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Session Abstracts/Materials

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  • Please provide us your feedback by filling out the conference evaluations, if you were unable to do so on-site or after streamed sessions.
  • Where available, links to recorded streamed sessions have been provided under session abstracts.

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Provided below are session abstracts of conference sessions. If available, session materials are provided as downloadable PDF files. Additionally, some of the 90-minute sessions were streamed using Adobe Connect. If an archive of the session was made, a link will be provided to view the streamed presentation.

The 2011 Community Involvement Training Conference Session Abstracts (PDF) (20 pp, 144KB) are also available for download.

Plenary Sessions

Tuesday, July 19: 8:15 - 9:45

The conference opened with a presentation by an Armed Forces Color Guard as well as a cappella vocalist from the U.S. Army Military who sang the national anthem. Next, as the host Regional EPA Office, Shawn M. Garvin, the Regional Administrator of EPA Region 3, welcomed participants to the conference and the Washington DC metropolitan area.

The highlight of the session was a keynote presentation by Tad McCall, an Associate with MBO Partners, and Lenny Siegel, the Executive Director of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight. During their discussion, which was titled, "Not-So-Strange Bedfellows," they explained, based upon two decades of experience, how stakeholders representing divergent interests can work together to solve common problems. For much of that period, McCall has been affiliated with the Defense Department; Siegel has been a community activist. The ingredients of successful partnerships between seemingly adversarial parties include:

  • Transparency, with opportunities for frank, private discussions
  • Mutual respect, including the recognition by officials that impacted communities have their own expertise
  • Patience
  • Recognition that some problems need to be resolved at the policy or funding level at the same time local decisions are being made
  • Sending informed, empowered officials to meet with the public
  • Recognition that divergent interests may be orthogonal, not adversarial
  • The importance of affirmative leadership, which can manifest itself in many ways, but which is always built on belief in the worthiness of the problem-solving effort
  • Shaping the process to the scope of the issue and number of stakeholders, including the establishment of sub-groups and plenary committees

McCall and Siegel drew upon their experiences working together, beginning with what became the Federal Facilities Environmental Restoration Dialogue Committee and most recently through the Renewable Energy Siting discussions. They discussed the opportunities and challenges presented by advances in communication technology. New technology can accelerate information sharing and improve transparency, but it enhances the risks of violated confidentiality and rushed decision-making. Technology must be harnessed to enable stakeholders to build consensus based on genuine appreciation for the other parties' positions.

Download Tuesday's Plenary Session Presentation (PDF) (9pp, 1.02MB)

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Wednesday, July 20: 9:40 - 11:10

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:

  • Gina McCarthy, Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. EPA
  • 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
  • Dr. Ellen Gilinsky, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Water, 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 Streamed Wednesday Plenary Session (90 Minutes) exit EPA
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Thursday, July 21: 8:00 - 9:00

During 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.

Download Thursday's Plenary Session Presentation (PDF) (8pp, 0.70MB)

View Streamed Thursday Plenary Session (90 Minutes) exit EPA
Stream freezes around 1 hr 16 minutes.

Following Dr. Lukensmeyer's presentation, the winners of the two Poster Session awards were announced. Best Overall Award was presented to Wilmarie Rivera, Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board for her poster, "Munitions Awareness Education Campaign for Children on Vieques Island, Puerto Rico." The People's Choice Award was presented to Carolyn Hunter, Tetra Tech EM, Inc. for her poster, "Can You Hear Me Now? Transparent Communication at Work in an Emergency Response." Closing remarks were offered by Sarah Wolters, New Mexico Community Foundation; Kyle Newman, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the
Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) Community Involvement Focus Group Chair; and Yolanda Sanchez, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Program Manager for Community Involvement University.

Note: The presentation below was referenced in Dr. Lukensmeyer's presentation, and is now available for download (feel free to change as necessary).
Download Carolyn Lukensmeyer (America Speaks) Presentation (PDF) (10pp, 454KB)

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Information Sessions

Presented below are abstracts for all information and training sessions, organized by session date and time. Downloadable files, if available, are provided after each abstract.

Tuesday, July 19

Wednesday, July 20 Thursday, July 21

Tuesday, July 19: 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. (90-Minute Information Sessions)

Community Involvement Plan of the Year — Enhanced Engagement through Innovation
Presenters: David Cooper and Yolanda Sanchez, U.S. EPA
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

Community Involvement Plans (CIPs) outline a site-specific strategy to enable meaningful community involvement throughout the Superfund cleanup process. This seminar will present new concepts to develop CIPs and strategies for using a team approach. The award-winning 2010 CIP-of-the-Year will be presented as both a learning tool and a springboard to illustrate EPA Headquarters' new CIP tool in the Community Involvement Toolkit. The seminar will present how CIPs are supported by EPA guidance and regulations and further the goals of the Community Engagement Initiative (CEI). The presenters will facilitate the group through a discussion on personal experience in crafting and implementing effective CIPs. The presentation highlights the innovative techniques and structure of the CIP-of-the-Year and provides a broader view of effective community engagement that applies to all EPA programs.

One of the presenters is a 15-year veteran of Community Involvement at the regional level with extensive experience in private, fund-lead, and federal facilities sites. The other presenter is an EPA headquarters CEI Action Plan Leader who helped craft the revised CIP tool. The presentation is structured for participants with experience in developing CIPs or other comprehensive communication strategies. However, because the session is about the pending EPA CIP tool revision in the Community Involvement Toolkit, the information is applicable for all community engagement practitioners, from new to experienced.

Download CI Plan of the Year Presentation (PDF) (34 pp, 1.13MB)

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Expanding Community Engagement through Environmental Health Fairs
Presenters: Bill Little, U.S. EPA; Darcie Olexia, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals; and Lorraine Jameson, CH2M Hill, Inc.
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

Health impacts are a leading concern of stakeholders who live near hazardous waste sites, especially those in medically underserved communities. As such, it is essential to proactively recognize that health issues are a concern and develop outreach efforts that respond to them.

In 2009, EPA Region 6 addressed community health concerns at the Devil's Swamp Lake site in Louisiana by hosting an Environmental Health Fair, the first of its kind for Region 6. More than 110 community members attended the fair. Twenty-six local partners provided an array of free services.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality partnered with local branches of national agencies, including the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association.

The fair promoted two-way communication between community members and EPA and its local partners, and provided opportunities for meaningful and active involvement by the community on environmental issues. As the U.S. EPA continues to explore new avenues to more fully engage local communities, Environmental Health Fairs can be a valuable addition to the traditional Community Involvement Toolkit.

