#madshedlove in Winter!
Friends launched the newest version of our #madshedlove photo and story challenge back in April of 2020 as a way for this community to keep connected to each other and the Valley we love, to keep us socially together even as we had to be physically distant. The challenge is all about the MAD River Valley, the WaterSHED that connects us together, and the LOVE we have for this amazing place. Over the last year we have had dozens of people send us photos, videos, and stories – and we have turned around and shared them with you through our e-news, on Facebook, and Instagram.
When the snow flies across the Mad River Valley, the mountainsides come alive with skiers, snowboarders, fat-tire bikers, snowshoers, wildlife trackers, outdoorspeople of all kinds, and the spirit of adventure. We can see our own breath and feel the sting of cold air on our cheeks as we brace the elements, bundled up in our favorite snowpants and wool hats. When we come in from a day in the powder or on the ice, winter offers a quiet calm, a moment of reflection, as we roast root vegetables, make a cup of tea, and snuggle under a heavy blanket with a good book.
Winter life in the Valley so often delivers these joys, but not without our fair share of hard work. We split the wood for the stove, shovel the snow in our driveways, and rise up early in the morning to plow the roads and groom the trails. In the age of Zoom, many of us miss the in-person gatherings but are glad to do without the long trips on icy roads. And for those still taking those trips, the delivery drivers, the business owners keeping their storefronts open, the healthcare workers scrubbing in each day, we are thankful!
Each winter brings its own story, its own challenges and triumphs, joys and difficulties. Share what makes this winter unique and the memories of your favorite winters past;
As we move into 2021, we are focusing #madshedlove on the changing winter landscape and inviting you to send us pictures, videos, and stories of what winter in the Mad River Valley means to you and how your sense of winter here has changed over time.
Here are few ideas to inspire you;
The cold earth slept below;
On Monday, January 25th, more than two dozen members of the Mad River Valley community joined together for the first in a series of online workshops, hosted by Friends of the Mad River and led by Bill Reed and Joel Glanzberg of Regenesis Group, to build up participant’s capacity to think in ways that draw from nature’s ability to regenerate itself in the face of disruption.
Friends of the Mad River turned 30 years old in 2020, marking a moment of reflection for Friends’ staff and board. “We invited the Regenesis Group to the Mad River Valley because, as we thought about the last three decades of our work here, we realized that our role is broader than chasing down problems like leaky septic systems to supporting a more holistic idea of watershed health and wellbeing,” said Kinny Perot, Friends’ board member.
These workshops draw from the initial Zoom gatherings in November and December, which saw more than eighty attendants, to offer a smaller group a more focused look into regenerative practices. The Regenesis group writes that, “regenerative development is grounded in a deep understanding of the integral and interdependent nature of living systems—social and biotic—and the complex and emergent process by which they co-evolve. It draws inspiration from the self-healing and self-organizing capacities of nature and works to restore these capabilities when they are missing or disrupted, whether in ecological or human living systems.”
Over the next few months, participants will work together to explore the practice of regenerative thinking while focusing their attention on the Mad River watershed community. The workshops are not aimed at particular outcomes, rather at building the capacity of participants to think and act in regenerative terms.
“Friends of the Mad River has helped bring resources to this Valley for the last 30 years. We hope that bringing Regenesis continues in the same vein. That said, we don’t have all the answers,” said Perot. “One of the great pleasures of being able to invite Bill and Joel to our Valley is the recognition that Friends can foster creativity, capacity, and community among the workshops participants without needing to hold a particular agenda. These workshops may be starting with Friends, but they will continue to grow in meaning and purpose as each of the participants takes ownership of this experience. I am excited to play a part in making it happen!”
The workshops are currently at capacity. The initial, larger, sessions can be watched online at friendsofthemadriver.org. Friends of the Mad River plans on continuing to find opportunities to bring resources to the Valley and Friends’ staff are eager to connect with community members who would like to learn more or support these efforts.
Originally Published for the Valley Reporter, January 28th 2021
It’s winter in Vermont, and that means it’s road salting season. On January 14th, ~15 Ridge to River Taskforce member gathered on Zoom to follow up on conversations initiated through past Taskforce and Road Roundtable meetings and learn more about the topic of road salt. Kris Stepenuck, Extension Assistant Professor at UVM, shared a brief presentation that summarized the environmental, economic, and social challenges and the many perspectives associated with using salt to keep our roads, parking lots, driveways and sidewalks safe during winter months. She also described some best management practices that can be used to minimize the use of salt. The group discussed the challenges local road crews and budget decision makers face and the pros and cons of a few of the possible best management practices. Watch the recording here, and download Kris' slides here.