U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division

Community Involvement Training Conference

These sessions are from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Community Involvement Training Conference which is held biennially at various locations. This dynamic conference brings together more than 400 people from EPA and its federal, state, tribal, and local partners who plan and implement environmental community involvement, partnership, stewardship, outreach, and education programs.

If you have any questions about the conference or these sessions, please contact Laura Knudsen at knudsen.laura@epa.gov. Thank you!

2015 Conference - Making a Visible Difference in Communities

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

  • Plenary Session
    Tuesday morning's plenary session will begin with a welcome by the EPA Region 4 Administrator, Heather McTeer Toney, followed by a speech from the Mayor of Atlanta, the Honorable Kasim Reed.

    These remarks will be followed by a community panel on the topic of "Making a Visible Difference in Communities." This panel will be moderated by Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice, Mustafa Ali. Panelists include, Na'Taki Osborne Jelks, Co-Founder of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance; Ralph McCullers, Environmental Director of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians; Deborah Scott, Executive Director of STAND-UP -A Think and Act Tank for Working Communities; and Harold Mitchell, Founder of ReGenesis.

    View Recording (1hr 28min)
  • Leveraging Small Business Capacity
    Presenters: Joan Rogers, Kimberly Patrick, Paula Hoag, Jennifer Tilden, Teree Henderson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Small Business Programs

    This small business development session will feature a round of panelists split into four different areas of focus. The panelists will help local community practitioners understand how to leverage small business capacity for a stronger community. Attendees will learn how to access resources focused on starting and building a business, complying with environmental regulations, obtaining EPA and other federal grant dollars, as well as developing a sustainability plan specifically for small businesses. After each focus area, there will be time available to engage with the presenters and talk about local issues or constraints unique to the Atlanta, Georgia, area.

    Panel Focus Areas

    • Starting and Building Your Small Business. Atlanta Small Business Administration (SBA) resources and training; SBA's Georgia District Office (Jennifer Tilden, SBA)
    • Complying with EPA Regulations. Understanding, complying with and finding support for EPA regulations; EPA's Asbestos Small Business Ombudsman (Joan B. Rogers, EPA)
    • Greening your Small Business. A guided approach to greening specifically for small business; EPA's Office of Small Business Programs (Paula Hoag, EPA)
    • EPA Grant Funding Opportunities. The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise rule and understanding the EPA grant funding process; EPA's Office of Small Business Programs (Teree Henderson, EPA)

    Download Presentation for Joan Rogers (PDF) (16 pp, 1.9MB)
    Download Presentation for Teree Henderson (PDF) (18 pp, 734KB)
    Download Presentation for Paula Hoag (PDF) (25 pp, 1.2MB)
    Download Presentation for Jennifer Tilden (PDF) (24 pp, 731KB)
    View Adobe Connect Recording (1 hr 13 min)

  • Taking Science to the Streets: Leveraging Local Knowledge for Community Change
    Presenters: Na'Taki Osborne-Jelks and Darryl Haddock, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance; Tony Torrence, Community Improvement Association

    This session will describe ongoing, successful community/citizen science efforts in Northwest Atlanta's Proctor Creek Watershed in which community residents are using community science to augment expert knowledge to improve environmental problem-solving and address health disparities. Proctor Creek used to be a source of pride for Northwest Atlanta communities—a place where children played, people fished, and people were baptized. Today, however, Proctor Creek is highly impacted by pollution and other stressors and does not meet its designated use for fishing. Many of the watershed's residents, who are primarily African American, experience social and economic disparities. Recently designated by EPA as an Urban Waters Federal Partnership site, this once "forgotten" area of Atlanta is now the subject of intense focus from multiple government stakeholders, academic institutions, local and national nonprofits, and private developers, in addition to residents and community organizations that have invested decades of sweat equity and activism to revitalize the watershed. Watershed residents want to ensure that solutions sought by government and private organizations are driven by community needs and include authentic engagement and collaborative problem-solving.

    Specifically, this session will highlight three related yet distinct community/citizen science projects in which local, community knowledge has been leveraged and the capacity of watershed residents to engage in scientific research increased while empowering residents with tools to speak the language of decision-makers and influence local policy and practice to mitigate environmental risks, decrease potential vulnerabilities, and improve environmental quality and quality of life in the watershed.

