Tag Archives: Coal

Lots to Be Excited About!


I apologize for not being very on top of things with my blog posts. It has been a while and much has been going on to promote and develop our day on October 24th, so I’d like to provide some of the information that I’ve recently received and present it to you.

It seems that with the start of new school year (I teach at Maranacook Community High School in Readfield, Maine) has left me a bit behind as a provider of information.   In attempt to inform those of you who are watching this event and planning to attend or present here, I wanted to provide you with some information relevant to events and the overall day that we are planning. As the blog title indicates, we are excited and enthusiastic. Motivated by the support of a wonderful community and the contacts made from around the state of Maine, we’re celebrating some of the people that will be presenting workshops and speaking at the fair on October 24th.

Nancy Teel

First and foremost, due to the hard work of Nancy Teel, who is a member of CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and the Franklin County Energy Resource Team.  We have some workshop offerings that are very timely, providing training and expertise around the issues of winterization and energy efficient window design. We are extremely proud to mention that Nancy will be at the Conservation Fair and that she is putting her focused talents to work for the community once again.  Her project, the Weatherization Project, involves using community resources to build windows for those in need and is sponsored by the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area.

Below, Nancy explains the connection and why CERT was formed:

“I am a member of both CERT and the Franklin County Energy Resource Team.  CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team and is connected to Franklin County Emergency Management Agency. We train and are prepared to respond to various emergencies that could occur within our community. The Franklin County Energy Resource Team was formed last summer in response to the potential energy crisis that could have happened in our community because of the high cost of oil. It is comprised members of the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area, Western Maine Community Action, SeniorsPlus, Healthy Community Coalition, Franklin Memorial Hospital, Franklin County EMA, the Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry, United Methodist Ecumenical Ministry, town and county officials,  SAD 9 Adult ED, the Opportunity Center, and State Reps from the greater Franklin County area.

Last year this team focused efforts on coordinating and consolidating all the agencies efforts so there wasn’t overlap and that hopefully people didn’t fall through the cracks. A flyer was created that would give people a clear idea of who to call when they needed assistance, like running out of oil. The Warming Center evolved out of this group. We continue to meet and will be redefining our mission. Supporting the Weatherization Project has introduced one such effort.”

In preparation for October 24, Nancy has used her extensive community expertise and connections with Habitat for Humanity to bring the work of talented builder and consultant, Charlie Wing to fair-goers.  I am pleased to announce that she and Charlie will be organizing a informational workshop for the purposes of organizing a core of volunteers, titled the Energy Challenge. The workshop will be held from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM at Old South Congregational Church on Main Street in Farmington, with registration to begin at 8 AM. With the with help from  Nancy and Charlie, an author and co-founder of the Shelter Institute, volunteers will have a chance to help make window panels at trainings to be held later in the coming months. This program is just getting started and the purpose of the informational workshop to sign people up and provide an overview of the project. Come find out how to become an energy evaluator, or sign up for a FREE energy evaluation.

A little background on the Energy Challenge:

In the last couple of years, Charlie has generously donated his expertise to Habitat for Humanity Seven Rivers and the United Way of Midcoast Maine, both located in Bath, ME. Last winter, in a collaborative effort, they performed the Step 1 Weatherization Program in mid-coast Maine. By focusing on four simple strategies, air leakage reduction from the most obvious places, installing interior storm windows panels, creating a comfort zone, and replacing traditional light bulbs with CFL’s, home energy bills were reduced least 25%.

Results: The estimated savings of weatherizing 76 homes with an investment of $8,814 will save $32,475 annually!  Individual homeowner’s will save $376!
(Personal notes: Midcoast Maine Weatherization Forum, July 29th, 2009)

Due to the amazing success of the program, they are now making the program available to anyone interested in beginning a grass-roots effort in their own community. With the support of  Franklin County Energy Resource Team,  Western Mountain Alliance, Western Maine Community Action, Mission at the Eastwood, SAD 9 Adult ED,Hammond Lumber, Mt. Blue/Foster Tech, and grants provided by the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area,, this program is in the early stages in our own community.

Relying strictly on volunteers to make it happen, there are various ways to participate.

