Grant funds library's climate information programs for Rockingham area

BELLOWS FALLS — The Rockingham Free Public Library (RFPL) recently received a $500 grant for climate-related programming from the American Library Association.

In a news release, the RFPL - one of only two Vermont libraries chosen for this honor - thanked library patron Kat Martin, former Interim Town Manager Chuck Wise, and Rockingham Help & Helpers “for their fantastic letters of support which were included in the grant application,” and Rockingham residents Laurel Green and Peter Bergstrom, who “proved invaluable in planning for the use of these funds.”

Beginning in January, funds will be used to engage the community in programs and conversations that address the climate change crisis.

Initial library programs will raise awareness of this region's vulnerability to flash floods and drought. A virtual screening of the documentary film Flood Bound: The Uplifting Story of Pittsfield, Vt. and the reading and discussion of Peggy Shinn's book Deluge: Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont's Flash Floods and How One Small State Saved Itself will bring the topic home.

The library is also working with the Vermont Folklife Center in hopes of recording Rockingham stories about 2011's Tropical Storm Irene and the catastrophic flooding in the state and region as a result of the massive rainfall.

Programs to help people prepare for and know what to do during an extreme weather emergency will be followed by presentations from state agencies, which will distribute emergency-preparedness literature.

The initiative will also explore the many ways of building resiliency into communities and will include programs such as procuring local food from CSAs, home gardening, and composting.

Rich Earth Institute of Brattleboro will also offer information on a more unconventional but just as valuable method of building resiliency: recycling urine into fertilizer.

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