The Network’s Equitable Green Infrastructure team has been busy these last few months.
The team, which is led by Lisa Merrifield out of the University of Illinois Extension, is planning an Equitable Green Infrastructure Summit to bring Extension and Sea Grant professionals, local and state agency officials, NGOs, business representatives, and others together to collectively identify and prioritize opportunities to help communities use green infrastructure practices to reach their goals.
The summit, which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, April 28, 2020, was originally going to take place at the Illini Center in Chicago. With the growing COVID-19 outbreak and new state and university restrictions on gatherings and travel, the team got together to discuss a new plan of action for the summit and decided to host the summit virtually.
“We thought about postponing the summit, but the more we talked about it, the more we realized that one of the main goals of the summit is to get ideas from participants about what gaps and needs exist around implementing green infrastructure in equitable and just ways and how we as Extension and Sea Grant professionals can help address these gaps. And there is really no reason we can’t do that virtually,” notes Merrifield.
The event will take place virtually through Zoom and will be split into a morning session from 9:00AM -12:00PM CT and afternoon session from 12:45PM-3:30PM CT. It will feature time for participants to share their ideas and will feature key green infrastructure experts including Carla Walker of Think BIG Strategies, Tony Heath of the University of Illinois Extension, and Jane Gerdes of Peoria Public Works, among others.
The team has conducted 12 listening sessions and has plans to hold 3-5 more with communities across the region to better understand where green infrastructure programs currently exist or are being considered and how these programs address social equity and workforce development.
In addition to gathering participant ideas, the team plans to review the results of the listening sessions at the summit and use this as a jumping off point for the conversation on social equity and workforce development opportunities around green infrastructure.
The event is free, but registration is required. Registration is open until the event on the 28th.