    Download Presentation (PDF) (37 pp, 4.7MB)
    View Adobe Connect Recording (1 hr 25 min)

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

  • Using Focused Conversations/Guided Discussion as an Early Outreach Tool
    Presenters: Diane Russell, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5; Doug Sarno, Forum Facilitation Group, David Sommers, Saginaw-Tittabawassee Rivers Contamination Community Advisory Group

    Guided Discussion, also known as Focused Conversation, is a community involvement tool that provides meaningful information to the project team and also gives communities an opportunity to explore challenging issues early in the cleanup process. In this session, we will explore how to design and use this tool to engage the community early at a values level, and discuss how we can incorporate best practices for public participation into the Superfund process. Participants will have the opportunity to explore and discuss how such tools might be applicable to the challenges they are facing at their sites.

    Diane Russell, EPA Region 5 Community Involvement Coordinator, will provide an overview of an EPA project that utilized this tool and helped EPA propose a cleanup plan that integrated community thoughts and values learned from community discussions. Doug Sarno, a leader in public participation and group facilitation, will then discuss the tools design and best practice. The presentation will conclude with thoughts from a participant of the community discussion, Dave Sommers, the President of the Saginaw-Tittabawassee Rivers Contamination Community Advisory Group.

    After the presentation, session participants will engage in an interactive exercise where they will practice the use of this tool at a mock cleanup site. Participants will discuss trade-offs that come with various cleanup options and explore community values from differing perspectives. The session will conclude with a panel/participant discussion on the exercise and lessons learned.

    Download Presentation (PDF) (46 pp, 7.0MB)
    View Adobe Connect Recording (1 hr 32 min)

  • Planning for Long-Distance Engagement
    Presenters: Margaret Ross, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center; Laura Knudsen, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER); Kay Morrison, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10; Alexander Mandell, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 3; Jason Gershowitz, Kearns & West

    Short on travel funds or time but still want to conduct community engagement? Have you ever considered long - distance engagement? The purpose of this session is to inform EPA staff and stakeholders about new planning tools for community engagement in situations where travel opportunities are minimal. OSWER's Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation, Community Involvement and Program Initiatives Branch has been working with the EPA Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center to develop guides to assist community involvement coordinators, public affairs specialists, and other EPA staff working with communities in planning for and executing community engagement using a variety of collaborative technologies. This session will include a presentation of a guide of currently available technologies and how to access them, a planning guide for online meetings, and a planning guide for hybrid (in person and online) meetings.

    Download Presentation (PDF) (31 pp, 1.1MB)
    View Adobe Connect Recording (1 hr 32 min)

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • Plenary Session
    Thursday morning's plenary session will begin with a welcome by Anne Heard, Deputy Regional Administrator, U.S. EPA Region 4.

    This welcome will be followed by presentations from Nathaniel Smith, Founder and Chief Equity Officer (CEqO/CEO), Partnership for Southern Equity, and Mildred McClain, Co-founder and Executive Director of Harambee House/Citizens for Environmental Justice.

    The Plenary Session will conclude with closing remarks from Gregory Green, Division Director of U.S. EPA Office of Air and Radiation, at which point the OAR will hand the conference over to Matthew Tejada, Director of the U.S. EPA's Office of Environmental Justice, who will chair the 2017 Conference.

    View Recording (1hr 14min)

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2013 Conference - The Next Generation of Community Involvement

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

  • Opening: Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the U.S. EPA
    View Adobe Connect Presentation (opens in a new window)

  • Keynote Presentation: Jeanne DuBois, Executive Director of Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation
    View Adobe Connect Presentation (opens in a new window)
    Download Presenation (PDF) (35 pp, 7.75MB)

  • Coastal Cultural Collaboration in the Gullah/Geechee Nation
    Presenters: Chief Queen Quet Marquetta Goodwine, Carlie Towne, and Glenda Simmons-Jenkins; Gullah/Geechee Nation
    Topic Area: Cultural Diversity, Cultural Competency, and Environmental Justice; Non-traditional Community Involvement Strategies; and Facilitating Effective Collaboration
    Level: All levels

