Saturday, February 25 | 9am – 3:30pm | Virtual Event
9AM – 10:30 | Plenary
11AM – Noon | Breakout Sessions 1
1PM – 2PM | Breakout Sessions 2
2:30PM – 3:30PM | Breakout Sessions 3
9AM – 10:30AM | Morning Plenary
EACs and Environmental Justice Panel
This panel will spotlight how EACs can engage in and support environmental justice. Our panelists will attempt to answer a number of questions for participants: What are environmental justice areas, and why are they important (and what tools are available to municipalities at the state and federal level?) What are some of the gatekeeping practices that prohibit people of color from having access to/enjoying the land? Why can there be distrust of environmental organizations, and how can you go about overcoming it? And finally, how do you build better relationships with your municipality and community that can best situate an EAC to move the ball forward? Join us for this challenging and thought-provoking discussion, that will hopefully leave you feeling better equipped to move on EJ issues in the future.
11AM-NOON | Breakout Sessions 1
Today, Americans spend approximately $30 billion every year to maintain over 23 million acres of lawn. Lawns in the U.S. consume around 270 billion gallons of water a week. And American homeowners apply 10 times more fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides to their grass than farmers do to their crops, which results in chemically dependent lawns that negatively affect the health of people, pets, plants, and wildlife.
Find out how to convert your lawn and turf areas to native meadows with the lessons learned by Natural Lands staff over the last 20 years. The techniques discussed can be scaled to accommodate the conversation of small lawns or multiple acres.
Gary Gimbert | VP for Stewardship, Natural Lands
Mr. Gimbert is responsible for overseeing the 50-person stewardship department for Natural Lands, the oldest and largest land conservation organization in the Greater Philadelphia region. He also serves as a consultant to private landowners, providing recommendations and cost estimates for restoration projects and oversight of project implementation. Upon graduating from East Stroudsburg University with a degree in Environmental Studies, Gary began his employment with Natural Lands in 1996 as a stewardship assistant and quickly progressed to the position of manager at the Gwynedd Preserve, where he served until 2004. At Gwynedd he played a pivotal role in developing Natural Lands’ land restoration expertise, guiding early projects to convert ponds to wetlands and to establish and enhance native meadows.
Tom Kershner | Preserve Manager/Tree Management Coordinator, Natural Lands
Tom is the Gwynedd Preserve manager and tree management coordinator overseeing Natural Lands’ preserve-wide hazardous tree program. He brings more than 22 years of experience to his position starting with Natural Lands in 1999 as Stewardship Assistant. In addition to Gwynedd, he manages D`Lauro, Dodge, Fulshaw Craeg, and Meadow Farm Preserves and monitors 20 + conservation easements.
Tredyffrin Taskforce on Stormwater
Tredyffrin Township is characterized by dense development on steep slopes, underlain by an aging infrastructure that proved no match for the intense storms and increasing regulatory requirements of the late 2010s. A group of citizens in the Valley Creek Restoration Partnership built on emerging widespread resident concerns about flooding to propose a Township response. This led the Township Supervisors to charter a Citizens Advisory Stormwater Task Force to help with the research and analysis of the problems and their solutions. This presentation will cover the genesis of the Task Force, its organization, the work it performed and its conclusions. We will describe where Tredyffrin is now (spoiler alert: committed to, and working on the details of, a Stormwater Management Fee), and as best we can identify factors that contributed to, and detracted from, the Task Force performance.
Ray Clarke | Board Vice President, Open Land Conservancy (Chester County)
Ray Clarke is a Tredyffrin resident and retired management consultant and healthcare executive, now fully into a second career as Vice-President of Open Land Conservancy of Chester County (OLC). OLC is an all-volunteer, LTA-accredited, community Land Trust overseeing approximately 500 acres of fee-owned and eased lands in the Valley Creek watershed. He was Co-Chair of Tredyffrin Township’s Citizen Advisory Stormwater Task Force.
Anne Murphy | Treddyfrin Citizens Advisory Stormwater Task Force
Anne Murphy is a Tredyffrin resident and was co-chair of the Tredyffrin Citizens Advisory Stormwater Task Force After a career in corporate finance, Anne spent the last twenty years in watershed management and landscape restoration, both as Executive Director of the Chester Ridley Crum Watersheds Association, and with the Valley Creek Restoration Partnership, which she co-chairs. Both Anne and Ray are currently serving on the Advisory Group for the Stormwater Fee implementation.
