2009 Community Involvement Training Conference
- About the 2009 training conference
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) eleventh Community Involvement Training Conference was held August 18-20, 2009, in Seattle, Washington. This dynamic conference brought together more than 400 people from EPA and its federal, state, tribal, and local agency partners who plan and implement environmental community involvement, partnership, stewardship, outreach, and education programs.
The theme for the 2009 conference was "Reaching across Boundaries: Sharing Challenges and Opportunities." The theme acknowledged that boundaries exist all around us and can pose challenges to effectively solving environmental problems. However, if stakeholders can move across boundaries, they can identify mutual challenges and opportunities that can lead to sustainable environmental benefits. During the conference participants were able to explore communication skills and processes, organizational/institutional issues and behavioral shifts as ways to reach across boundaries to achieve these benefits.
The conference featured plenary sessions with guest speakers, engaging and interactive information-sharing sessions, 3- and 4-hour training sessions, and full-day training sessions. It also included field trips demonstrating the power of effective community involvement in the Seattle area, a poster session, exhibits, and a variety of networking opportunities and evening activities that added value and fun to the experience.
- Other Community Involvement Training Conferences
The U.S. EPA Community Involvement Training Conference has been held annually from 1997-2007 in various locations throughout the United States. As of 2007, the conference moved to a biennial cycle. The conference provides professional training and a venue for discussing topics of interest for federal, tribal, state, and local agency staff who plan and implement environmental community involvement and public communication, education and stewardship programs. Attendees have had an opportunity to learn from and share experiences with each other as well as hear and learn from other stakeholders involved in such programs through:
- classroom-style training
- case studies
- panel sessions
- group discussions
- information sharing
- interactive exercises
- field trips
- networking opportunities
- poster and multimedia presentations
The conference also provided a platform for all parties to discuss successes, obstacles and lessons learned, as well as an opportunity to cultivate cross-program/cross-agency relationships.
The conference booklet summarized conference activities and events and included an abstract for all conference sessions (90-minute information and training sessions of 3-, 4-, and 7-hours). In keeping with our Green Meeting goals, we did not print and distribute copies of the conference booklet. Rather, the booklet was distributed via email and posted as a downloadable file.
Presentations & Exhibits
Poster presentations on specific projects and activities were displayed during the first two-and-a-half days of the conference, and highlighted. Poster authors interacted with participants to answer questions and provide additional information about the project or activity they presented.
Awards were presented to the two best poster displays. Best Overall Award was selected by a panel of conference organizers. The People's Choice Award went to the poster that received the most votes from conference participants.
The Best Overall Award was presented to Ramona Huckstep of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for her poster, Welcome to CERCLA Land—Expanding the Vision and Focus of Citizen Groups (see photos and PDF below).
The People's Choice Award was presented to Karen Martin of the U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response for her poster, The SRS Super JTI—Making a Difference (see photos below).
Thanks to all the participants who displayed an exhibit at the conference that presented a community involvement program, organizational information, examples of outreach, education, or other community involvement products. The exhibits were displayed on the ground floor outside of the Leonesa ballroom throughout the conference.
Green Meeting Policy
EPA Green Meetings and Conferences Policy, May 1, 2007
The mission of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment. We expect that all Agency meetings and conferences will be staged using as many environmentally preferable measures as possible. Environmentally preferable means products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose.
As in past years, the planning committee did lots of things to help make the Community Involvement Training Conference more earth-friendly, and we recruited attendees' help to make the eleventh conference one of the greenest ever.
We elected to not distribute paper copies of the conference booklet. Instead, we made reference copies available in session rooms, break areas, and at the reference desk, and an electronic copy was available on a common computer in the registration area. Keep in mind that eliminating the printed conference booklet saved more than 18,400 sheets of paper!
Instead of providing participants with tote bags, we offered a "tote bag exchange." We invited attendees to bring an extra tote bag to exchange with others. This also provided an opportunity for other conference hosts to give away extra bags from their past conferences.
At the Conference We...
- Provided recycling containers and encouraged attendees to recycle newspapers, cans and glass, including those from their guest room, in marked containers in the conference area. Any recyclable items placed on the food service trays located throughout the conference area were also recycled behind the scenes.
- Encouraged registrants to participate in the hotel's water, energy, and detergent conservation efforts by following the instructions posted in guest rooms.
- Reduced the use of paper by limiting conference handouts at registration and encouraging presenters to limit handouts and used folders or handouts printed on high post-consumer recycled content paper using vegetable-based ink.
Freya Margand, 2009 EPA Conference Co-Chairperson
Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (5204P)
Washington, DC 20460
Jason Edwards, 2009 EPA Conference Co-Chairperson
Office of Research and Development
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (8104R)
Washington, DC 20460
Jeff Philip, 2009 EPA Conference Co-Chairperson
Community Involvement and Public Information Unit
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10
1200 6th Avenue, Suite 900 (ETPA-081)
Seattle, WA 98101
Community Involvement Conference Coordinator
Environmental Management Support
8601 Georgia Avenue, Suite 500
Silver Spring, MD 20910
If you have any questions or comments about this website, please contact the Conference Coordinators.