    The Gullah/Geechee Nation exists from Jacksonville, North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida. This unique African based cultural group is inextricably tied to the land and the Intercoastal Waterway. Thus, since chattel enslavement to the present time, this group has developed methods of cultural sustainability and worked on living in balance and harmony with the environment. That lifestyle has come to be encroached upon due to various types of environmental damage ranging from overbuilding to overharvesting of the waterways due to climate change. The mechanisms of adaptability that the Gullah/Geechee Nation has developed are not called upon by those creating the environmental protection legislation and most of the Gullah/Geechee population has not been brought into the circles of environmental justice (EJ). Thus, where there are brownfields, Superfund sites, and other toxic areas in the more urbanized areas of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, the native people of this culture are often left to suffer without realizing what is infecting their communities. Meanwhile on the Sea Islands, the Gullah/Geechee traditionalists that live from the land and the waterways can see the steady erosion happening before them, but have no means to come to the table with the people within the governmental agencies that have mandates to restore and protect these lands. This session will help all those that would like to connect with more diverse groups to be able to learn methods that will bridge the communications gap between indigenous and minority groups and others in the EJ community.

    View on YouTube: http://youtu.be/XJw_6WVARv8

  • Koppers: What Would You Do? - Chaos to Communication
    Presenters: Latonya Spencer and Scott Miller, Region 4, U.S. EPA
    Topic Area: Communication and Collaboration through Technology
    Level: All levels

    This session, using a little humor along the way, presents a case study of EPA's community involvement efforts at the Koppers Superfund Site. The presenters will show YouTube videos produced by the community to describe various aspects of Superfund and their message(s) and communication to us; discuss how we responded to the variety of efforts they used to communicate (good and bad) with us; describe what we did to recover trust and communication with the community, local officials, Potentially Responsible Party (PRP); and present lessons learned.

    Download Presentation (PDF) (3 pp, 391KB)
    View Adobe Connect Presentation (opens in a new window)

  • Outreach and Environmental Justice Tactics for Connecting with Hispanic Communities
    Presenters: Jose Redmond Giron and Jonathan Essoka, Region 3, U.S. EPA
    Topic Area: Communication and Collaboration through Technology; Cultural Diversity, Cultural Competency, and Environmental Justice; Non-traditional Community Involvement Strategies; and Facilitating Effective Collaboration
    Level: All levels

    Teaching Our Future: Participants will be inspired by this 2-year outreach project launched by EPA Region 3. Through non-traditional, non-regulatory approaches, this EPA team sought to teach elementary students in North Philadelphia the language of science. The school ranges from kindergarten to 4th grade and enrolls an average of about 290 children, 94% of whom are Hispanic. Through hands on mentoring and guidance, the R3 team helped to set up a school recycling program, construct an on-site urban garden, hold conferences in support of the science curriculum, present scientific disciplines to the children as career options, introduce them to EPA (who we are and what we do) and present the children with multi-ethnic role models. In the second part of this presentation, participants will engage in a dialogue with the presenters to explore innovative approaches to engaging redevelopment stakeholders in understanding and adopting successful outreach, specifically focused on Environmental Justice (EJ) issues. The current climate necessitates that the land redevelopment community, consisting of academic, developer, financial and local government representatives, actively involve residents whose neighborhoods are targeted for redevelopment, in the planning and decision-making process. Discussion will center on how outreach and EJ principles can be applied to Lehigh Valley, an ethnically diverse region with a large Hispanic population whose ability to successfully do outreach is saddled by reoccurring issues due to language barriers, lack of trust, and cultural differences. The presentation also will touch on methods to encourage community members to participate in planning processes by creating authentic bonds, valuing local knowledge, and shaping projects that clearly demonstrate value to residents.

