The CROs model relies on local, volunteer-based teams of individuals coming together to improve their communities. Resilience Teams are intertwined with organizations across sectors and local governments to increase capacity to accomplish shared goals. Scroll down to read about the communities launching CROs teams and activities in Vermont, and the unique ways they are tackling resilience and building relationships.
The Community Resilience Organizations Hartford team (CROH) is helping the town forge a unified identity and cooperative spirit, while also raising the profile on resilience with past impacts of Tropical Storm Irene in mind. The CROH includes diverse community members from emergency response, local government, the transition movement, conservation, energy, and more. Their mission is to work together to strengthen the Hartford community’s ability to deal with natural and man-made disasters.
CROH hosts a monthly resilience workshop series (schedule here!), organized a successful Community Work Day in August, and is currently working on creating a “Neighborhood Captain” program for neighbors to get to know each other and find out how they can support one another. Their ideas, events, and momentum ripple throughout the region. Stop by and join their activities!
The team has focused on implementing public awareness and education strategies listed in Hartford's Hazard Mitigation Plan. Their strategies have been very successful - they organized two Resilience Weeks in 2016 and 2017 where hundreds of people attended workshops that community members gave to build resilience skills and celebrate community.
Resilience Week workshops and activities in 2017 included:
Community Resilience Assessment and project planning
Resilient forest walking tour
Dinner and a movie - “How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change”
Hands-on CPR training
Resilience panel with a video from Bill McKibben with responses from Lt. Governor David Zuckerman, Rebecca Sanborn Stone, and Andrew Winter
Making medicine from plants
Building healthy soil
Permaculture and holistic landscape design
Monthly resilience skills-building workshops & trainings
Completed the Community Resilience Assessment
Community Work Day
Neighborhood Captain Program
Resilience Week in 2016 & 2017
"Idea boards" around town to gather resilience ideas
Strong partnerships with local & regional organizations
Hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene, Waterbury has bounced forward and rebuilt stronger than ever. Major rebuilding projects are nearly complete, but Waterbury's village lies mostly within a flood hazard area and more floods will certainly come. Waterbury's team is focused on building public awareness of flooding and implementing programs and policies to protect the town.
Waterbury's CROs team works as part of the Floodplain Management Working Group. The combined group has attained FEMA's Community Rating System starting designation, which lowers floodplain insurance rates. Waterbury also held an anniversary celebration of Irene Recovery, with special outreach and coverage in the Waterbury Record.
Visit Waterbury’s Flood Information page for great resources on flood preparedness and damage reduction. Get in touch to sit in on a monthly meeting!
Completed the Community Resilience Assessment in June 2017 to compare with their responses from the first time they took it in 2015
Joined the VT Alert System
Large posters, sharing flood stories & successes, on exhibit in the new Town Offices
Community Rating System designation for reduced flood insurance rates
River corridor mapping & vulnerability studies
Pilot program for floodplain land conservation
Irene Anniversary celebration
Jeffersonville, like Waterbury, blended its CROs team with its existing Floodplain Advisory Group, which was formed after the floods in 2011. Jeffersonville's team was invited to participate in the first Leahy Summit in 2015, to promote the development of local watershed teams. They succeeded in gaining a High Meadows Fund grant to build a partnership with the towns of Wolcott, Johnson and Cambridge to conduct watershed research on the Lamoille River. They also received a grant to rebuild the parking lot at their elementary school (in the floodplain) with permeable paving.
Combining CROs with existing community working group
Research to better understand the Lamoille River's function and flows
Installing permeable paving in elementary school parking lot
In the past, Londonderry has struggled to understand who might need help in an emergency and connect the dots with the emergency responders, volunteers and service groups that can provide aid. Londonderry's CROs team, Mighty Londonderry, is working hard to make sure that the Town is ready and connected in the future.
Mighty Londonderry started by focusing on an inventory of community needs. That led the group to connect with other local service organizations that work on similar issues, and identify needs like establishing a local emergency shelter. Mighty Londonderry has completed a community survey and has hosted an initial gathering of emergency responders and service organizations as they build a clear chain of command and communication structure.
Inventory of community needs and assets
Local emergency shelter
Meeting to improve coordination among emergency responders and social services
Exploring a sculpture project to turn a flood wall into a community asset
Partnerships with other local service organizations
The White River Valley is one of the regions hit hardest by Irene, and its towns were forced to work together to dig out and build back. That spirit of collaboration has continued, helping these towns to thrive in other ways too. In honor of that spirit, volunteers from Royalton, Bethel and Tunbridge all came together to plan a joint event that celebrated their recovery from Irene and marked the continued need for cooperation and resilience action.
In August, 2016, communities throughout the Lower White River Valley came together for a day of action and celebration to mark the 5th anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene. Volunteers from all three towns worked together to plan and host this dynamic event, which included a 5K road race, cleanup events, a gathering of oral histories, exhibits and celebration on the South Royalton green. Gubernatorial candidates stopped by to lend a hand, and community members came out in force to celebrate the way people - and towns - throughout the watershed have come together to recover and thrive.
Multi-town watershed collaboration
Day of celebration and action to mark Irene's 5th Anniversary
Road race, resilience fair, and celebration
Planning for resilience is one of the most important actions a town can take, and yet it's often a disjointed process. Most towns have town plans, hazard mitigation plans, emergency operations plans, and a handful of other documents that all relate to resilience.
Richmond found itself with an interesting opportunity, when the town planning process coincided with an update to its hazard mitigation plan and a major community visioning and engagement effort. Richmond used the town's unique community outreach process to engage community members in a conversation about hazards and resilience. They held an unusual event: a chili & pie cook-off, combined with a resilience fair, role playing game and planning workshop. Safety and resilience emerged as one of Richmond's core community values, and the town is now working to expand volunteerism - one of the key needs identified through CROs.
Safety and resilience designated as core community values
Integrated town plan, vision and hazard mitigation plan
Engaging resilience fair and community workshop
Focus on increasing volunteerism