Charlotte WatershED

Founded by the town librarian, editor of the town newspaper, and two members of the Charlotte Conservation Commission, the Charlotte WatershED project hopes to educate the local community about the area's water resources. Through a series of events including speakers and workshops, this group has made a substantial effort working towards this goal in their town. Charlotte WatershED's mission not only includes the education of citizens, but also includes a call-to-action to protect water resources regionally.

Project Contact: Joanna Cummings
Project Contact Email:
Year Completed: 2013
Project Lifespan: 2013
Regional Planning Commision: Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission
outreach, partnerships, walks_and_talks, water
Other Keywords: Education
Project Accomplishments:

The Charlotte WatershED group put on a multitude of local events that were all very well attended; some of the events had over two hundred attendees. At these events, the group has helped people understand the watershed they live in, and their personal role in the system by using a combination of visual, audio, and hands-on teaching methods. Although it is difficult to quantify how much of an impact this group has made, they were able to do much more than they had initially expected. Examples of events include the Watershed Caf' (a community workshop series), student education at the Charlotte Central School, field walks detailing land management strategies, and homeowner informational sessions regarding how to steward properties in regards to water resources.

Project Partners:

' Charlotte Conservation Commission
' Charlotte Library
' Lewis Creek Association
' Charlotte Central School
' Transition Town Charlotte*
' VT Dept. of Environmental Conservation
' Shelburne Farms
' Charlotte wildlife refuge

Critical to Success:

Partnerships with other organizations were critical to Charlotte WatershED's success for networking purposes (advertising events), holding events, and bringing new perspectives to the group. Utilizing pre-existing resources and documents (such as pamphlets made by the DEC) instead of re-inventing the wheel also saved the group a lot of time and effort.
Outreach was enhanced by the group's use of a front porch forum, hanging posters around town, and developing a newsletter sent to attendees of past events.


Maintaining partnerships, finding funding, and keeping the momentum going have proved to be some of this group's largest challenges. To be successful, they feel it is crucial to be consistent within their community, but unfortunately this has proved difficult since it can be difficult to find funding allotted towards educational and outreach projects. Funding has perhaps been this groups' grandest difficulty; although they have applied for more grants, they have yet to receive enough funding to continue planning these events.
Another challenge this group has is reaching out to private landowners in their town. Although a number of landowners have attended their workshops, it can be difficult to attract folks who are not interested in learning more or changing their land-use policies.