  • Attend the informational workshop scheduled with Charlie Wing on Oct 24th. The workshop is FREE but participants will be encouraged to participate in either two home evaluations or two window-making workshops. Space is limited so sign up early!
  • Become an Evaluator: As an evaluator, volunteers will make 2 scheduled visits to participating homes: performing basic weatherization strategies and measuring 6 windows for interior storm window panels. Attending Charlie Wing’s workshop is mandatory. Basic carpentry and good people skills are helpful.
  • Help make window panels. In community trainings scheduled for Saturday mornings (throughout late fall/early winter, dates to be announced), volunteers will learn specific skills about window construction and energy evaluations. Volunteering with the Energy Challenge is a fun opportunity to build your own window panels and help your neighbors build theirs. Very few skills are needed. Specific dates and locations of the trainings TBA, so stay tuned for more information. Please be sure to attend the informational workshop on October 24 at Old South, if interested.
  • Sign up for a home evaluation. This will be offered FREE to all low and moderate-income Franklin County residents. Those interested or able are encouraged to pay for materials.  All low to moderate income Franklin County residents are eligible to participate in this program for FREE. Those interested and able are encouraged to pay for materials. Due to funding constraints, the numbers of audits are limited at this time, so sign up early!
  • Donate time, money and/or materials. Contact Nancy Teel for “Wish List” details. Organizational help would be greatly appreciated!

Keynote Speakers

Chris Knapp of Koviashuvik Local Living School has been working hard to get a well-rounded triad of speakers to keynote our conference.  Along with himself as a speaker, Chris has successfully secured Iver Lofving and Dion Olmstead to speak on the morning of October 24 at 11 AM. We are looking forward to hearing from these three experts on LEED Certification and winterizing and sustainable home design (Dion), Permaculture and Low-Impact Living (Chris) and retro-fitting your home and lifestyle easily and affordably with simple, money-saving, earth-friendly solar and renewable components (Iver).

Special Guest Speaker

Will Bonsall, who will be speaking on bioeffieciency at MOFGA’s Common Ground Fair in Unity, Maine (Friday, September 25 at 10 AM) on  speak at 3 PM on October 24 about bioefficiency .  We are looking forward to hearing about Will’s new book, Yaro Tales and gain a broader glimpse into the biological and ecological benefits and impacts of small scale veganic farming and a bioefficient lifestyle.

Daytime Events For Children

APO service fraternity is taking part in an on-campus event on the UMF Campus will be organizing an afternoon event for children and that is still in the planning stages, but will most likely involve art and recycled materials from Everyone’s Resource Depot, located on the UMF campus.

Evening Program

There is an evening program being planned for 7:30 at Nordica Auditorium and it is being organized by Sarah Sloane, a UMF faculty member and part of the Farmington community.  Information will be released soon about the song contest that will be culminate with a winning composition to be presented during the night’s festivities.  More information on how to enter the song contest will announced soon, so stay tuned!

More in the Works

There is a lot more in the works. Folks are stepping forward in various areas and there will be breakaway workshops, presentations from local high school students about renewable efforts happening at their schools and loads of other things, such as door prizes and possibly a local foods luncheon or dinner being planned on October 24th.  Stay tuned!

Please Support Your Local Agricultural Fair

As with our fair, I encourage you, the reader, to get out and enjoy some of the agricultural fairs happening around the state this month as you plan your weekends or free time.


Why We Need A Green Revolution

The Background

In case you never saw Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth or read his book of the same name, according to information compiled by the world’s geologists, climatologists and other researchers, our human impact in the last few centuries may have greatly changed life here on earth as we know it. The correlation is examined in a fair amount of detail on the EPA website.

On the other side of things, there are others going out of their way to disprove many of Al Gore’s points. Here are more than several links to illustrate the areas that Gore’s critics say are falsehoods.*

I have to say that its hard to know what research to believe, I haven’t had the time to boil it all down and examine the heart of the dissent.

Here is a story on the US Chamber of Commerce weighing-in with their thoughts on Climate change being manmade.

Seems interesting that the US Chamber of Commerce is threatening the EPA with a lawsuit, considering it missed the deadline for public comment. This seems to be the best summary of what the Chamber wants to reveal about the EPA’s findings. But there is something that we can do and lots being done already to attempt to change the course of an already-warming planet. Climate change is real and we are causing it, at least according to what I interpreted as true. Interesting! Here is a petition to check out related to the Chamber of Commerce/EPA issue.