This session will highlight details of EPA Region 6's successful effort and provide participants with the tools to organize and conduct a successful event.

Download Expanding Community Engagement Presentation (PDF) (9 pp, 0.91MB)

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OSWER's Community Engagement Initiative: Authentic and Meaningful Public Participation in EPA Waste Programs
Presenters: Ellen Manges and Sarah Gallagher, U.S. EPA
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: All Audiences

Through the Community Engagement Initiative (CEI), EPA Regions and the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) are working to provide communities with clear information and frequent opportunities to meaningfully participate in environmental cleanups and the management of hazardous substances.

Over the last year, OSWER programs and EPA Regions have made significant progress to enhance and integrate community engagement in waste program activities. During this session, EPA representatives will discuss program-specific implementation plans and achievements related to community engagement, including:

  • Community Involvement Planning
  • Technical Assistance
  • Risk Communication
  • Delivery of Information
  • Training for Key Personnel and Project Teams
  • Brownfields Area-Wide Planning
  • OSWER Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program

Participants in this session will be able to provide feedback and ideas on these issues. CEI plans, progress reports, and related information are available at: http://www.epa.gov/oswer/engagementinitiative/.

Download OSWER's Community Engagement Initiative Presentation (PDF) (3 pp, 295KB)

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Partnering with Companies to Enhance Community Engagement and Understanding
Presenters: Barbara Leatherwood and Robert Jackmore, ExxonMobil Environmental Services; and Stephanie Brown and Craig Zeller, U.S. EPA; Maggie Brown, APCO Worldwide; Dr. Robert Geller, Emory University School of Medicine; William Anckner, ARCADIS US, Inc.
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

Communities in which environmental remediation is taking place are eager for information. However, all too often, one of the best sources of information is overlooked—the companies responsible for the cleanup. Based upon the experience of successfully working together on several projects, EPA Region 4 and ExxonMobil representatives will discuss how they have fostered an effective partnership to develop and execute community outreach programs to more fully engage local communities.

In the late 1800s to the early 1900s, a company known as the Virginia Carolina Chemical Company (VCC) produced phosphate fertilizer at a number of sites throughout the southeast United States. While ExxonMobil never owned the property or operated any of these facilities, the VCC later merged with Socony Mobil Oil Company, Inc. ExxonMobil accepted responsibility for remediation. Today, ExxonMobil is actively remediating a number of the VCC sites with oversight from state agencies and EPA. In some places, the remediation is taking place in people's front yards; in others, the contaminated property is located in sparsely populated areas. But regardless of the locale—rural, small town, industrial or urban—neighbors, environmentalists, elected officials, and others want to be informed about the project.

This panel of public affairs and technical experts will discuss the opportunities and challenges posed by a partnership between the regulator and the regulated, share thoughts on the best ways to leverage each partner's inherent strengths and expertise, and discuss how the approach yields real and substantial benefits to the affected communities.

Download Partnering with Companies Presentation (PDF) (10 pp, 0.84MB)

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Serious Play: Making Public Meetings Be Fun—and Informative
Presenters: Renee Dagseth, U.S. EPA; and Martha Bean, Collaborative Focus; and Paulina Lopez, Promotores Comunitarios
Topic Area: Embracing Diversity      Level: Advanced

How do we make a draft feasibility study relevant and interesting to a largely immigrant, non-English-speaking community? How do we elicit comments on that feasibility study? How do we appeal to different learning styles? Legos® were used with success at a recent public meeting to create a bridge to community members. This or similar methods could be replicated at other sites to stimulate real dialogue and engagement.

EPA Region 10 has been working with a variety of stakeholders to get early public involvement in the development of cleanup planning for the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund site. Drafts of the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study were put out for public comment. However, many of the nearby residents are lower income and a large number are immigrant, non-English speakers. EPA has not had much success in developing a dialogue with these members of the community.

The standard fact sheet and public meeting tools were not resulting in meaningful engagement with the non-English-speaking members of the community. By choosing a location that would be convenient and friendly, working closely with the Community Advisory Group, having Spanish speakers host small work groups, and creating a fun atmosphere, we were able to obtain a significant number of comments from community members and learned a great deal about their questions, concerns, and priorities. In addition, engineers and scientists enthusiastically embraced using Legos® as a hands-on technique for teaching and eliciting comments, which proved to be effective to engaged community members.

Download Serious Play Presentation (PDF) (6pp, 0.99KMB)

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The Environmental Justice Community Information Website: Stakeholders Information Resource
Presenter: David Padgett, Tennessee State University
Topic Area: Utilizing Technology      Level: Introductory

Environmental justice stakeholders, community activists, elected officials, and government personnel are invited to participate in this stimulating workshop session where they will engage in the exploration of the newly-launched Environmental Justice Community Information Website (http://www.tnstate.edu/environmentaljustice exit EPA). This critical resource was created via a partnership between Tennessee State University (Nashville, Tennessee) and the U.S. Department of Energy. This interactive website is a one-stop-shop and training portal that houses several environmental and public health-based websites, including: 1) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Environmental Justice Viewer; 2) The National Institute of Health's TOXMAP website; 3) EPA's My Environment website; and 4) The Environmental Defense Fund's Scorecard website. Participants are encouraged to bring their own personal laptops so they can follow the online tutorials in real time. The instructor will lead the group through the tutorials, enabling them to access data from each website and make searches as user-friendly as possible. The tutorials are designed to make some of the more difficult to navigate interfaces fully accessible, even for people with limited computer experience. The online geographic information systems (GIS) mapping tools hosted by many of the new sites offer excellent opportunities for stakeholders to visualize the scope of environmental issues impacting their lives. This workshop will enable users to apply the tools effectively when searching for pertinent health data related to local environmental hazards.

Download EJ Community Info Website Presentation (PDF) (41 pp, 5.17MB)
Download EJ Community Info Website Handout (PDF) (3 pp, 0.25MB)

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Using Federal Advisory Committees to Engage Communities and Address Concerns Holistically
Presenters: Joi Ross, APEX Direct, Inc.; and Victoria Robinson, U.S. EPA
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

Often communities—particularly minority, low-income and tribal communities overburdened by environmental pollution—may not feel empowered or equipped to have a voice in decisions that affect them. This session will examine how Federal Advisory Committees can magnify and bring attention to issues of concern to communities in ways that can affect change. Success stories and best practices will be explored to convey specific ways in which Federal Advisory Committees (and the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, in particular) can affect change in communities and address multi-media environmental issues through interagency collaboration and partnerships. Instructors will highlight how these lessons can be applied generally to any community involvement effort.