    View Adobe Connect Presentation (opens in a new window)
    Download Presentation 1 (PDF) (13 pp, 2.89MB)
    Download Presentation 2 (PDF) (3 pp, 2.89MB)
    Download Presentation 3 (PDF) (2 pp, 316KB)
    Download Presentation 4 (PDF) (7 pp, 3.18MB)

  • Working Effectively with Locally Elected Officials
    Presenters: Mark Rupp, Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations, U.S. EPA; Doug Gutro, Region 1, U.S. EPA; The Honorable Bill Finch, Mayor, Bridgeport, CT; The Honorable Lisa Wong, Mayor, Fitchburg, MA; and Jay Ash, City Manager, Chelsea, MA
    Topic Area: Facilitating Effective Collaboration
    Level: Intermediate

    A clear understanding of what local governments do and how they work is an important first step in making valuable links between the community and its local government. A stronger understanding between local government and community groups will help develop partnerships to build healthy and environmentally safe communities. This workshop will explore ways to build a process that works toward building a common goal: to strengthen the social, environmental and economic well-being of a community.

    This 90-minute presentation will provide practical guidance and training on the public engagement process with locally elected officials. Participants will learn the importance of including elected officials in the loop, using their networks as a facilitative outreach for engaging communities throughout the process, and maintaining a continued informational loop. The participants will hear from locally elected officials and engage them in dialogue on how best to work with a fact pattern to simulate different perspectives and learning styles. Local officials will provide stories and tools to assist the participants in analyzing and formulating the best strategies to use in each situation. Participants in the program will help design outreach strategies for working with locally elected officials. This workshop also will utilize case studies that will illustrate the learning points and help participants to more thoroughly grasp concepts.

    View Adobe Connect Presentation (opens in a new window)

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

  • Promoting Community Involvement on Little to No Outreach Budget
    Presenter: Karen Edwards, Water Security Division, U.S. EPA; and Matthew Everett, CSC
    Topic Area: Communication and Collaboration through Technology; Non-traditional Community Involvement Strategies; and Facilitating Effective Collaboration
    Level: All levels

    Budgets are tight and everyone needs low- or no-cost methods to engage communities and encourage involvement in voluntary programs. EPA's Water Security Division is blazing ahead on the multimedia front by using a variety of innnovative no-cost and low-cost strategies to reach stakeholders and engage partners. Whether you're promoting water resiliency, environmental protection, or any other community-based program; this workshop is for you!

    Learn the difference between blogs, Tweets, Facebook status updates, and other communication platforms ? and how to use them to promote your efforts. Find out who is using what types of technology and what it is that appeals to different demographics about each. See some of the many ways the Water Security Division is successfully reaching drinking water and wastewater utilities, and the communities they serve, to promote water preparedness and climate resilience; including: Tweets about the Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool; a YouTube video about Community-Based Water Resiliency; and blogs promoting water preparedness and resiliency during Severe Storm and Hurricane Preparedness Weeks. We will also share information on an internal multimedia outreach guide that can be used as a model for others who want to use a range of multimedia tools.

    Register for this exciting training session to hear and see how we capitalize on these innovative new tools to reach our audience and learn how you can promote your programs on a shoe-string budget, too!

    View Adobe Connect Presentation (opens in a new window)

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2011 Conference - Community Involvement in the 21st Century: Embracing Diversity, Expanding Engagement, Utilizing Technology

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

  • CARE - A Model for Community-Based Environmental Problem Solving
    Presenters: Michael Wenstrom and Marva King, U.S. EPA; and Charlie Chase, University of Colorado
    Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

    This session will describe results achieved by EPA's Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) grant program in community-based research. You will learn from the experience of more than 70 communities how the CARE model has helped them to understand and change their environment. Using the CARE experience, we will show you how to effectively form local partnerships, conduct research, and implement solutions to reduce neighborhood pollution.

    The Agency created this innovative grant program to assist a community as it determines for itself what environmental problems are present and important. CARE helps a community, financially and technically, assess its environmental and public health issues and works to resolve the issues identified through management by a local organization or department. Thus far, CARE has funded more than 90 projects across the nation to engage in this process, reaching 10 to 20 new communities annually.

