Climate Catlaysts 2022 GraduationThe Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) is celebrating the graduation of sixteen local leaders from the third class of the Climate Catalysts Leadership Program. The third cohort began in the fall of 2021 and, over the past year, members worked to implement projects such as, building a trade network for hunters, farmers, and gardeners; engaging property owners with resiliency principles to stormwater management; establishing community-wide weatherization efforts; facilitate the development of community solar projects and investigate a college campus thrift store.

The Climate Catalysts Leadership Program participants arrive with transformative, community-scale climate economy related projects and work toward developing their concepts into reality while building peer connections, strengthening leadership skills, and receiving project development support. VCRD, as an organization, strives to support locally-generated ideas and projects and the outstanding local leaders who champion them.

Among the third cohort was the late Marshall Webb. Marshall was an exceptional participant, eager to learn from his fellow participants and to share his lifetime of lessons and accomplishments, including as the Carbon Drawdown Coordinator for Shelburne Farms. His leadership and presence remain greatly missed among the graduating class and leaders throughout Vermont.

The graduating class from the third Climate Economy Leadership Program includes:

  • Susan Alexander, Cabot
  • Shannon Choquette, West Burke
  • Dana Clawson, White River Junction
  • Callie Fishburn, Bennington
  • Kevin Geiger, Woodstock
  • Marissa Green, Charlotte
  • Steven Isham, St. Johnsbury
  • Kevin Lambert, Bristol
  • Annie McLean, St. Johnsbury
  • Tom Roberts, Hartland
  • Ira Shadis, Montpelier
  • Maddison Shropshire, Hinesburg
  • Emma Wardell, Burlington
  • Marshall Webb, Shelburne
  • Allie Webster, Peacham
  • Rose West, Manchester Center

“The Climate Catalysts program was a fantastic opportunity to build my network and understanding of climate action around Vermont. The program creates a unique space where everyone can be teachers, students, collaborators, and sounding boards.  I gained valuable insight and inspiration from my peers in the cohort and the VCRD staff into how we can tap into the energy of our communities to generate momentum for a project,” adds Climate Catalyst, Maddison Shropshire.

“This program speaks to the great need to come together through networks of people at various stages of life,” states program manager, Laura Cavin Bailey. “Each participant worked through their own place-based project while continuing to hold space for rich dialogue around the larger state and global implications of the climate crisis.”

Applications are now open for the fourth cohort of Climate Catalysts which will begin in December. Both seasoned and new local leaders with a project concept addressing climate change in Vermont are encouraged to apply. There is no cost to participate in the program and a small stipend will be provided to participants.

Visit the VCRD website to learn more and apply. The deadline to apply is November 30, 2022.

The Climate Catalysts Leadership Program is made possible by support from VLITE and other philanthropic foundations and generous donors of VCRD.