Fall 2021 Projects Explore Community Science and Energy Democracy

Section A of our Community Engaged Practicum was themed, “Shifting baselines on a changing planet: a collaborative past and future ecology of Vermont”. Students engaged with natural history and archaeological legacy collections, historical surveys, and the landscapes themselves, and sought to creatively broaden participation by aggregating and interpreting these datasets through specimen digitization and utilization of community (“citizen”) science methods.  Students explored Vermont’s past using records that span millennia to decades and provide both scientifically rigorous datasets and new narratives of change that challenge Vermonters to think differently about future ecosystems and how they may participate in documenting them.

Section B of the practicum was titled, “Just Transitions:  Climate Action, Resilience and Change in Vermont”. Students built upon the work of existing state and local collaborations around climate, resilience, and justice with projects that included furthering the development of a climate justice jobs corps, contributing to energy democracy by helping state, regional, and local climate action plans be guided by robust public opinion data; and improving access to quality and energy efficient housing for farmworkers in Vermont.