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Tuesday, July 19: 12:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. (90-Minute Information Sessions)

Best Practices for Engaging and Involving Environmental Justice Community Residents
Presenters: Steven Fischback, Rhode Island Legal Services; Vernice Miller-Travis, Skeo Solutions; and Michelle Roberts, Advocates for Environmental Human Rights
Topic Area: Embracing Diversity      Level: Intermediate

Residents of environmental justice communities include low-income persons and persons of color disproportionately impacted by a wide range of commonly experienced environmental stressors. However, strategies for successfully engaging and involving low-income communities and communities of color in planning and decision-making related to those stressors are not a one-size-fits-all proposition. In cities, economically challenged people and people of color are typically clustered in neighborhoods segregated by race and/or class. In rural areas, the same populations are typically found in isolated clusters dispersed over a wide area. Moreover, within these communities, residents come from different racial and ethnic backgrounds that often speak languages other than English and lack access to amenities that are found in more affluent communities. The panelists featured in this workshop have worked either in urban or rural communities and will share their perspectives on the challenges for engaging and involving environmental justice community residents and sustaining that involvement. The panelists will also discuss challenges they face when expanding these efforts on a regional basis, where urban and rural environmental justice communities are brought together to address regional environmental justice concerns. The panelists' presentations will answer such questions as: How do you bridge racial, ethnic and cultural differences within and between urban and rural environmental justice communities? How can a common agenda be forged out of divergent needs that arise from urban and rural poverty? How do you successfully engage and involve non-English-speaking populations in both local and regional matters?

Download Best Practices Handout (PDF) (39 pp, 0.56MB)

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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.

Download CARE Presentation (PDF) (29 pp, 2.42MB)
Download The CARE Roadmap Handout (PDF) (20 pp, 3.31MB)

View Streamed CARE Session (90 Minutes) exit EPA
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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.

Download Tools for Multi-Stakeholder Engagement Presentation (PDF) (5pp, 356KB)
Download Tools for Multi-Stakeholder Engagement Handout (PDF) (6pp, 0.10MB)

View Streamed Tools for Multi-Stakeholder Engagement Session (90 Minutes) exit EPA

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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.

Download Expanding Engagement Presentation (PDF) (5pp, 0.33MB) | Download Expanding Engagement Handout (PDF) (2pp, 0.81MB)

View Streamed Expanding Engagement Session (90 Minutes) exit EPA

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Finding, Understanding and Engaging in Cleanups in Your Community
Presenter: Lisa Jenkins, U.S. EPA
Topic Area: Utilizing Technology      Level: Intermediate

Come get acquainted with the newest version of Cleanups in My Community (CIMC). Find out who might use CIMC to find answers to questions about specific hazardous waste cleanups. Are there cleanups in your community? Close to a property you were thinking of buying? Close to where people you care about live, work or play? Find out where hazardous waste cleanups are happening or have occurred, see a demonstration of the search capabilities, navigate the map, create a list, drill down to more specifics, find contact information, and download data. Learn about the limitations to these government-collected data. Connect to MyEnvironment, as well as additional information about EPA's cleanup programs. Find out what is on the horizon for CIMC development.

Then, turn the tables and suggest improvements for CIMC. What questions would you like CIMC to help you answer? What other types of data would you like to see on the map? Are there different reports you would like to see (e.g., summaries, averages, etc.) or different ways of searching for cleanups? Where in CIMC do we need to provide more help, explanations, etc.? What additional capabilities are needed in this web application to help enable you and your communities?

Download Cleanups in Your Community Presentation (PDF) (8 pp, 0.61MB)

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Human Health Risk Assessment: Unpacking the "Black Box"
Presenters: Yolanda Sanchez, Michele Burgess, Dave Crawford, Kevin Garrahan, and Keith Fusinski, U.S. EPA
Topic Area: Other      Level: Introductory

This seminar will provide participants with a basic introduction to the fundamental concepts and terminology associated with risk assessments, specifically as they relate to the Superfund Remedial Program. A simplified basic risk assessment case study will be presented to offer participants a better understanding of processes that occur within the "black box" of risk assessment. This seminar will also discuss the relationship between the basic risk-assessment process, risk management, and other risk-based assessments. We will conclude by presenting a "snapshot" risk assessment from a Superfund Remedial Program case study.

For this 90-minute session, we will ask the audience to work in small groups to define "risk" and "risk assessment." The audience will be encouraged to ask clarifying questions throughout the presentation. We also will ask leading questions throughout the presentation for the audience to answer (e.g., What circumstances motivated EPA to start developing regulations for hazardous waste?).

Download Human Health RA Presentation (PDF) (35 pp, 1.27MB)

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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.

Download 2011 Public Participation Summit Presentation (PDF) (16 pp, 0.65MB)

View Streamed 2001 Public Participation Summit Session (90 Minutes) exit EPA

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Tuesday, July 19: 1:30/2:30 - 5:30 (Three- and Four-Hour Field Trips)

Anacostia Watershed Society Field Trip (1:30 - 5:30 p.m.)

The mission of the Anacostia Watershed Society is to protect and restore the Anacostia River and its watershed communities by cleaning the water, recovering the shores, and honoring the heritage.

The vision is to make the Anacostia River and its tributaries swimmable and fishable, in keeping with the Clean Water Act, for the health and enjoyment of everyone in the community. Community involvement is critical to achieving this vision and AWS seeks win-win solutions through strong partnerships and coalitions, with all parts of the community, government, and other stakeholders. Core to our work is reaching out to, educating and engaging the next generation of decision-makers, our youth. For more information on the Anacostia Watershed Society, visit: http://www.anacostiaws.org Exit Disclaimer

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Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens Field Trip (2:30 - 5:00 p.m.)

The park includes a variety of wetland habitats including some of the original marsh of Washington, DC, the Anacostia River, Watts Branch and meadows built in the 1990s by the National Park Service. Rangers work with teachers and students to develop education programs, and service learning projects for individuals and groups.

