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PHILADELPHIA - Lately, municipal officials are being cast in the role of referee as developers and irate residents clash over a community’s future.
To assist land planners, community leaders and elected officials sort through these conflicting interests, the EPA will sponsor a workshop, "Building Partnerships for the Future," in Shepherdstown, W.Va. on April 7 and 8.
The workshop will introduce participants to the EPA’s Green Communities Assistance Kit, which demonstrates how to take stock of a community’s assets -- social, economic and environmental -- evaluate strengths and weaknesses, and identify problem areas which may threaten quality of life.
Topics will include how to secure consensus from different interest groups, plus brainstorming techniques, resolving conflict, encouraging hard-to-reach people to participate, building community skills, and getting feedback.
In its second year the Green Communities Program helps municipalities predict the future, based on current trends and activities, if nothing is done to intervene, and presents the tools for creating an entirely new vision for a community.
There is no fee for the workshop. But lodging arrangements should be made directly with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center by calling 304-876-7200. The cost of $94 per day includes lodging and all meals. The conference center is located in the eastern mountans of W.Va. about a 90-minute drive from Baltimore.
The workshop will feature:
Randall Arendt, of the Natural Lands Trust on “Growing Greener: Putting Conservation into Local Codes.” Mr. Arendt will be the featured speaker for the evening presentation on April 7. A hands-on design exercise will be part of the event!
David Carrier and Britt Miller, from the National 4-H Council, on “Building Common Ground,” an educational, problem-solving seminar to help people resolve differences on specific issues.
Spencer Phillips, from The Wilderness Society, will introduce a community economic assessment tool that is especially useful in rural areas.
Anne Pearson, Alliance for Sustainable Communities, will share her newest work, “This Place Called Home.: Tools for Sustainable Communities.” This CD contains interviews with leaders expressing their vision for the future, excerpts from books and other publications and a tool kit containing sample ordinances, codes and studies.
Playback Philadelphia, an innovative improvisational theater group, will highlight the workshop theme, “Building Partnerships for the Future.” With humor, song, and theatrics, Playback Theater creates a setting where people can come together and learn from one another.
For more information, contact EPA Green Communities program manager Susan McDowell at 215-814-2739.