No matter what your thoughts are on the level of human involvement on our resources and the connections that are made between things like deforestation, water usage, and drought, there are, I think many ways that humans are contributing to a changing world environment. The footage from the video above of the methane bubbling in the arctic is just a little scary..

Unfortunately, as you may remember from Gore’s film, we can’t resurrect the cooler temperatures from years ago by dropping a giant ice cube in the oceans by aircraft like the cartoon. And if we are creating the phenomenon known as global warming, then it should be our duty to try and conserve what resources a changing world may require. With an enormous range of biodiversity on our planet, climate change may effect chances for survival of the species of plants and animals and humans in proximity to the effected areas.

As I sit here writing this, I’m looking at the number of mistakes, inaccuracies, frauds or inconsistencies that one website cites that Mr. Gore is considered to have wrongly stated. Give it a read, at the following link: http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/monckton/goreerrors.html Ha, 35 errors! Most of these are related to the lack of scientific accuracy that a British Judge and others have accused Gore of exhibiting in his 2006 film. So, then I kept reading and looking and found this article, where two British Professors reason that the issues that Gore is supposed to have mentioned that were inaccurate are largely within debatable areas of the scientific research.

How fast will the trends continue or increase? How much water will there be? No one knows, mostly because we can’t predict the future. There are some troubling trends in the past 30 years, however. So, I guess it might be better to err on the side of being overcautious with the earth? No, definitely, we shouldn’t worry? What do you think? In a democratic society, a lot of discussion takes place and guess what? The people get to decide, with their vote! Or maybe you get an event like a full-blown lawsuit between theUS Chamber of Commerce and the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Oh, so I guess that means we should just argue with this issue and not take any action? Congress is still out on this one… To the reader, I leave it up to you everyday to make decisions about how much water you use daily, how far your food travels, and how full your trash cans are every week, etc.

Remember, we do influence the future with our current actions and if you have a mind to change things, you can. That’s all I have to say to wrap this part of the blog post up.. Thanks for listening! If you want to change your own personal habits and influence others, you can. Remember, this is America and people do pretty much what their neighbors do. Read NOAA’s statement about climate change and the weather associated with higher carbon levels.

The solution?

What if your neighbor is Iver Lofving? I met Iver last week and he invited me to show me how he and his wife save money and cut their dependence on fossil fuels by what he believes to be about half.
Here is the Youtube.com video where I interview Iver and actually testdrive a solar-powered vehicle that he owns called the SUNNev. The vehicle is a small, low-range, low-speed, light two-seater made in nearby Norridgewock, Maine. Here is Iver showing me around his Skowhegan home and letting me try out his SUNNev:

Iver will be one of the keynote speakers at this year’s Conservation Fair and we are excited to have him scheduled. I will be posting the Fair Schedule soon, so you will understand what will take place, hour by hour. He was interviewed by the folks at CNN, after being volunteered by others on a Peak Oil Website that Iver visits. Here is that footage, enjoy!:

*Here are the articles about Al Gore’s alleged innaccuracies and exaggerations:








Pedal-Powered Tuesdays Draw to a Close

Riders Assemble at the Gazebo on 8/25 for the last Pedal-Powered Tuesday of 2009

Riders Assemble at the Gazebo on 8/25 for the last Pedal-Powered Tuesday of 2009

That’s all folks! Pedal-Powered Tuesdays draw to a close and we thank you for getting out your old ten-speed, mountain bike, cruiser, or whatever and coming for a spin with us in the name of earth-friendly, non-motorized travel. Hope to see you next year!

In the video above, Dr. Douglas Reusch, Assistant Professor of Geology at UMF, speaks about the potential allies that certain rocks like serpentine will play in a Carbon Sink process being developed for large scale carbon sequestration

Here are a couple photos from the past couple weeks.

Pedallers Grilling on the Sandy River

Pedallers Grilling on the Sandy River

On August, 18 a few riders and I went for a cruise down to the Sandy River to make an impromptu swim & meal..