Surrounding the gardens on three sides is Kenilworth Marsh, a remnant of the original marsh of Washington, DC, and extensive built marshes. The wetlands match the natural ebb and flow of the Anacostia River seasons, protecting communities from flood. For more information about the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, visit: http://www.nps.gov/keaq/index.htm

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Tuesday, July 19: 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. (Three-Hour Training)

Engaging the Public, Fact or Fiction: "Real Input"
Presenter: Steve Shapiro, Certus Strategies, US, LLC; Keith Seat, Certus Strategies
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

This three-hour workshop will demonstrate and identify critical stages in the public engagement process that lead into a community involvement charrette. Participants in the program will help design outreach strategies, identify key stakeholders, develop an effective assessment tool and organize a report that provides a structure for informing senior management about the needs, concerns, and interests of the community. Participants will learn the importance of keeping all stakeholders informed throughout the process and maintaining a continued informational loop. The participants will work with a fact pattern to simulate different perspectives and learning styles. The groups will compare results with each other and design a community involvement meeting or charrette together. They will discuss the pros and cons of various techniques and processes for this project. They will also seek specific inputs from the community about difficult issues identified in the assessment that might impact the health, safety, and economic stability of the region. Throughout each teaching module, the faculty will provide stories and tools to assist the participants in analyzing and formulating the best strategies to use in each situation. This workshop will utilize a current and complex case study that will allow participants to more thoroughly grasp concepts and illustrate the learning points for each module.

Download Real Input Presentation (PDF) (4 pp, 0.37MB)
Download Real Input Handout I (PDF) (5 pp, 1.65MB) | Download Real Input Handout II (PDF) (17 pp, 723KB)

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Fundamentals of Public Participation - Engaging People in a Meaningful Way
Presenters: Donna Rowe and Karen Sprayberry, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
Topic Area: Other      Level: Advanced

Each day staff members come in contact with hundreds of community members, either by phone or in person. Every day these same staff members have an opportunity to make a positive impression by helping citizens. Public Participation is about listening to community members' needs and responding in a manner that makes a difference in the given situation. As our resources continue to be strained, it is important that we provide tools to staff that enable them to continue positive interaction with citizens.

"Fundamentals of Public Participation," is designed to: 1) Explore the definition of public participation; 2) Identify productive, positive behaviors to use when interacting with the public; and 3) Highlight tools and resources available to assist with conducting effective public participation.

It is our intent for participants to take our training and share with other staff within their agencies, which will perpetuate a change in the culture of other environmental agencies.

Download Fundamentals of Public Participation Presentation (PDF) (6pp, 0.62MB)

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Going Beyond the Usual Suspects: Avoid the Hijackers and Create More Balanced Participation
Presenter: Doug Sarno, Forum Facilitation Group, LLC
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

Are your meetings being hijacked by loud aggressive stakeholders who do not represent your whole community? Is this behavior getting in the way of good information and constructive dialogue? Don't you wish you could press the "community reset button" and bring everyone to the table in a more constructive way? With a little work, you can.

This session will explore the importance of recognizing and creating a balance of stakeholder perspectives in any public participation process. Participants will understand the causes of imbalance, the challenges of the loud minority, and approaches for creating more balanced participation. Participants will work in groups to craft approaches to overcoming imbalance on their actual projects in order to create more successful participation.

The workshop will be highly interactive and participants will be asked to bring and share their examples of how imbalanced participation has undermined a process, and also how balanced participation has been achieved. We will jointly discuss and explore strategies to overcome hijacking actions and engage stakeholders in a more constructive way.

Specific topics that will be covered include:

  • What does balanced participation look like?
  • Why is it important?
  • The causes of imbalance
  • The roles and potential influence of EPA in creating balance
  • Understanding and addressing the vocal minority
  • Basic activities in creating an inclusive process
  • Five best practices for balanced participation: what are they and how to do them right
  • Small group action planning

Download Going Beyond the Usual Suspects Presentation (PDF) (7pp, 105KB)
Download Going Beyond the Usual Suspects Handout (PDF) (12pp, 6.20MB)

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The Mindset Dilemma—Part I: Media Modifying Mindset; Part II: Community Engagement Stragegies; Part III: My Perspective
Presenters: Yvonne Petersen, Nicholas Mena, and Maria Morales, Beyond Visions Foundation
Topic Area: All      Level: Intermediate

Part I: "Media Modifying Mindset" will be presented by Nicholas Mena, who will demonstrate the non-progressive mindset evident in underserved and in-need communities that must be reached to affect environmental change. The presenter will cite media examples, such as documentaries, public service announcements, and community blogs, which have effectively changed the mindsets of community participants. He then will guide the participants, in groups, to develop and video their own sample public service announcements to target underserved populations, which will be premiered after Part III.

Part II: "Community Engagement Strategies" will be presented by Yvonne Petersen and will include aerial mapping of the sample target community that Beyond Visions Foundation is working with, the demographics of this target population, samples of evaluation tools, challenges that are being addressed, opportunities available, and impacts of programs implemented in the community. Video vignettes will demonstrate ineffective conventional methods for community engagement and more effective and innovative ways to involve diverse communities. There will also be a brief Q&A session.

Part III: "My Perspective" will introduce Maria Morales, a resident of the community described in Part II. She will convey her mindset prior to Beyond Visions Foundation's intervention and how it has changed as a result of the exposure, strategies, and techniques demonstrated in Parts I and II. She also will discuss the active role she has taken in reshaping her community and its environmental impact. This will be followed by a Q&A session.

Download The Mindset Dilemma Presentation (PDF) (137 pp, 5.86MB)

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Understanding "Citizen Journalism" - A Social Media Workshop
Presenters: Pam Avery and Gloria Pan, Turner Strategies
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Introductory

Twitter, Digg, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Skype. Welcome to the new world of social media. It is a medium that takes many forms, including Internet forums, blogs, podcasts, and instant messaging, to name a few. Today, anyone with a modern cell phone can become a citizen journalist and transmit information about a public hearing, project, or site around the world faster than any news release can be written or released.

This tutorial offers a map of the social media landscape and how EPA staffers and others can deploy social media techniques within the context of their organization's guidelines for social media use. The course will include live, online demonstrations of effective and ineffective social media examples. Participants will need to bring their computers so that they can follow along as they create their own social media sites. The course is open to non-EPA staffers and each participant will be contacted via email prior to the course to determine his or her social media awareness and workshop expectations.

Download Citizen Journalism Presentation (PDF) (9 pp, 2.07MB)

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Wednesday, July 20: 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. (90-Minute Information Sessions)

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 Streamed Community Engagement Session (90 Minutes)

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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.