1PM-2PM | Breakout Sessions 2
Redefining Beautiful: Making the Case for Pollinator Friendly Ordinances
Heather Andrews, The Thoughtful Gardener, will share information and resources that EAC members can use when making the case for municipal ordinances that are more friendly to nontraditional landscapes, including pollinator plantings and lawn-to-meadow. Included will be information on the resulting co-benefits to communities, including: less maintenance, water, and chemicals utilized; and, increased pollinator habitat and use of native species.
Heather Andrews | Garden Thoughtfully
Heather is a published author, photographer and routinely works with homeowners and businesses to create sustainable native pollinator habitats. During the growing season, you will find her in her pollinator waystation, Cat-a-pillar Haven, documenting her quest to garden thoughtfully via native perennials, and encourage native pollinator waystations to prevent the extinction of the monarch butterfly.
Act 101 and Delco’s 10 Year Plan for Zero Waste
Delaware County has embarked on a planning process to update its Municipal Waste Management Plan to coincide with the development of the County’s first Sustainability and Climate Action Plan, and to comply with Pennsylvania’s Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act (Act 101 of 1988). A key difference between a traditional solid waste management plan and a Zero Waste planning process, is the focus on stakeholder outreach. Zero Waste requires a change in behavior. Changing behavior requires understanding the barriers and benefits of the proposed actions (reducing waste, recycling, and composting more) and developing new or expanded policies and programs to overcome the perceived barriers to take advantage of the potential benefits. Understanding requires engagement. To ensure that all stakeholders could meaningfully participate in the development of this plan, the County conducted an extensive outreach process. The Zero Waste approach in the Municipal Waste Management Plan update includes increasing the percentage of materials purchased with recycled content; reducing waste generated in County properties; facilitating local reuse, repair, and recovery of materials; supporting policies and programs to reduce residential and commercial waste generated per capita; preventing, reducing, and recovering food waste; and increasing methods of recovery to improve diversion from incineration and landfilling.
Francine Lock | Chief Sustainability Officer, Delaware County, Pennsylvania
Francine Locke came to Delaware County in January 2021 as the County’s first Chief Sustainability Officer. Francine comes from the School District of Philadelphia where she served as the Director of Sustainability and Green Schools, and prior to that, Environmental Director. During her 16-year tenure with the district, her leadership in the development and implementation of GreenFutures, the District’s sustainability plan, received multiple awards including the US Department of Education Green Ribbon Award, the Pennsylvania Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award, and a Project Green Schools Award. Education: Temple University, BS, Biology, and MS, Environmental Health.
2:30PM-3:30PM | Breakout Sessions 3
Although stormwater management has evolved to favor construction of small, dispersed infiltration basins to promote in-place groundwater recharge, many traditional large, deep, frequently mowed detention basins remain active. Regardless of form, stormwater basins offer opportunities to create lower maintenance, more holistic landscapes with ecological value and aesthetic appeal. We will review various considerations for designing or retrofitting stormwater basins with naturalized landscaping and once planted, how best to maintain them.
Jeff Keller | Habitat by Design
Jeff has been a practicing restoration ecologist for more than 30 years. His wide-ranging ecological experience includes wetland and upland restoration on Superfund sites, stream channel restoration design, and design of created wetlands to filter stormwater runoff. His diverse list of clients includes Walt Disney Co., T. Rowe Price, Johnson & Johnson, and CBS. Education: Penn State University, BS, Biology; Cornell University, Masters & PhD, Wildlife Ecology.
Energy Transition Funding
Presentation #1: C-PACE
C-PACE is the missing link to scale projects. It is a useful funding mechanism for nonprofits (non-governmental), multifamily, commercial, industrial, and agricultural.