The Falls at Cascade Leisure Park

The Falls at Cascade Leisure Park

On August 25, we rode to the Cascade Leisure Park out behind the Farmington Fairgrounds. If you’ve never checked the great waterfalls out there, please do so.. Its a beautiful spot and very close to town!

Check the Flickr “recent photos” box on the right for more!

Pedal Powered Tuesdays Promo Video for 8/18/09

Well, as most of know, we got rained out last week. With heavy downpours, there were two (my friends, Steve Hodgkins and Ben Wynn) riders. Way to go guys!

I was sitting at the Dugout waiting to see if the rain would lift and how to get my batch of items staged down behind Nina’s Upfront & Pleasant shop back home.

We will do everything mentioned in the video post for last week (8/11/09) this coming week, on August 18th. Thanks for your patience, hope you can make it on the 18th and please spread the word.

We want to get as many people as we can to ride in a group formation. Been seeing lots of people on bikes these days around town and it is great! Don’t forget, 7 PM on Tuesday!

Visit our website at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pedal-Powered-Tuesdays/112403538570# to learn about how you can help add to our numbers.

We are a local, environmentally-minded group looking to ride together to spread a message of keeping local transportation earth-friendly whenever possible.

If you or anyone you know in the Farmington area is interested in riding for the non-motorized cause, come out and meet at the Meetinghouse Park Gazebo at 7 PM every Tuesday in August.

Contact Jeremy at 232-4691 for more information. You may also email me at 350conservationfair@gmail.com

Summer Update


I’ve lately been interested in learning more about Carbon Sequestration and apparently care for the soils and depositing carbon beneath the earth has been happening for thousands of years. Local farmer, Will Bonsal of Industry’s Scattered Seed Project mentioned the term to me and its definitely interesting to those who depend on healthy soil and earth for their livelihood.

Check out this link: http://e-terrapreta.blogspot.com/

On a more local level, Androscoggin County is a pilot site for the efforts of something called the Maine Carbon Credit Program. We who are involved in the creation of the Farmington Conservation Fair and in making it a well-rounded and well-attended day are in contact with folks about the specifics of this program. Perhaps, we will be able to invite workshop presenters from either Androscoggin County’s or Franklin County’s Soil and Water Conservation District to speak on October 24, the date of the fair.

Speaking about important, long-term, and sustainable agricultural practices will be one aspect of information made available to attendees by speakers, presenters and exhibitors that we hope to secure on that day. I will provide more information on those involved and the guidelines for those wishing to be involved as I acquire it.

On a different note, the morning of June 26th found members of the Organizational Committee for the Farmington Conservation Fair meeting to discuss important topics related to the creation of the fair itself. Also discussed in the meeting were the particular details of what each stakeholder wanted to explore as to inform work needed for their own endeavors in advance of October 24th.

Organizational Committee Meeting

Organizational Committee Meeting

Present and pictured above were (in no particular order) the following persons: Anne Geller and Tanya Swain of Farmington, Lloyd Griscom of Phillips, Chris Knapp* of Temple, Valerie Huebener* of Madison, and Nancy Teel, Seth Hubbard, Dennis Haszko*, Jeremy Smith*, Susan Pearson, all from Farmington.

*Not Pictured

Speaking about the organizational components that would be necessary to have an event run smoothly, discussion amongst those attending the June 26th meeting covered various topics and items. What would be the overall number of presenters? Would there be an admission charge?  Who will arrange for volunteer recruitment?  Do we want to have outside workshops linked to the event and what will they consist of?  Who else do we need to contact and what is our overall timeline for this project?

A ton of good ideas and energy came out of the meeting and I was able to feel inspired by having a team of committed individuals interested in furthering an endeavor created by 350.org‘s chairman, Bill McKibben. In fact, I just recently registered the Farmington Conservation Fair as one of the sites for 350 Day and am awaiting materials and more organizational details from 350.org.

If you go to http://www.350.org/map and zoom in on Maine, it will actually take you to our action, the Farmington Conservation Fair 2009: Sustainable Practices for Farms, Businesses and Community.

Here’s the link for our action : http://www.350.org/o24/action/5301

To sum up the purpose of the day, the following is a key statement from the 350.org website:

“On October 24, we will stand together as one planet and call for a fair global climate treaty. United by a common call to action, we’ll make it clear: the world needs an international plan that meets the latest science and gets us back to safety.