Download Engaging Diverse Communities Presentation (PDF) (11 pp, 0.31MB)

View Streamed Engaging Diverse Communities Session (90 Minutes) exit EPA
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MarineMap - An Innovative Collaborative Support Technology Improving Community Engagement
Presenters: Will McClintock, MarineMap Consortium; and Eric Poncelet, Kearns & West, Inc.
Topic Area: Utilizing Technology      Level: Introductory

Planners, resource managers, and community outreach professionals often struggle to find simple yet effective ways to engage the public in large-scale, scientifically complex planning efforts. MarineMap, a web-based decision support tool originally developed for use by non-technical stakeholders in marine-protected area planning, has broad application to processes such as watershed planning and management, urban-growth management, open-space protection, climate change adaptation, and others. MarineMap can be used when there is a need for visualizing and analyzing spatial data, siting prospective use areas, increasing collaboration and communication among stakeholders, and providing process transparency.

MarineMap was developed after California planners needed to enable effective collaboration on a scientifically complex subject and convened a diverse array of fishermen, recreational ocean users, environmentalists, residents, and others to participate in marine spatial planning. Using MarineMap, stakeholders were able to explore, develop, and submit a variety of alternative spatial proposals with real-time feedback on whether or not those proposals met the science guidelines established for the process. Because of its success in this process, MarineMap won the 2010 U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution Innovation in Technology award.

During this session, MarineMap Director, Dr. Will McClintock, and Kearns & West Senior Mediator, Dr. Eric Poncelet, will explain how MarineMap can be used to facilitate collaborative environmental decision making and community involvement. Drs. McClintock and Poncelet will then lead participants in a mock science-based spatial planning process to demonstrate how MarineMap can be used to improve collaboration, communication, and efficiency.

Download MarineMap Presentation (PDF) (5 pp, 1.12MB)

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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.

Download Hidden Agendas and Dirty Tricks Presentation (PDF) (7pp, 0.15MB)
Download Hidden Agendas and Dirty Tricks Handout (PDF) (21pp, 297KB)

View Streamed Hidden Agendas and Dirty Tricks Session (90 Minutes) exit EPA

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Planning and Providing Meaningful Environmental Justice Educational Experiences
Presenter: David Ruble, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

The Environmental Justice Commission of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) has coordinated and facilitated full-day workshops for the past three years as part of the NAAEE Annual Conference. Workshops focused on providing a place-based tour of the conference location while exploring issues related to sustainability projects and industrial environmental hazards on low-income communities and/or communities of color. A facilitated discussion for reflection and synthesis follows the tour and allows educators to focus on the role of environmental education in furthering sustainability efforts to curtail issues related to environmental justice.

This session will provide an overview of the challenges and benefits of convening intensive place-based educational experiences for a national and international audience at an annual conference. Details will be provided for developing meaningful educational experiences with time constraints when novices and experts are gathered for a short period of time to look at controversial environmental issues.

Individual and small-group work will be facilitated to begin assessing components needed for participants to coordinate their own mobile environmental justice education experiences for stakeholders in their community.

Download EJ Educational Experiences Presentation (PDF) (5 pp, 0.32MB)

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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.

Download Disaster Response and Recovery Presentation (PDF) (11 pp, 1.24MB)
Download Gumbo Handout (PDF) (1 pp, 0.15MB)

View Streamed Disaster Response and Recovery Session (90 Minutes) exit EPA

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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.

Download Cohesion Calculator Presentation (PDF) (5pp, 0.29MB)

View Streamed Cohesion Calculator Session (90 Minutes) exit EPA
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Wednesday, July 20: 11:20 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. (Open-Time Discussions)

The 60-minute Open-Time Sessions provided an opportunity for participants to discuss hot topics or issues outside the formal conference sessions. During Open-Time Sessions, the following topics were discussed:

Where Do We Go From Here? Discussion of burnout, future jobs and/or careers as a Community Involvement Coordinator
Presenters: L'Tonya Spencer and Stephanie Y. Brown, U.S. EPA

This session will be a discussion on where the skills, knowledge and abilities you have gained as a Community Involvement Coordinator will lead you after the following:

  • Burnout – What is burnout? How do you know when you are "burned out"? Are there specific job duties that are related to burnout? What can be done to rejuvenate yourself to continue in your current position?
  • Future job(s) or careers – What about details to other areas? What are those areas? Will you want to return? Will you have to relocate?

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Vapor Intrusion: Involved-Stakeholder Awareness of the Uncertainty (and Multiple Benefits of Controls)
Presenters: Lenny Siegel, Center for Public Environmental Oversight; and Henry Schuver, U.S. EPA

Chemical vapor intrusion raises significant concerns in communities overlying volatile contamination. This session will discuss how the intrusion of volatile organic compounds and naturally occurring radon into homes gives impacted residents an unusual opportunity to launch their own environmental investigations and responses, with which trained Community Engagement specialists can assist them.

Evidence will be briefly presented showing how vapor intrusion is highly variable in both space and time, and involves numerous unresolved scientific questions (uncertainties).

There will be an open discussion on how volunteer stakeholders, using low-cost continuous monitors of naturally occurring constituents in soil-gas (e.g., radon) intruding into indoor air, can see their building’s variability/signature response to environmental changes through time and gain a better understanding of the uncertainties in attempts to assess and predict chemical vapor intrusion at a site.

Lenny Siegel will discuss possible community reactions and lead audience participation and feedback regarding this type of an opportunity for stakeholders to improve their understanding of the uncertainty in typical vapor intrusion assessments and predictions. He also will discuss the benefits of engineered controls to eliminate the uncertainty of potential chemical vapor intrusion as well as reduce other undesirable soil-gas constituents such as radon, moisture/mold, methane, and CO2, with significant public health benefits.

Download Vapor Intrusion Open-Time Presentation (PDF) (5 pp, 552KB)

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Partnering with Universities/ Non-Profits to meet the Technical Needs of Communities
Presenter: Bob Shewack, U.S. EPA

This session will explore partnering opportunities available between the EPA and universities and non-profit organizations in regards to meeting the technical assistance needs of communities impacted by NPL, Brownfields, or RCRA sites. Participants will provide feedback on past relationships with these entities, and determine what worked and best methods of establishing a collaborative partnership.

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Cleanups at Federal Facilities: An Update and Discussion
Presenter: Ramona Huckstep, Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Superfund-like cleanups at Federal Facilities are unique and ever-changing. This session will provide an opportunity for local, state, and federal officials who provide support at federal facility sites to talk about what is going on at their sites, concern they may have, and resources that are available.

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Increasing Access to Health and Health Care for through Brownfields and Contaminated Site Development
Presenters: Suzi Ruhl, Ann Carroll, and Steve McNeely, U.S. EPA

Many minority and low-income communities that experience environmental health risks also experience health disparities. These risks include exposure to toxic pollutants and from living and working in unhealthy environments. These communities often lack access to primary care and prevention measures that can adequately address their health and health care needs. This session will present opportunities to leverage EPA and HHS programs to improve the health and quality of life for these communities.

