Minutes of Jan. 14, 2009 meeting

North Quabbin Energy meeting

January 14, 2009

Attending: Donna Caisse, Cara Cleveland, Jinx and Howard Hastings, Dennis Mallet, Jane Manring, Brian Nugent, Linda Paquet, Tom Rich, Cathy Stanton

Announcements:

• Several meeting attendees had just come from the Green Economy Task Force meeting at Mahar high school in Orange. The group was working to define what a “green economy” was (and what “green” is!) and to think about ways to attract new “green” industries to the area and to “green” existing businesses. The education sub-committee is working on getting a column into the Athol paper and other projects.

• Two more of the Garlic Festival talks (on wind power and solar thermal) are edited and airing on AOTV. We talked about ways to get copies of these DVDs into area libraries. Individual NQE members may get copies made at AOTV and donate them to their local libraries.

• We received a card and donation from Don Audet.

• We currently have $259.50 in our treasury.

Structuring NQE meetings

We talked about how we might structure and schedule our meetings so that we continue to educate ourselves about energy issues, to keep on top of business and organizational tasks relating to various projects, and to incorporate new and returning members with a variety of interests and experience levels. Some suggestions were:

• Use a potluck meeting/discussion about the Transition Towns idea as a starting-place for considering this question of structure and participation.

• Think about which times of year require more focus on business/planning (eg. leading up to the Home Show or Garlic Festival) and which ones are more open for educational or program kinds of gatherings. Come up with a general schedule of when we’ll have business meetings and when we’ll have educational ones, and plan accordingly.

• For educational meetings, generate a theme in advance of each one, and then have someone in the group think about ways to structure the meeting – eg. should we have a film, a speaker, an open discussion, or some combination of these? should we have people do some investigation or reading or research in advance of the meeting, and then report to the group? Cara and Jane volunteered to serve as a program committee; others may join in if interested!

• We could use some of the AOTV/Garlic Festival videos as part of educational meetings (eg. if we had a meeting on wind power, we could start by showing Walt Congdon’s talk from the Garlic Festival).

We agreed that it made sense to continue with business meetings as we move toward the Home Show and River Rat Race this spring, but to schedule educational meetings after that date.

Home Show

• Vendors: We went through the list of potential vendors and got updates on the follow-up calls that people have made. Although there is definite interest, almost none of the “green” vendors have signed up yet, and those making the calls should do another follow-up before the Jan. 31 early-bird deadline, to remind people of the advantages of signing up before then. Cara is keeping track of responses. Cathy will try to get an electronic version of the vendor packet from the Chamber and will send it along to those making follow-up calls.

• Presentations: The sub-committee of Steve, Janice, and Cathy will make a list based on interested vendors and other potential speakers after Jan. 31, when we see who has signed up. Some ideas we discussed were: invite Rob Rizzo and his students from Mt. Wachusett Community College again, or possibly ask someone from GCC; have an energy auditor speak; organize a tour of the high school’s wood-fired burner; have a talk by someone who does geothermal installations; have a slot for Brian to give a winsert demonstration.

• Town committee presence: There has been some discussion about having a table for the combined town energy committees. It seemed that membership in those committees overlapped considerably with the people who were likely to be volunteering for the NQE table and the Energy Expo in general, and that the town committees wouldn’t necessarily see an advantage in terms of recruiting or publicity by having their own table. An alternative suggestion was proposed, which was that NQE make sure to have a specific space on our literature hand-out table for materials from the town committees, and that we have a very visible map of the area showing which towns now have committees (Warwick, Orange, Athol, Petersham, and Barre). We will also have the committees’ mission statements printed and available. Linda will ask Ken Levine, who is on the Petersham committee, to make us a map. This could be displayed on the wall behind the NQE table or in some other prominent location.

• After energetic group brainstorming, we came up with a tagline for the Home Show: “GOT GREEN? GET LOCAL!” Several other good ideas were floated, which we can return to in future years or for other events.

• Steve Raymond had asked for suggestions about something to give away to all Home Show attendees at the door to remind them about next year’s Home Show. After discussing several suggestions, we decided that the best bet might be a credit-card sized calendar or a bookmark. Cathy will pass this idea along to the Chamber of Commerce.

Winsert workshops

We have two workshops scheduled, on Jan. 31 and Feb. 14. We need to get publicity about those out quickly and as extensively as possible. Pat and Cathy did a mailing to many area groups and organizations, but have had no response yet. Cathy gave out copies of the poster and will email the poster and notice to the core group with a request to post and distribute. Brian will start purchasing supplies and will be reimbursed from the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund money.

Next meeting

Wednesday, February 18, 6:30 p.m.

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