photo montage of sweet maple syrup and dry arid deserts.

Friends of the Mad River (FMR) kicks off its Community Climate Chats this summer. The first two community forums will be held in partnership with the Mad River Valley Planning District (MRVPD) and will be focused on exploring recently-released state-level climate reports with the Mad River Valley community. 


The first event, “Vermont’s Changing Climate – What the MRV Can Expect” will take place on the evening of Tuesday, July 5, at the Lareau Farm pavilion in Waitsfield and focus on Vermont’s first state climate assessment since 2014 which illustrates how hallmarks of Vermont life are being impacted by climate change, from farming and maple syrup to long winters and skiing. The talk will feature Stephen Posner (director of policy with the Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont) and Gillian Galford (fellow of the Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont), and will be moderated by Heather Furman (Vermont state director for The Nature Conservancy).

The second community chat, focused on understanding the Vermont Climate Action Plan, will be held on the evening of Tuesday, August 9, and feature Jane Lazorchak, Global Warming Solutions Act director at the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. The talk will focus on ‘downscaling’ the goals and opportunities for community action in the plan to the Mad River Valley community. Each event will include an opportunity for community members to ask questions and engage in deeper conversation about how a changing climate and landscape is impacting The Valley and what they can do.

“The adoption of the Vermont Climate Action Plan is a major achievement for this state and its communities, and provides an exciting opportunity and blueprint to encourage local climate planning and action closer to home,” says Amy Tomasso, MRVPD community planner.


“Friends of the Mad River’s work in this community has always aimed at building more resilience into the landscape by supporting clean water, wildlife connectivity, storm and flood resilience, and driving important community conversations about our natural resources,” says FMR executive director Corrie Miller. “Since 2020, we’ve been working to pivot our attention and update our programs with an eye towards the changing climate. The Vermont Climate Assessment and Vermont Action Plan offer this community real resources understanding likely climate impacts and finding opportunities for resilience.”

FMR recently closed an MRV Climate Survey focused on hearing community member’s experience with climate and landscape change, identifying what concerns people hold, what community members want to learn, and what resilience opportunities excite the community. Around 250 people responded, providing valuable input for the Community Climate Chats and to shape the dialogue around climate adaptation and resilience in The Valley. 

“Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time,” says Matt Williams, FMR board president. “These climate chats, which are meant to be community-oriented, accessible, and inclusive, are a great way to get involved.”

Tickets are free but registration is required; visit Tickets include American flatbread and veggie appetizers and there will be an open cash bar. Donations will be accepted to help make this and future events freely accessible to all. FMR and the MRVPD look forward to engaging in these exciting climate conversations with the community, Miller said.