Download Increasing Access to Health Open-Time Presentation (PDF) (7 pp, 1.70MB)
Download Increasing Access to Health Handout (PDF) (13 pp, 434KB)

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Environmental Justice: Why Community Involvement Matters? Importance of Media and Communication Alternatives as a Function of Demographics
Presenters: Kenneth Kumor, NASA; and Kaye Meeks, Great Southern Engineering

Based on past experiences, it appears that demographics are a strong influence on the ways that interested parties and the general public receive information and communicate in situations involving environmental concerns and potential conflict. Demographic factors that may come into play are age, ethnicity, income, education, and the geographic location of the affected area. These demographic factors also influence the relative importance and acceptance of new and emerging social media as worthwhile vehicles. This session will focus on sharing experiences and ideas on when and how these demographic factors come into play, observed trends, how such sensitivity can improve the community involvement experience, and questions worthy of further investigation.

Download EJ Open-Time Presentation (PDF) (3 pp, 341KB)

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When the Responsible Party is Responsible for Community Outreach
Presenters: Madelene Skinner, Greg Bruce, Carita Parks, Sam Holman, and Bill Holman, The Hester Group

The City of Jacksonville, Florida, is the Responsible Party for the remediation of over 3,000 residential and commercial parcels affected by incinerator ash. This session will describe how city officials collaborated with the EPA to expand community outreach to include providing temporary housing, door-to-door outreach, acquiring access agreements, and developing a comprehensive neighborhood-based one-stop information center. Participants will have the opportunity to ask, "How did you do that?" and will receive a behind-the-scenes look at the tactics used. Community outreach specialists indigenous to the neighborhoods also will share heartwarming stories about their experiences.

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Wednesday, July 20: 12:30/1:30 - 5:30 (Four- and Five-Hour Field Trips)

Casey Trees Field Trip (12:30-5:30 p.m.)

Casey Trees is a Washington, DC-based non-profit established in 2002 committed to restoring, enhancing and protecting the tree canopy of the Nation's Capital. To fulfill this mission Casey Trees plants trees, engages thousands of volunteers of all ages in tree planting and care, provides year-round continuing education courses, monitors the city's tree canopy, develops interactive online tree tools and works with elected officials, developers, community groups to protect and care for existing trees and to encourage them to add new ones. If participating on this field trip, there is a $10 lunch fee. For more information about Casey Trees, visit: http://www.caseytrees.org Exit Disclaimer

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Anacostia Watershed Society Field Trip (1:30-5:30 p.m.)

The mission of the Anacostia Watershed Society is to protect and restore the Anacostia River and its watershed communities by cleaning the water, recovering the shores, and honoring the heritage.

The vision is to make the Anacostia River and its tributaries swimmable and fishable, in keeping with the Clean Water Act, for the health and enjoyment of everyone in the community. Community involvement is critical to achieving this vision and AWS seeks win-win solutions through strong partnerships and coalitions, with all parts of the community, government, and other stakeholders. Core to our work is reaching out to, educating and engaging the next generation of decision-makers, our youth. For more information on the Anacostia Watershed Society, visit: http://www.anacostiaws.org Exit Disclaimer

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Wednesday, July 20: 1:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. (Four-Hour Training)

Collaborative Governance or Collaborative Government? A Framework & Analysis Tool
Presenter: Jamie Damon, Portland State University
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

How is "Collaborative Governance" different from government "working collaboratively"? President Obama's Executive Order of January 2009 states, "Government should be collaborative." What does this look like in practice for an agency confronted with contentious or complex situations? How does a manager develop a process and a path through the chaos? This session will increase a participant's ability to identify key principles and stages of collaboration and distinguish this approach from other public involvement processes.

Participants will be introduced to a collaborative framework and apply this to their own case situations using an analysis tool to strategically assess a contentious or complex situation for the potential for collaborative success. Participants with all levels of experience are welcome. Those with some experience developing and implementing public processes or who have a current situation to test the suitability for a collaborative process will find the framework and analysis tool most useful.

Download Collaborative Governance Presentation (PDF) (15pp, 964KB)

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Making Meetings Work: Approaches and Tools for Better Meetings
Presenter: Doug Sarno, Forum Facilitation Group, LLC
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

Are you still holding meetings that resemble a dry presentation followed by public comments at a microphone? Would you like to get more people engaged and involved in the topic and with each other? Public meetings can and should be informative, engaging, and fun for all participants. Creating more effective meetings helps both EPA and our communities.

This four-hour workshop will provide participants with a fundamental understanding of what makes meetings work and how to plan for a successful public meeting. The workshop will include the basic principles to plan effective meetings and achieve meeting goals, and will also identify a variety of innovative techniques to facilitate effective participation in meeting settings and explore how to plan and design these techniques. The techniques described during the course will include: Revolving Circle (a.k.a. Samoan Circles or Conversation Circles), World Cafe, Card Storming, Nominative Group Technique, Open Space Meetings, Appreciative Inquiry and FutureSearch Processes, Focused Conversations, Deliberative Polling, Study Circles, and Workshops. Participants will receive information on each of these techniques, as well as website and book references for further exploration.

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Present Effectively with Style and Skill
Presenters: Pamela Avery and Dominic Frederico, Turner Strategies
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Introductory

EPA staffers and others often must present complex issues and complicated information to their many stakeholders, including community residents. How they present this information can make a big difference in how their projects, issues, and the organization in general are perceived by their audiences. This interactive course is designed to give participants the confidence they need to stand up and deliver effectively.

Students who complete this course will gain skills to: plan and organize an effective presentation; understand the rules of audience engagement; deal with difficult participants and situations; and develop a credible presentation presence. The course will feature videotaped examples of effective and ineffective presentations and a group on-camera exercise to enhance each participant's confidence as a public speaker. The course is open to non-EPA staffers and each participant will be contacted prior to the course about his or her presentation experience and workshop expectations.

Download Present Effectively with Style and Skill Presentation (PDF) (9 pp, 0.59MB)

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Quality vs. Quantity: The Evasive Quest to Measure Community Engagement Effectiveness
Presenters: Marilyn Null, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment; and Ramona Huckstep, Missouri Department of Natural Resources (Members of ASTSWMO Community Involvement Focus Group)
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

Having trouble explaining the value of what you do? How often do you have to convince technical project managers to get you involved before a project goes "south"? How do you convince your own organization that involving community members in decisions greatly enhances the possibility that the project can move forward more effectively? Can you explain to the public just how they've impacted decisions? How do you measure your work when numbers don't tell the whole story?

