Summer of Solutions in Burlington, Vermont

As communications director for Summer of Solutions, I’m featuring every program to paint a picture of the diversity of solutions young people are building across the country. This post will feature the amazing work happening in Burlington, VT and the dynamic leaders there.

There are seven projects happening this summer in Burlington. Some are continuations/expansions of last summer’s programs, and others are completely new.

The Programs: There are seven basic contiguous programs set to run this summer. Here’s a sampling of four programs:

1. Vermont Sustainable Heating Initiative

Last summer, participants worked with the Vermont Sustainable Heating Initiative to bring pellet-stove heating systems to low-income households. They received a grant for $20,000 to buy and install pellet stoves. Over the year, Tom and Beth Tailor have been keeping in touch with/checking up on recipients of the stoves. There are currently 15 different stoves in 2 counties in the state (Addison and Washington).

This summer, they are applying for another grant to expand this project. The program participants will continue the process of bringing pellet stoves to low-income households, and will be ahead of the learning curve, picking up the project after a year of research.

2. Bio-Fuel Feasibility study for Chittenden County

The program leaders received $25,000 in federal money, and $5,000 in local funding. This study will be researching the feasibility of starting a pellet manufacturing co-op in Chittenden County. Tom said that while it’s great to give pellet stoves to low-income people, a whole systems change also means a way to provide jobs. In particular, the manufacturing plant would be aimed at producing grass-based pellets, as a more sustainable pellet than wood.

3.  Passive Community Refrigerator/Freezer

Construction of a passive refrigerator freezer  construction for community use using W(n)IMBY {Why not  In My Back Yard}. The passive community freezer will freeze 2000 two liter soda bottles next winter and use them to keep the freezer cold year round.  It will be made in part out of recycled and natural materials. Construction of eatible landscape, including localavore rabbit warren, and sustainable gardens.

4. Vermont Engineering Summer Camp at UVM

Another aspect of the program involves educating high school students about green engineering. Last summer, Summer of Solutions program participants taught for a week at the Vermont Engineering Summer Program. According to Beth and Tom, this was one of the most fun aspects of the summer, and they are looking to partner as trainers again.

Last year, SoS participants and high school students built a small-scale, working windmill. This summer, a new strand of the engineering camp will focus on the engineering aspects of de-commissioning a nuclear plant.

The other three projects include starting a rabbit colony for meat and yarn, a permaculture garden, and a community garden.

To apply as a participant to Summer of Solutions – Burlington, go here:

For more information, contact Tom and Beth Tailer at: tbtailer [@] hotmail[.]com

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