Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Vermont Council on Rural Development Celebrates “Graduation” of Second Class of Climate Catalysts – Application For Next Round Closes October 29

Contact: Jon Copans, VCRD Program Director
Phone: (802) 272-0162

Vermont Council on Rural Development Celebrates “Graduation” of Second Class of Climate Catalysts – Application For Next Round Closes October 29

The Vermont Council on Rural Development is celebrating the graduation of 14 local leaders from the second class of the Climate Catalysts Leadership Program. Primarily through virtual convening, the program brings together local leaders from all walks of life and all corners of Vermont to build peer connections, strengthen leadership skills, and receive support in developing a local project or initiative that helps strengthen their local economy in a way that prepares for climate change.

“Increasingly, Vermonters are thinking ahead to a future shaped by climate change and considering how to confront the crisis in their own community. Local leaders have a pivotal role to play in helping Vermont do our part to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and to prepare for the changes that are coming,” noted Jon Copans, Program Director.  “Each member of the Climate Catalysts comes at these challenges with a unique perspective, and all share a common urgency to make forward progress. In bringing them together, we aim to provide a venue for the sharing of collective wisdom and the replication of success stories.”

The graduating class included:

  • RJ Adler, Berlin
  • Jeffrey Dexter, Sunderland
  • Megan Durling, Newark
  • Jeffrey Gephart, Rochester
  • Jim Hand, East Dorset
  • Catherine Lowther, Calais
  • Corrie Miller, Fayston
  • Kevin O’Brien, Brattleboro
  • David Raphael, Panton
  • Molly Smith, Hartford
  • Jim Stiles, St. Albans
  • Scott Weathers, Stowe
  • Jenn Wood, Grand Isle
  • Margaret Woodruff, Charlotte

Tackling climate change means deploying a wide diversity of strategies, and the projects that were the focus of participation for the Climate Catalysts are similarly diverse. Some members are leaders of town energy committees working to select and effectively implement local initiatives. Others focused on specific projects like an E-bike lending library, implementing effective local communications efforts, envisioning future climate havens, facilitating community resilience conversations, and developing effective educational programs that help to grow the climate leaders of tomorrow.

“Climate Catalysts provided an opportunity to hear about projects from innovative, driven leaders in every corner of Vermont. I was consistently blown away by the caliber of expertise in our group and VCRD’s leadership kept our group humming. I thoroughly recommend Climate Catalysts to anyone in Vermont who’s passionate about improving their community’s response to climate change,” noted Scott Weathers of Stowe, a member of the recent graduating class.

Recruitment is underway for a new cohort of Catalysts that will come together in November of 2022. Participation is free – all that is asked of participants is that they bring a project concept and a commitment to support other program participants. Anyone interested in the program can learn more here: Or fill out a simple application here: The deadline to apply is October 29.

The Climate Catalysts Program is made possible by support from VLITE, other philanthropic foundations and VCRD’s generous contributors. The Vermont Council on Rural Development is a non-profit organization charged by the federal farm bill to act as a neutral convener at both the local and policy level supporting the progress of Vermont communities.

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