The tool presented in this session is the result of a multi-year effort based on practical, real-world experience. It provides indicators, metrics, measurement tools, and a numeric scale upon which to evaluate community engagement and partnering efforts. The tool provides environmental managers and stakeholder engagement professionals with guidance for planning, integrating, implementing, and evaluating stakeholder involvement in accomplishing overall project goals. Participants will have the opportunity to practice using the tool in discussing, analyzing, and scoring a case study.

Download Quality vs. Quantity Presentation (PDF) (26 pp, 0.85MB)

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Risk Communication: Messaging to Build Trust and Understanding
Presenters: Yolanda Sanchez, Sophia Serda, Keith Fusinski, U.S. EPA
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

Grounded in the concept of risk perception and planning for public participation, this seminar will provide participants with the steps to create message maps for risk communication. First, we will present concepts of risk perception (i.e., outrage factors) and common biases in decision-making involving risk from a non-technical perspective, and explore aspects of appreciative listening. Students will be guided through a listening assessment and exercise. Then, we will discuss the technique of message mapping and why it is useful for long-term environmental cleanup programs. Students will practice developing a message map on a controversial issue. We will end with a general discussion on how to use this framework to answer difficult community stakeholder questions regarding risk, including: Is it safe? What does a risk of 10-6 mean? What is "background"?

Download Risk Communication Presentation (PDF) (17 pp, 0.31MB)

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Thursday, July 21: 9:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. (Three-Hour Training)

Embracing Diversity in Collaborative Environmental Decision-Making
Presenters: Curt Gervich, State University of New York, College at Plattsburgh; and David Deshler, Prestige Global Language Center, Nairobi, Kenya Damian Pitt, Virginia Commonwealth University
Topic Area: Embracing Diversity      Level: All Levels

This session is about creating more enduring, resilient, and agile environmental organizations/partnerships by recognizing, embracing, and enhancing the roles that diverse perspectives, values and beliefs, also called "cognitive frames" or "frames," play in decision-making. Our workshop is designed for participants in multi-stakeholder collaboratives, government agencies, non-profit organizations, for-profit businesses, and decision-making bodies with members from multiple sectors. The purpose of this session is to use the concept of "environmental decision-making frames" to shed light on why agreeing about decisions within the environmental arena is often difficult, why decision-making sometimes grows so heated it threatens to destroy the organizations/partnerships charged with planning for the environment, and to help environmental organizations/partnerships strengthen their planning processes.

This session provides a professional development opportunity designed to assist audience members in developing their capabilities to apply the concept of cognitive frames to recognize and manage conflict and provide a train-the-trainer workshop in which participants learn to facilitate activities they can take back to their host organizations/agencies and use to improve decision-making practices.

Download Embracing Diversity "Examples Packet" Handout (PDF) (27 pp, 0.32MB)
Download Embracing Divercity Notes (PDF) (9 pp, 0.20MB)

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Getting the Right Information to the Right Place, at the Right Time: Community Perspectives to Agency Outreach
Presenters: Ellen Manges, U.S. EPA, Mark Mitchell, Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice; Stephanie Tyree, Sludge Safety Project, Lillie Lane, Navajo Nation EPA; and Mary Williams, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

No matter how long you've been doing community outreach work, there is always more you can learn about how to ensure communities are involved in the decision-making processes that affect them.

In this session, you will learn about effective community outreach from the real experts—the communities. This training will examine stakeholder outreach around contaminated land sites with an emphasis on hard-to-reach and at-risk communities. The session will feature four renowned community leaders from completely different backgrounds, presenting on the unique challenges they encounter with disseminating key information about environmental issues. The session will compare and contrast the challenges faced by different communities and emphasize the importance of tailoring outreach to each specific community. By completing this outreach training, practitioners will gain a better understanding of communities' perspectives on EPA outreach and, in turn, improve their abilities to develop effective outreach strategies.

Download Getting the Right Information Presentation (PDF) (8 pp, 1.74MB)

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Thursday, July 21: 1:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. (Four-Hour Training)

Enhancing Community Profile Development: Identifying Community Characteristics and Behavior Templates
Presenter: Carol Forrest, Rose Hill Communications, Inc.
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

The model for developing community profiles has improved over the years. But are there additional ways of analyzing information that can help community involvement practitioners design more effective community involvement programs? Our 20 years of experience indicates that there are.

  • Do you consider the geographical extent of stakeholder interest or concern? You should, because it varies from area to area and issue to issue.
  • Do you know how to determine how power and decision-making are really shared (or not) in a given community, or how the power structure could affect the ability of some stakeholders to be heard without active community involvement practitioner assistance?
  • How do stakeholder groups in a given community react to perceived threats? Most groups exhibit templates of behavior that they will use time after time. Identifying such behaviors can help community involvement practitioners spot off-script activities that may indicate the emergence of new issues or influences.
  • How does one define stakeholder groups? The characteristics that define specific groups don't always conform to obvious demographic categories.

This workshop explores a framework for identifying stakeholders; their concerns, needs, and preferences; and defining the contexts against which specific environmental issues play out. This framework, which complements U.S. EPA's basic community profiling process, involves the critical analysis and "testing" of information gathered through interviews and document research (including online resources) by subjecting it to a series of questions that ultimately lead to a deeper understanding of the community and the stakeholders within it.

Download Enhancing Community Profile Presentation (PDF) (90 pp, 0.17MB)
Download Enhancing Community Profile Handout (PDF) (19 pp, 628KB)

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The Power of Apology
Presenters: Patrick Field and Oluseyi Olubadewo, Consensus Building Institute
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: All

At one time or another, it is likely that each of us has faced anger from a citizen or regulated entity over actions that we took, or failed to take, in our role with EPA. We have certainly encountered situations in which we feel sympathy for stakeholders who are in difficult situations through no fault of their own. And, occasionally, we must deal with untrue statements about our organizations, our partners, or our programs. How we respond during these situations impacts whether we move forward with constructive relationships or become bogged down in anger. An accumulating body of evidence indicates that apology has the power to heal rifts and allows parties to build a positive future.

This interactive discussion will examine whether - and if so, how and when - there is a place for apology (big or little, informal or formal, private, personal or public) in dealing with those who are unhappy, angry, or dissatisfied with the decisions that public officials make. We will consider the legal and ethical considerations and implications of apologizing and what makes an apology effective and when not to apologize.

