By Lynn Monty, Editor in Chief
Farmers and farmland are an integral part of life in Charlotte. That’s why The Charlotte Library applied for, and received, a grant to research how our community will be affected by a changing climate. Through a three-part series, they hope to uncover how local farmers can adapt.
The grant is from the Public Libraries Advancing Community Engagement (PLACE), a project funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), working in partnership with the National Weather Service, Califa Library Group, DawsonMedia Group and Goodman Research Group.
Part of the grant was to be assigned a science partner. Charlotter Suzy Hodgson took on that task. She works for UVM Extension’s Center for Sustainable Agriculture. The “Climate Change and our Community” science café series she’s helped to create is designed to investigate and discuss the impact of climate change in our lives. The three sessions have been coordinated by Hodgson and Marty Illick, executive director of Lewis Creek Association.
Along with myriad NOAA resources and $1,000 in cash for supplies, a climate tracking weather center will be installed at the library. As a result, Library Director Margaret Woodruff said she will work on building a narrative approach to understanding climate change rather than inundating people with scientific data.
“This is a great opportunity for the library to be a community resource, and this is a topic a lot of us are concerned about, especially in the recent weather events in other places that have made us wonder what the heck is going to be happening here,” Woodruff said. “Irene is in everyone’s recent memory, and many are wondering if flooding is going to keep happening here.”
Hodgson said, “We know climate change is happening, but what is it going to cost us?” Part of her work at UVM Extension is to find community partnerships—like this library series—that support innovative research and practices to benefit Vermont communities.
“We need to manage our resources well and pay attention to how we use our land, build our houses, and how we use energy,” Hodgson said. “In the first session we will ask: what do we care about as a community?”
Topics of conversation will be about protecting water quality by having cover crops so land isn’t easily eroded and the likelihood of more pests and ticks around because with warmer winters less are dying. “With more CO2 in the air we have more plants like poison ivy,” Hodgson said. “And we obviously have a problem with heavy rain events and floods.”
Woodruff said, “It’s a great opportunity to have this chance to get together and talk about it.”
The event is open to the public and the library is sharing resources with The Carpenter-Carse Library in Hinesburg as well as the Pierson Library in Shelburne. All three parts of this climate change series will be held on Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. at The Charlotte Library. Reading packets are available.
“Community and Climate” will be featured on Sept. 26 with readings from Wandering Home by Bill McKibben. “Our Changing Climate” is the title of the Oct. 10 discussion with selections from Loosed Upon the World: The Saga Anthology of Climate Fiction. And on Oct. 24 the last of the series, “Strategies for a Resilient Community,” will feature readings from Bringing it to the Table by Wendell Berry and Food, Farms & Community by Lisa Chase.