Bedford 2020 Coalition: Survey to Gauge, Generate Participation

 

By Olivia H. Farr
Senior Vice President,
Bedford 2020

 

The Bedford 2020 Coalition (B2020) is a private nonprofit, representing over 120 local partner organizations, formed in December 2009 to play a leadership role in the Town of Bedford, NY’s efforts to become a sustainable community. 

Bedford Climate Action PlanB2020 is charged by the town with assisting in implementation of non-municipal actions in the Bedford Climate Action Plan (CAP) in February 2010, which committed our community to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020. Our strategy is to work with all community members, residents, schools, businesses, religious entities, and civic associations to raise awareness and to educate and motivate our community members to change behavior and reduce our community’s emissions.

Clean Air-Cool Planet’s Community Catalyst Fund enabled B2020 to hire a summer intern, Jesse Catalano, from Middlebury College to create a baseline survey for our residents, and to organize a “Call to Action” meeting to be held on January 29, 2011. Jesse played a major role in developing the content, designing, editing and formatting the online “Bedford 2020 Survey of Community Practices,” sent to all 6,500 Bedford homes in October 2010.

This survey has multiple purposes. It will establish a baseline of community behavior, attitudes and awareness with respect to environmental issues. This baseline will later serve as a measurement of progress and B2020’s effectiveness with respect to implementation of the CAP and our ability to change our community’s behavior.

Second, data from the survey will help B2020 prioritize projects and make informed decisions about how to allocate resources and target education. We will repeat the survey periodically to establish measurement and performance data and to track changed behavior with respect to energy use, waste reduction, transportation, and land use in addition to other environmental activities.

Third, the survey is an important first step in introducing Bedford 2020 and its goals to our community and beginning the process of building awareness of environmental concerns.  The survey will be followed by the January Call to Action meeting, where we will set forth our goals in detail, introduce our Task Force leaders and engage our community to help implement various projects detailed recommended by the CAP.

In addition to his work on the survey, Jesse also helped us develop and implement a strategic plan for our Call to Action meeting, which will be held on the two-year anniversary of our highly successful Bedford Environmental Summit, a one-day event with speakers, workshops and an expo that attracted more than 1,000 people.

The Town of Bedford learned in May that it was awarded $2.6 million from the Department of Energy and New York State Energy Research and Development Association. This required a delay in the official launch of the Home Energy Retrofit Program and the town-wide Call to Action meeting to January.

As the Call to Action meeting will be the launch of the Town’s Home Retrofit Program, B2020’s mobilization of our partners and community members to attend the meeting and sign up for the Retrofit program takes on added significance.  If all 6,500 Bedford homes sign up for a retrofit, our community could conceivably reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent quickly, almost achieving our goal of 20 percent by 2020.

The Call to Action Meeting will be a crucial step in building awareness, educating our community and providing opportunities to participate in the Home Energy Retrofit program.  We will invite all Bedford citizens, including our Summit partners, to this community engagement meeting where we will introduce B2020’s Board of Directors and the leaders of our ten Task Force areas, discuss the priorities set forth in our CAP and invite suggestions for achieving our goals.

We have also invited all the New York State Conservation representatives from the Garden Club of America to attend and hold their annual meeting simultaneously. Several of these clubs have used our “Summit in a Box” template to organize summits in their own communities. We would use this as an opportunity to share how other clubs might follow Bedford’s example in organizing their towns to take action on environmental issues.

The Community Catalyst Fund grant provided critical funding that enabled us to hire the assistance we needed to prepare, circulate and analyze the survey, as well as plan for the Call to Action meeting. These two projects are vital in B2020’s launch of a community-wide effort to create a sustainable town.  We are also very appreciative of the leverage the grant has provided to us as we approach other donors who feel more comfortable funding a project that has the support of respected, cutting-edge organizations like CA-CP.

CA-CP Homepage

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One Comment on “Bedford 2020 Coalition: Survey to Gauge, Generate Participation”


  1. I love reading your site because you can always get us new and cool stuff, I think that I should at least say a thank you for your hard work.

    - Henry


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