CARING FOR OUR HOME GROUNDS: 2019 Commons Conservation Congress

What: Caring for Our Home Grounds: A Commons Conservation Congress for Vermont’s Center-West Ecoregion

When: November 2, 2019, 9:00am – 1:00pm, includes delicious local lunch

Where: Mount Abraham Union High School, Bristol

Why: In this place we call home, land is parceled out and owned by individuals, businesses, organizations, and governmental entities. But important parts of our home place are not owned by anyone—they are unbounded, unenclosed, and unowned. These elements are commons.

In Vermont’s natural landscape, water, wildlife, and air are commons. While the State of Vermont is the trustee of these commons, we the people have the right, responsibility, and privilege of ensuring that these commons are well cared for.

In this era of rapidly changing climate, these commons are experiencing profound changes that ask us to look at how to respond effectively to the evolving environmental issues at hand. These crises aren’t a call for government to do more—they are a call for Commoners to get creative, recognize our collective strengths, and work collaboratively to care for the commons of our home grounds.

Join Vermont Family Forests, partner organizations, and fellow community members at Caring for Our Home Grounds: A Commons Conservation Congress for Vermont’s Center-West Ecoregion. Together, we’ll take stock of existing efforts on behalf our water, wildlife, and atmospheric commons, and we’ll imagine next steps to cultivate mutually beneficial relationship with the commons.

The Conservation Congress will build on some key ideas:

  • All sustainability is local, as Cradle to Cradle author, designer, and architect William McDonough puts it. By focusing on our home grounds–what we call Vermont’s Center-West Ecoregion–we can focus on actions specific to the ecology and culture of this place we call home.
  • Rapidly changing climate poses an immediate threat to the health of our region’s air, water, and wildlife. Looking at these elements of our home community of life as commons that we all share and have responsibility toward encourages a collaborative approach to caring well for them–we all have something to offer to this process.
  • There are many actions underway to conserve and monitor the health of the air, water, and wildlife commons here in the Center-West Ecoregion. Collaboration will make the most of these efforts and will help us identify gaps and opportunities for effective new actions.
  • Vermont Conservation Design is a landscape-level conservation planning tool aimed at maintaining an ecologically functional landscape. During the conservation congress, we will be looking at conserving the commons through the lens of this effective planning tool to identify priority actions.
  • We are a diverse community and bring widely varied skillsets and perspectives to the table. Diversity and complexity bring stability to natural systems, and are a welcome and necessary component of this conversation on conserving our region’s commons.

The ideas you help generate at this congress will help our community plan effective actions to care for our home grounds. Please join us!