    View Adobe Connect Presentation (opens in a new window)
    Download CARE Presentation (PDF) (29 pp, 2.42MB)
    Download The CARE Roadmap Handout (PDF) (20 pp, 3.31MB)

  • Creating, Collecting, and Telling Our Stories: Tools for Multi-Stakeholder Engagement
    Presenters: Ogonnaya Dotson-Newman, WE ACT for Environmental Justice; and Judy Hatcher, Environmental Support Center
    Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

    You do not have to be a scientist or a researcher to find and use statistical information about your community. Harlem's WE ACT for Environmental Justice created an "Environmental Health Report Card" as a tool for advocacy and organizing. The Report Card combines health surveys, data from city, state, and national agencies, and common sense. In this session, we will examine how WE ACT developed and uses the Report Card, and look at ways other community groups around the country are using surveys, GIS, and related tools in their environmental work. We will also explore what resources are out there to help you get started, and what skills you might need to use these types of tools.

    View Adobe Connect Presentation (opens in a new window)
    Download Tools for Multi-Stakeholder Engagement Presentation (PDF) (5pp, 356KB)
    Download Tools for Multi-Stakeholder Engagement Handout (PDF) (6pp, 0.10MB)

  • Expanding Engagement in Large Public Comment/Listening Forums
    Presenters: Adam Saslow and Nora Chiong, Plexus Logistics International; and Curt Gervich, State University of New York, College at Plattsburgh
    Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

    In recent months, EPA has convened several large, highly contested, and visible public comment/listening sessions. Public comment sessions regarding the issuance of a mountaintop removal permit at the Spruce #1 mine in West Virginia, as well as a national series of listening sessions on the design of a hydraulic fracturing research study, serve as examples of these forums. Each comment/listening session involved between 500 and 1,500 people. Attendees held diverse opinions and perspectives at the core-value levels and all participants were committed and passionate.

    Our team of facilitators was responsible for designing and guiding these sessions. This workshop presents our lessons learned from this experience. During our presentation, we will discuss the unique challenges associated with holding large forums and managing dialogue when the topics are highly charged and the interests polarized. Key challenges included: managing participants' expectations; early communication with EPA and stakeholder groups; overcoming public perceptions; creating a safe environment where all perspectives can be shared; logistics management; and safety and security. In addition to presenting what we learned from coordinating these sessions, our presentation will identify best practices and new models for carrying out large, hotly contested comment/listening events in the future. Our goals are to make these events more effective at expanding engagement in EPA's decision-making processes and meeting the needs of stakeholders, the Agency, and the natural environment.

    View Adobe Connect Presentation (opens in a new window)
    Download Expanding Engagement Presentation (PDF) (5pp, 0.33MB)
    Download Expanding Engagement Handout (PDF) (2pp, 0.81MB)

  • State of the Practice and Planning: The 2011 Public Participation Summit
    Presenters: Doug Sarno, Forum Facilitation Group, LLC; and James Creighton, Creighton & Creighton, Inc.
    Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

    As we end the first decade of the 21st century, the practice of public participation has been undergoing significant changes: adjusting to changing social conditions, responding to political realities, and incorporating a wide range of exciting new technologies. The new U.S. affiliate of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) is planning a summit of senior P2 professionals in the fall of 2011 to explore how the Obama Administration's P2 Initiatives have been carried out, assess progress, and design improved processes for moving forward. EPA has been at the forefront of the Administration's current participation initiative. As the CIC, we will present some of the latest trends and activities in P2 gathered from practitioners throughout the federal government and discuss how they have been implemented and the results to date. Audience members will participate in an interactive dialogue to explore how the Administration's initiatives have changed public participation within EPA. Focus will be placed on the range of activities and tools being used, the intensity of participation, and, specifically, the outcomes and influence of public input on decisions and actions of the Agency. Participants will help identify important needs in making positive improvements in public participation. The results of this workshop will help shape the planned summit meeting.

    View Adobe Connect Presentation (opens in a new window)
    Download 2011 Public Participation Summit Presentation (PDF) (16 pp, 0.65MB)

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

  • Wednesday Morning Plenary Session

    This plenary included a panel session, moderated by Bruce Engelbert, to assess the state of "One EPA" in terms of community engagement across EPA. The panel discussion specifically showcased current efforts of several EPA program offices including, the Office of Air and Radiation (OAR), the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER), and the Office of Water (OW). Panel members included:

    • Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, U.S. EPA
    • Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, U.S. EPA
    • Nancy Stoner, Acting Assistant Administrator, Office of Water, U.S. EPA
    • Joseph Goffman, Senior Counsel, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. EPA

    Each panelist briefly summarized the progress their office and the Agency are making toward "One EPA" in terms of community engagement. After hearing from each program official, the panelists answered questions from the audience.

