The unfolding story of the landscape and community of Burlington is the current focus of the PLACE Program (Place-based Landscape Analysis & Community Engagement). Burlington Geographic will bring together a variety of community members, educators, students, city departments, businesses, and non-profit organizations in an exploration and celebration of the natural and cultural history of Vermont’s largest city.
Over the past eight months PLACE staff and students have been conducting an initial analysis of the Burlington landscape and forging relationships with a range of community partners. We are currently seeking funding to develop and implement a series of community presentations, field trips, interpretive materials, and professional development workshops during 2013. In addition, we are planning to develop a robust web site featuring interactive maps, audio and video recordings, photographs, and interpretive text. The overarching goal of the project is to foster a deeper sense of place and sustainable future for Burlington.
Building authentic and long-lasting working relationships within a diverse network of community partners will be key to the success of Burlington Geographic. We plan to work closely with:
Schools are integral to the PLACE Program, and will be engaged at each stage of the development and implementation of Burlington Geographic. They are a wellspring of local expertise and energy, and can unify the community in important ways. PLACE works with teachers to provide exciting opportunities for students to explore and learn about their community through the lenses of cultural and natural history, and make meaningful contributions to a range of planning efforts. We plan to work closely with the Partnership for Change initiative currently unfolding at Burlington High School.
Students from UVM service-learning courses will continue to be involved with gathering data and developing interpretative materials related to the landscape. The overall goal of these service-learning courses is to engage with the city of Burlington as it seeks to implement a new sustainability planning initiative under the leadership of the Burlington Legacy Program and the ECOS Project of the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission. Student Research Websites: Teams of UVM graduate students researched four special Burlington locations during spring 2012 and have presented their work in these websites:
Waterfront, Rock Point, Intervale, and Englesby Brook.
Students from UVM service-learning courses will continue to be involved with gathering data and developing interpretative materials related to the landscape. The overall goal of these service-learning courses is to engage with the city of Burlington as it seeks to implement a new sustainability planning initiative under the leadership of the Burlington Legacy Program and the ECOS Project of the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission.
Student Research Websites: Teams of UVM graduate students researched four special Burlington locations during spring 2012 and have presented their work in these websites:
Burlington Geographic will also engage a range of other key UVM partners:
Center for Teaching & Learning
Gund Institute for Ecological Economics
Office of Sustainability
Office of Community-University Partnerships & Service-Learning
UVM Library Special Collections
Landscape Change Program
Center for Research on Vermont
Center for Rural Studies
Historic Preservation Program
Residential Learning Communities
Burlington Geographic will also provide an important integrative context for curriculum enhancement in UVM’s Sustainability Faculty Fellows (SFF) Program. Now in its 4th year, with over 50 fellows from 15 departments, the training has evolved a distinctive emphasis on the importance of place-based systems analysis and engagement in designing effective sustainability education initiatives. We envision fellows from various disciplines bringing their expertise and student energy to bear on investigating the sub-systems (e.g., food, transportation, education, architectural, hydrologic, political, energy) of the place we call Burlington, and weaving them together to create a deeper understanding of the whole system.
PLACE is working to establish a sustainability education network of university-community places and organizations committed to supporting place-based landscape analysis as a central framework for integrative scholarship, academic exchange, K-12 school curriculum enhancement, community planning, and environmental stewardship. We are currently partnering with the town of Adjuntas in the Central Mountains of Puerto Rico (see a Tale of Two Forests) and Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.
PLACE (Place-based Landscape Analysis & Community Engagement) is a community outreach program developed by the University of Vermont and Shelburne Farms with the goal of applying landscape analysis and whole systems thinking to fostering a sense of place and a sustainable future in local communities. By showcasing partnerships, infusing energy and ideas, motivating educators and town/city officials, and forging and deepening relationships, the program staff seeks to engage the whole community in a celebration of place.