This movement has just begun, and it needs your help.

Here’s the plan: we’re asking you, and people in every country on earth, to organize an action in their community on October 24.

There are no limits here–imagine bike rides, rallies, concerts, hikes, festivals, tree-plantings, protests, and more. Imagine your action linking up with thousands of others around the globe. Imagine the world waking up.

If we can pull it off, we’ll send a powerful message on October 24: the world needs the climate solutions that science and justice demand.”


Bill McKibben – Author and Activist- USA
Vandana Shiva – Physicist, Activist, Author – India
David Suzuki – Scientist, Author, Activist – Canada
Bianca Jagger – Chair of the World Future Council – UK
Tim Flannery – Scientist, Author, Explorer -Australia
Bittu Sahgal – Editor of Sanctuary magazine – India
Andrew Simmons – Environmental Advocate, St. Vincent & The Grenadines
Christine Loh – Environmental Advocate and Legislator – Hong Kong


Since June 26th, I have been in contact with local farmers, representatives from the Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District, as well as several small business owners with an emphasis on green.

The only area I think I have yet to contact someone about is the biofuel area. Please forward the link to this blog to someone you think might be interested in speaking about biofuels or having a table at the fair.

By the end of August, I hope to have more information available soon in written form as well as a registration form (able to be downloaded from this website) for interested parties wanting exhibition space, as well as individuals wishing to be speakers, and individuals wishing to provide offsite workshops during the day of the fair.  We hope to have exhibitors and speakers appearing free of charge for the community service component of providing local people information and good news about the goals of the 350 Organization and our fair.

Our overall mission is to educate and inform people about the green enhancements to the infrastructure here in the Greater Franklin County area and encourage communication and to perhaps aid in the forming of new partnerships in addition to many that already flourish in our unique area. Franklin County has a diversity of forward-thinking enterprises that should be celebrated!

Please stay tuned, I hope to have the pamphlet created and available soon. Mid-August is my goal, I’ll keep you posted!


Hello, I am Jeremy Smith, a citizen of Farmington and local community member.

Recently, it has been encouraging to learn about the efforts of agencies providing citizens means to explore sustainable practices such using renewable energy sources, working together to purchase goods, better winterize their homes, and find affordable farmland to grow food or marketable produce.

I believe that an event for the purpose of bringing together local entities and individuals helping to shape the long term future of our area will help inform citizens and attendees by the following guiding principles:

  • exploring sustainability in areas such as energy conservation and the development of alternative energy sources.
  • Residential and commercial applications of renewable energy technology for our local community.
  • showcasing a gamut of small businesses with an emphasis on green.
  • working to reduce human impact and waste and look for new ways to preserve our precious land and natural resources.
  • encouraging friends to buy foods from local producers.

The October 24 event will allow local people first-hand exposure and information about some of the great work being done in this area. Those involved in creating the fair hope to provide visitors with positive ideas about how to enhance their communities by telling of their experiences and sharing in discussions. The discussions will range from topics concerning education about environmental issues and it is my hope that the fair will also include hands-on activities that citizens may participate in to help everyone learn more about our unique area.

Announcing the first-ever, Farmington Conservation Fair 2009: Sustainable Practices for Farms, Businesses & Community. We are planning to have the Farmington Community Center available on October 24, 2009 12-4 PM for vendors and presenters to share their successes and ventures with the general public.

The idea for this project came from the work of Bill McKibben and is not for the purposes of furthering a political agenda. However, we do represent the movement that is occuring throughout the country to conserve resources, boost local economies and provide support to citizens wanting to be involved in similar activities aimed at protecting the planet.

We hope to create an event to tie-in with events planned by UMF’s Students for a Sustainable Campus Coalition on October 24. Helping to organize local entities and organizations to add to the scope of what SCC is planning for the day, as well as highlighting the great work being done in our local communities to enhance economic viability and conservation of natural resources is what we are planning to accomplish. In a sense, to bring the community together for the greater good.

This event ties in directly with 350.org‘s goals to educate citizens about the myriad of options that are available to communities looking to become more sustainable in their energy practices.

Email 350conservationfair@gmail.com to be put on the email list. Thanks!