    View Adobe Connect Presentation (opens in a new window)

  • Community Engagement in Breaking the Cycle of Environmental Health Disparities
    Presenters: I. Leslie Rubin, SE PEHSU at Emory University; Pamela Maxson, Children's Environmental Health InitiativeAaron Hilliard, Duval County Health Dept.; and David Wood, UF College of Medicine-JacksonvilleGretchen Kroeger, Children's Environmental Health Initiative
    Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

    This session focuses on community engagement to improve our understanding of the concept of the Cycle of Environmental Health Disparities by researching the environmental factors that adversely affect health and developing strategies to provide information, education, and empowerment to the community to improve the health and well-being of children and their families. This session offers three different models from health centers in three states, each with a program that demonstrates the process for developing an understanding of the factors involved in creating environmental health disparities or inequalities and how the goals of reducing these inequalities can be achieved. The session demonstrates how actively involving the community in the process of planning, designing, and executing programs can increase overall community awareness, empower the members of the community to become involved in the solution, and cultivate a leadership that is informed, receptive, and forward-thinking. The models include an understanding and appreciation of the "built environment" (human-made surroundings) and how factors in the "built environment" can adversely affect health, particularly in the areas of pregnancy outcomes (prematurity and low birth weight) and health indicators (obesity and asthma). Other models look at the challenges of communities living on or near Superfund sites where toxic waste from industrial pollution, directly or indirectly, has affected the health of underserved, low-income, vulnerable communities that are predominantly represented by minority populations.

    Download Community Engagement Presentation (PDF) (38 pp, 2.15MB)
    View Adobe Connect Presentation (opens in a new window)

  • Engaging Diverse Communities Through Mediation: Superfund on Tribal Lands and Environmental Justice
    Presenters: Anna Abbey, U.S. EPA; and Teresa Michelsen, Mediation Solutions
    Topic Area: Embracing Diversity      Level: Intermediate

    Mediation and facilitation are excellent tools in bringing people together to ease tensions, build trust, and help move all parties toward resolution. This can be especially helpful when working with Tribal and environmental justice communities that often are dealing with intense environmental issues and a long history of mistrust and neglect. This presentation will look at the use of mediation to engage diverse communities and examine its use in depth through the results of the report, "Superfund on Tribal Lands: Issues, Challenges and Solutions." The study was done in late 2010, by the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center, on seven Superfund sites where at least one tribe had substantial involvement and a mediation process was carried out. We will review the results, and look at the issues that were most important to the tribes interviewed, where tension commonly arose, and how mediation was used to improve engagement.

    In addition, we will explore the use of mediation/facilitation in a broader environmental justice context, share available EPA resources, and engage the participants in thinking about next steps through small group and plenary discussions.

    View Adobe Connect Presentation (opens in a new window)
    Download Engaging Diverse Communities Presentation (PDF) (11 pp, 0.31MB)

  • Obstacles to Community Involvement: Hidden Agendas and Dirty Tricks
    Presenter: Carol Forrest, Rose Hill Communications, Inc.
    Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Advanced

    Concerns that arise in regard to siting, permitting, or even the investigation and cleanup of contaminated sites don't always originate solely from legitimate stakeholders, such as neighbors, local officials, or members of environmental advocacy groups. Indeed, stakeholder dialogues at the local level can be swayed and seriously compromised by the intrusion of industry front groups, the machinations of plaintiffs' attorneys, or the unwarranted politicization of environmental issues by organizations or persons seeking to achieve some undisclosed advantage. The toll that "hidden agendas and dirty tricks" take on stakeholder dialogues can be considerable.

    This session will explore how some organizations or persons use front groups, deliberate misinformation campaigns, and other dirty tricks on the local level to advance their own hidden agendas—to the detriment of honest community involvement and stakeholder dialogues—regardless of whether these agendas involve crippling business competitors, gaining local political advantage, or winning lawsuits of dubious merit. Far from rare, the use of dirty tricks appears to be on the rise, despite increased media exposure of these under-handed tactics.