John Costlow | Sustainable Energy Fund
John Costlow, CRM, CSDP, REP, PCF, CPHC is President & CEO of Sustainable Energy Fund. As President Mr. Costlow provides vision, leadership, and overall management of the Sustainable Energy Fund. Sustainable Energy Fund is a nonprofit organization that assists energy users in overcoming educational, financial, and regulatory barriers to a sustainable energy future. SEF finances a variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through commercial loans, and energy savings agreements as well as administering C-PACE programs throughout Pennsylvania. Prior to joining SEF, Mr. Costlow served in management capacities throughout the energy industry including as Manager of Marketing and Energy Conservation for Florida Public Utilities and Vice President of Energy Control Companies. Mr. Costlow is a veteran of the US Navy where he served as a submarine nuclear reactor operator. Mr. Costlow has a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management from Palm Beach Atlantic University, is a graduate of Naval Nuclear Power School, has a Master’s of Executive Leadership from Liberty University, and is currently a Doctoral student in Executive Leadership. He is a certified Performance Contracting and Funding Professional, Certified Sustainable Development Professional, Certified Carbon Reduction Manager, Certified Renewable Energy Professional, and Certified Passive House Consultant.
Presentation #2: Federal Infrastructure Funding Overview
Repairing, rebuilding, and reimagining Pennsylvania’s infrastructure is necessary for economic development now and into the future. An infusion of federal funding to address Pennsylvania’s infrastructure needs is available now, or will be available, throughout 2023. This session will provide an overview of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the Justice 40 Initiative, and the CHIPS and Science Act. The session will also go over some promising grants programs and share resources and technical assistance available.
Britte Earp | Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator, Department of Community and Economic Development
Britte Earp is the Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator for the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). In this role, she is responsible for the coordination of federal and state infrastructure dollars available for businesses, local governments, and communities throughout the Commonwealth to spur economic growth. Britte has spent nearly 20 years working in the executive and legislative branches of state government in Pennsylvania. She previously served as the Deputy Director for the Center for Strategic Partnerships at DCED where she oversaw the creation and rollout of the state’s new business retention and expansion program, Engage! Britte is a Penn State graduate and lives with her husband and dogs in Harrisburg, PA.
Presentation #3: The IRA and EVs
The Inflation Reduction Act, together with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, provides a historic investment into the transportation electrification sector. What does this mean for cities and local governments? How can this funding be accessed, and for which purposes can the funding be used – vehicle purchase or lease, infrastructure, technical assistance, workforce development, etc? This presentation will cover these details and more about the EV moment.
Katherine Stainken | VP Policy, Electrification Coalition
Katherine is the Vice President of Policy at the Electrification Coalition (EC). She leads and manages the policy team at the EC, which is focused on transitioning our transportation sector to be electric. Her work spans across city, state, regional and federal levels. Prior to the EC, Katherine was the Policy Director at Plug In America, a non-profit representing the voice of the electric vehicle (EV) consumer. She led the policy team in promoting policies that work for the EV driver at the local, city, state and federal levels, including policies needed prior to purchase of the vehicle and policies needed during ownership of the vehicle. Prior to her work at Plug In America, Katherine was a Director of Government Affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), focused on policies to promote solar on the federal level as well as southeast and northeast regions, along with regulatory work at the DOE, EPA, and other federal agencies. Katherine was also the lead staff on the Clean Power Plan and chief liaison to the solar heating and cooling and EH&S groups at SEIA.
Nick Miller | Policy Analyst, Electrification Coalition
Nick is a Policy Analyst for the Electrification Coalition. His focus is on policy research and analysis to help decision makers create opportunities that reimagine our transportation system. Prior to the EC, Nick was an Executive Policy Specialist at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. He focused on developing state policies and programs to electrify the Commonwealth, including assisting local governments, utilities, and the private sector. Much of Nick’s work involved strategic planning, technical analysis, and building partnerships to position Pennsylvania as a leader in our electrified future. Nick holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the Pennsylvania State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Washington College.
Marie McConnell | Campaign Organizer, Electrification Coalition
Marie is a Campaigns Organizer for the Electrification Coalition. She mobilizes EV stakeholders and advocates in the EC’s accelerator states around various electrification campaigns and policy opportunities. Prior to joining the EC Marie was the Organizing Manager for Drive Electric Ohio. There she oversaw 6 community-based EV advocacy groups and worked with them to conduct consumer education, encourage development of EV charging, and address local and state policy. Beyond advancing EV adoption in Ohio, Marie supported Drive Electric USA, a DOE Clean Cities Coalition partnership that established similar ‘Drive Electric’ programs in 14 states.