Download Power of Apology Presentation/Handout (PDF) (55 pp, 30.4MB)

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Thursday, July 21: 9:15 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (Seven-Hour Training)

Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Risk Communication Skills: Diverse Audience Applications
Presenter: Vince Covello, Center for Risk Communication
Topic Area: Embracing Diversity      Level: Intermediate

The objective of this training is to prepare participants to communicate effectively with diverse audiences using basic, intermediate, and advanced risk communication strategies and techniques. Upon the completion of the training, participants will be able to:

  • Describe how diverse audiences process risk information.
  • Craft and deliver messages responsive to the concerns of diverse audiences.
  • Describe communication strategies to enhance believability, trust, and credibility.
  • Describe ways to communicate information to diverse audiences proactively.
  • Describe techniques for modeling the risk perceptions of diverse audiences.
  • Describe techniques for engaging diverse stakeholders in the decision-making process.
  • Describe methods for dealing with angry people from diverse audiences.

Download Diverse Audience Applications Presentation (PDF) (12 pp, 0.46MB)

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Bridging Theory and Practice in Effective Communication for Community Engagement
Presenters: Jennifer Warren, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; and Brandi White, U.S. EPA
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

Community engagement is founded on real-time collaboration with communities. Distinct individuals and groups, usually from differing contexts and with unique perspectives, must come together to initiate, develop, and maintain relationships to achieve a common goal or set of goals. Communication is what facilitates and provides the glue for these relationships. Without knowledge of communication processes, strategies, and skills, well-meaning participants can hit a brick wall, suffering lost partnerships, and failing to achieve plans. Moreover, nowhere can communication be more complex and challenging and the wall more impenetrable than within underserved communities. It is critical that practitioners seeking to successfully engage underserved communities place an emphasis on understanding unique factors that impact communication processes in these settings; and identify strategies and build skills to support unique perspectives, build trust, and enable consensus building, to ‘get the job done.' This beginner-to-intermediate course will help you do just that.

We use a social ecological model to identify and dismantle multiple and integrated levels that shape and influence communication unique to engaging underserved communities. The ecological model stresses the interaction across the individual, interpersonal, community/group, organizational/institutional, and societal levels. At each level, communication processes, strategies, and skills are broken down, exemplified, and practiced. These levels also provide participants with a framework to identify communication challenges and insight into intervention techniques to reduce and even possibly eradicate these challenges.

Through current case studies, role-playing activities, as well as individual and small group activities, participants in this course will gain theoretical and practical knowledge integral to using and responding to various forms of communication within a community context. Course participants will learn to navigate community engagement in underserved settings based on a flexible, genuine, and self-confident approach.

Download Bridging Theory Presentation (PDF) (22 pp, 2.28MB)

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Doing MORE with LESS: 21st Century Technology Tools for Communicating BETTER with Diverse Publics
Presenters: Annemarie Bleiker, Hans Bleiker, and Jennifer Bleiker, The Institute for Participatory Management and Planning (IPMP)
Topic Area: Embracing Diversity      Level: Intermediate

Most public meetings—and too many experiences with advisory committees—frustrate both the public agencies and the public. Differing cultural traditions and differing backgrounds create differently colored lenses through which people see the world. An effective outreach program enables an agency's managers to understand all of their stakeholders.

A few creative public agencies that are committed to making sure that all the potentially affected interests from diverse cultural backgrounds and traditions can participate, have always—even in the 20th Century—found ways to make that happen. They have used innovative, non-traditional, atypical citizen participation techniques that work for people for whom the typical public meetings and advisory committees just don't work. These alternative communications methods are still available, and those agencies, which aren't quite ready to embrace the 21st Century methods, need to put them to work.

Not only are we in a new century, we have embarked on a new millennium! Some of the 21st Century Citizen Participation Techniques and tools—including interactive Websites, Blogs, Micro-Blogs, and Social Media (such as Twitter, Facebook, Qik, YouTube, Yammer, Flickr, LinkedIn, Google-Buzz, SideWiki, Qualtrics, Gov 2.0, ParticipateDB, iCount, LookingGlass, Google Analytics, and even Go-to-Meeting, etc.)-provide phenomenal opportunities for public agencies to communicate and interact with, and ultimately understand their diverse publics like never before.

These newest public outreach methods are so user-friendly, you truly can do more with less, i.e. more interaction with less cost and effort...Both on the agency's and on the public's part.

Download Doing MORE with LESS Presentation (PDF) (16 pp, 0.21MB)

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Interest-Based Negotiation-You CAN Get What You Need
Presenters: Deborah Dalton and Anna Abbey, U.S. EPA
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Introductory/Intermediate

Negotiations can be more fulfilling than just "horse" trading and compromising until you reach some "middle ground." Wish your next negotiation could seem more productive? Wish you could figure out how to get more of what you need to move your project to completion? Using the framework of Interest Based Negotiations, first outlined by the Harvard Project on Negotiation, you will learn techniques to delve under those pesky positional statements and discover what you and those you are interacting with need in order to successfully negotiate a project. You'll learn how to seek the causes of conflict or disagreement and ways to overcome those barriers to agreement. The course also will help you know when and how to retain a facilitator to assist with difficult discussions. Through a series of interactive exercises, participants will practice important negotiation skills, such as active listening, questioning, and re-framing using real case examples derived from over 20 years of Superfund negotiations.

This course is appropriate for both experienced and newer CICs and project managers. Experienced staff will have the opportunity to brush up on negotiation skills and see negotiations from a new vantage point, while newer professionals will get a solid foundation in negotiation practice and skills. This course counts for the negotiations requirement for OSWER Inspector Credentials.

Download Interest-Based Negotiation Presentation (PDF) (17 pp, 1.05MB)

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You Get What You Measure®: An Alternative Strategic Planning and Evaluation Tool for Progress You Can See
Presenters: Shanna Ratner, Melissa Levy, Barbara Wyckoff, Yellow Wood Associates
Topic Area: Expanding Engagement      Level: Intermediate

You Get What You Measure® is a values-based facilitated group process developed by Yellow Wood Associates that integrates systems thinking into strategic planning, identifies key leverage indicators, and aligns actions to achieve goals. This alternative strategic planning and evaluation process engages diverse stakeholders and directs action toward measurable goals while creating a powerful framework for planning/evaluation.

Takeaways:

  • Motivate your organization to embrace the power of measurement;
  • Find creative ways to create systemic change;
  • Overcome "turf" issues and create shared language; and
  • Understand how to integrate values into decision-making.

Download You Get What You Measure Presentation (PDF) (53 pp, 0.71MB)

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