    In addition to describing dirty tricks and learning how to look for "the man (or woman) behind the curtain," this session will examine hidden-agenda cases and explore how community involvement practitioners can minimize the noxious effects on local community involvement efforts of the less-than-forthright claims of parties motivated by undisclosed financial or political gain.

    View Adobe Connect Presentation (opens in a new window)
    Download Hidden Agendas and Dirty Tricks Presentation (PDF) (7pp, 0.15MB)
    Download Hidden Agendas and Dirty Tricks Handout (PDF) (21pp, 297KB)

  • The Importance of Understanding Communication in Disaster Response and Recovery
    Presenter: Patricia Whitney, BISCO, Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing
    Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Introductory

    This session will begin with a presentation on the importance of understanding the culture of a community when responding to or recovering from a disaster. Participants also will learn possible strategies for using culture to effectively bring resources for response and recovery to communities. The presentation will use examples of both rural and urban communities of coastal Louisiana that were impacted by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike, as well as the BP Oil Spill Disaster and include discussions about what they did and lessons learned for the future.

    The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session with participants, and then a group discussion and spitfire or speed round on ideas or recommendations for future events. In the spitfire round, participants will be asked to present a short idea for disaster response or recovery based on their knowledge of their home communities.

    View Adobe Connect Presentation (opens in a new window)
    Download Disaster Response and Recovery Presentation (PDF) (11 pp, 1.24MB)
    Download Gumbo Handout (PDF) (1 pp, 0.15MB)

  • Using the Neighborhood Cohesion Calculator
    Presenter: Derek Chisholm, Parametrix
    Topic Area: Utilizing Technology      Level: Intermediate

    The Neighborhood Cohesion Calculator helps participating communities conduct an audit of the assets in neighborhoods though its use and outputs. The Calculator can be used to develop or refine neighborhood action plans and evaluate how major projects may impact neighborhoods.

    The Calculator is a flexible tool that can be customized to fit the needs of any community based on the characteristics of the area. When using the calculator, the user group will "tune" the calculator to mirror the community being assessed. The model that will be demonstrated in this session will utilize the following evaluation criteria.

    1. Gathering Places (schools, churches, parks, grocers)
    2. Activities (neighborhood associations meetings, block parties, neighborhood websites/newsletters)
    3. Planning (adopted neighborhood plans, city support to neighborhood associations, other planning efforts)
    4. Other characteristics (physical divisions within the neighborhood/community, population density)

    There is an alternate version of the model that is more focused on alternatives analysis. This version has less of a focus on neighborhood activities, and adds considerations necessary for alternative analysis, such as property displacements and construction duration.

    Session attendees will learn about neighborhood cohesion, major determinants, and how cohesion can be impacted by city programs and major projects. Through a live, hands-on demonstration, attendees will learn how to use the Calculator and will get a copy to take home and use in their community. The tool is available as a free download.

    View Adobe Connect Presentation (opens in a new window)
    Download Cohesion Calculator Presentation (PDF) (5pp, 0.29MB)

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Thursday, July 21

  • In the final plenary, Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Founder and President of DC-based AmericaSpeaks, talked about "Bringing Citizen Voices into Government." She illustrated, first through a short video presentation and then by drawing on a deep well of experience from working in the public sphere, how citizens can be effectively engaged and their values and priorities reflected in decision making. Based on her experience with AmericaSpeaks, Lukensmeyer has developed a civic engagement model that owes its success to seven underlying principles:

    • Linked to Decision Makers
    • Demographic Diversity
    • Informed Participation
    • Facilitated Deliberation
    • Discover Shared Priorities
    • Clear Recommendations for Action
    • Sustained Engagement

    Her experiences in organizing a national discussion on America's federal budget deficit and debt served as an example of the general public's ability to understand, deliberate on, and find areas of common ground around even the most polarizing policy issues. This information is transferrable across disciplines and directly relates to community engagement with respect to the environmental field.

    View Adobe Connect Presentation (opens in a new window)
    Download Carolyn Lukensmeyer (America Speaks) Presentation (PPT) (10pp, 1.93MB)
    Download Carolyn Lukensmeyer (America Speaks) Presentation (PDF) (10pp, 454KB)

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