Small Changes Add Up
As Vermonters take careful steps to rejoin larger communities, Friends has too by starting up our Storm Smart program this month. We postponed our usual in-person work this spring as a result of the coronavirus. As much as we wanted to get outside and into the community, it was clear that distancing was important for everyone’s health.
Now, with a flattening curve, safety protocols in place and an entirely outdoor program, we feel confident we can be safe and return to our work of building resilience into the landscape. The program is built around the assessment, where Ira, our stewardship coordinator, meets with homeowners or property managers and takes a close look at their yard, driveways, and homes. During the assessment we can maintain a safe distance outdoors and all of the follow-up can happen with email, phone, video chats or outdoors.
Resilience and Balance - Adapting to a Changing Climate
Since launching in 2018 as an outcome of the communitywide Ridge to River initiative, the Storm Smart program has offered FREE assessments on more than 70 properties and worked one on one with over 100 people in the Mad River Valley. The program has led to projects like rain gardens, native tree and shrub plantings, low mow zones and permeable driveways. Storm Smart is designed to find opportunities suited to the needs of each site. Then, together, the small actions of each household build a more resilient community.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expects the 2020 hurricane season to be more active than normal. Changes in the intensity and distribution of storms can have severe impacts for communities like the Valley, a sobering lesson learned from Tropical Storm Irene. The greener, ‘spongier’ approach that the Storm Smart program takes to managing runoff mimics natural processes. Green infrastructure can absorb the impact of storms by holding onto and slowing water before it rushes downhill.
Friends has long focused on the idea that small, individual actions play a vital role in supporting the common good. We can take a lesson from our shared experience with the coronavirus about the real power we, as individuals and as a community, have to make a difference. The Storm Smart program offers assistance to people to take steps on their own land to make The Valley more resilient to flooding, keep swimming holes and groundwater clean and better adapt to a changing environment.
To schedule an assessment or learn more, reach out to Ira Shadis at firstname.lastname@example.org, give him a call at 802-496-9127 or visit www.friendsofthemadriver.org/storm-smart.html.