EAC
Ben Felzer | Bethlehem City EAC
What are sustainability plans, why are they important, how does it fit into the statewide plan to mitigate the effects of climate change, and how can/should EACs be involved? Nicole Faraguna, Director of Policy Planning will will share an overview of the agency’s sustainability measures to mitigate climate change, including energy reduction and efficiencies, increased reliance on renewable energy and green vehicles, sustainable forest and land management practices, and efforts to green the Department’s programs and services. She will also discuss DCNR grant programs that support sustainability through planning, conservation, and best practices. Katherine Targett Gross, Sustainability Officer with Lehigh University will share an overview of Lehigh’s Sustainability Strategic Plan 2030, a 10-year strategic plan that establishes a long-term vision for sustainability on campus. She will discuss the strategic planning process – timeline, what was involved, who was involved, opportunities/challenges, etc as well as how Lehigh set the scope for the 113 goals in the 2030 Plan and plans to measure progress.. Jon Lesher, Principal Environmental Planner with the Montgomery County Planning Commission will share an overview of County climate change and sustainability efforts, and how EACs can benefit from this work. The County’s work includes policies that benefit Montgomery County communities and Planning Commission projects that can assist the sustainability work being done by municipalities and EACs. There will be a focus on lesson learned that can be replicated throughout the state. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of the importance of sustainability planning, and an EAC’s part in the process.
Nicole Faraguna | Office of Planning and Policy, DCNR
Katherine Targett Gross | Lehigh University, Office of Sustainablity
Jon Lesher | Montgomery County Planning Commission
Breakout Session 2 | 2:30PM - 3:30PM
Introduction to PA Municipal Government - Where do EACs Fit?
How is Pennsylvania municipal government structured, and how does it function? Who are the key players, and how do EACs build relationships that will improve their effectiveness? Join Susan Myerov, and Tali MacArthur of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council for an information packed primer on PA government and the place of EACs. Attendees will leave with a more comprehensive understanding of the structure and basic powers of government, the people you need to know and why, and the tools, processes and plans used to guide municipal development.
Susan Myerov, AICP | Pennsylvania Environmental Council
Tali MacArthur | Pennsylvania Environmental Council
Healthy Communities - What Can we Do?
The link between climate health and personal health is becoming more widely accepted and is well supported by research. In this session EAC members will be introduced to several programs and resources they can tap into to assist their municipality in improving community health. Guest speakers Leann Chaney and Lillie Gabreski from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) will share information and resources to assist municipalities in advancing active transportation, as well as funding available for active transportation projects through the SPC. Tim Ifill from Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and Jeffrey Bergman from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy will share an overview of the TreeVitalize and Tree Tenders programs, the importance of tree canopy to the overall environmental health of a community, and how they partner with EACs and Shade Tree Commissions. Tim will also share how the work being done in Philadelphia is being expanded into the suburban counties served by Tree Pittsburgh.
Leann C. Chaney, AICP | Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission
Lillian Gabreski, AICP | Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission
Tim Ifill | Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
Jeff Bergman | Western Pennsylvania Conservancy