This time last year, a small, dedicated group of Extension and Sea Grant stormwater professionals were getting ready to launch the Green Infrastructure Community of Practice (GI CoP), a platform dedicated to bringing together partners working to promote and support green infrastructure practices in our communities across the region.
Looking back, what a year it has been! The GI CoP has grown to a robust group of participants who meet monthly, collaborate on proposals, and share resources regularly. “The regular Green Infrastructure Community of Practice meetings serve as a valuable resource for us at DuPage County,” says DuPage County Water Quality Supervisor, Mary Beth Falsey. “They allow us to not only learn from, but also collaborate with, similar groups in the region and beyond. We all have a shared mission, and work toward accomplishing that.”
The GI CoP has tackled such topics as green infrastructure and diversity, equity, and inclusion; green infrastructure as a tool for climate-change related disaster mitigation; and operation and maintenance best practices for community green infrastructure installations. University of Illinois Water Quality Specialist, Eliana Brown, who also serves on the GI CoP steering committee, notes “The CoP is a great way to get to know GI colleagues in other states, learn about their programs, and apply their experience to benefit my own work.”
At upcoming meetings, the GI CoP will be exploring partnerships with the National Sea Grant Water Resources Visioning Team and hearing about lessons learned through relationship building around water quality and green infrastructure in Michigan. “We will also be taking time to check in with the people who participate,” says Lisa Merrifield, University of Illinois Extension Sustainable Communities Specialist and GI CoP facilitator. “The one-year mark is a good time to take stock of what is working and think about how to be even more supportive and useful in our second year.”
With roughly 30 regular participants from around the region, and almost 100 on our list serve, the GI CoP has a robust list of projects, tools, and resources from partner programs that will soon be available on the NCRWN’s Green Infrastructure page. We will also soon have links to our archives so you can see past presentations, topics, and links.