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ECHO VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT- KATE MEYER

POSTED OCTOBER 3 AT 10:59 AM

ECHO's Mission is to Educate and Delight our…

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FOR IMMEDIATE
RELEASE

Earth Day/April 22, 2010

Contact: Steven Leibman or Todd Carroll
sleibman@echovermont.org or tcarroll@echovermont.org
802.864.1848 ext. 125 or 131

Downloadable photos available at
www.echovermont.org/visitors/photos.html
 

“VOICES FOR THE LAKE” AND ANNUAL EARTH DAY EVENT LAUNCHED

Partnership Between ECHO and the Burlington Free Press Announced

BURLINGTON, Vt. — At a morning press conference, appropriately set with a grand view of Lake Champlain, ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, officially launched the pioneering Voices for the Lake online social media platform, provided a sneak preview of the forthcoming Voices for the Lake ECHO exhibit, and presented the project’s future vision. In addition, ECHO’s partnership with the Burlington Free Press was announced, and their new venture: the creation of an annual, state-wide Earth Day event, recognizing extraordinary environmental achievements by Vermonters.

  • In his welcome, ECHO Executive Director Phelan Fretz presented an overview of the Voices for the Lake project, which was established in response to an urgent need to connect the public with issues concerning the stewardship identified by the State of the Lake Report. The project is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, sponsored by the Burlington Free Press, and is partnered with the Vermont Folklife Center and the Vermont Department of Libraries. The Voices for the Lake’s foundation is a pioneering, community-driven, online social media platform —utilizing an “open source” Omeka platform — which will be a template for other science centers, as well as museums and libraries, world-wide. The second phase of the project is a forthcoming ECHO exhibit. Dr. Fretz stated that the project celebrates the diverse values and concerns of the people who love Lake Champlain, and provides a remarkable resource for them to explore, interact, and connect with other passionate Lake voices: to share their stories, values, and perspectives, and, importantly, affect environmental change in their communities.
     

  • Voices for the Lake Manager Bridget Butler officially launched and demonstrated the online social media platform: voicesforthelake.org. Ms. Butler encouraged community members to explore the innovative platform and to share their stories, photos, video, audio, or links. She also communicated that she will lead an instructive Webinar May 12, and that Voices for the Lake will be going “on the road” this summer with the presentation “Telling Your Digital Story,” to libraries around Vermont and upstate New York — including the St. Albans Free Library, Montpelier’s Kellogg-Hubbard Library, and the Peru Library of New York (for the complete schedule visit voicesforthelake.org/events).
     

  • ECHO Director of New Julie Silverman presented the concept for the Voices for the Lake exhibit, currently scheduled for launch this summer, where ECHO visitors can interact with existing stories and contribute their own stories to the project.
     

  • Dr. Fretz then showcased the Voices for the Lake “future vision,” wherein community-based input will influence the tools and resources of the evolving online platform: potentially tapping into emerging technologies to create applications, games, and 3-D virtual worlds for a heightened, pragmatic and visceral user experience.
     

  • Burlington Free Press President and Publisher Brad Robertson then joined ECHO’s Dr. Fretz, and jointly announced the partnership of their institutions:

Mr. Robertson: “Clearly a partnership with ECHO and Voices for the Lake is a logical next step in our mission to promote dialogue and public engagement around the environment.”

Dr. Fretz:” The Burlington Free Press’s reach to a wide and diverse audience, their skills and capacity for engaging public dialogue, and their commitment to raising environmental consciousness through their Green Mountain section, makes them an ideal ECHO partner.”

Mr. Robertson then announced that the next project of the partnership is the creation of an annual Earth Day event, recognizing extraordinary environmental achievements by Vermonters, premiering Earth Day, 2011 at ECHO. He then acknowledged the distinguished members of the event’s Criteria Committee (in alphabetical order): Annie Bourdon, Founder and Executive Director of CarShare Vermont; Darby Bradley, former President of the Vermont Land Trust; Elizabeth Courtney, Executive Director of the Vermont National Resources Council; John Ewing, Founder and Chair of Smart Growth Vermont; Chris Kilian, Vice President and Director of the Conservation Law Foundation’s Vermont Advocacy Center and Clean Water & Healthy Forests Program; former Governor of Vermont Madeleine Kunin; Ben Rose, Executive Director of the Green Mountain Club; Mara Welton, Operator of the Half Pint Farm/Intervale; Mike Winslow, Lake Champlain Committee Staff Scientist.

  • In his closing statement, Dr. Fretz encouraged the community to participate in the new Earth Day Vermont environmental recognition project’s process and to submit their Lake stories to Voices for the Lake.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.

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ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center is located at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, on Vermont’s Burlington Waterfront. ECHO features 70 live species, more than 100 interactive experiences, changing and permanent exhibits and seasonal events — all exploring the Ecology, Culture, History, and Opportunity for stewardship of the Lake Champlain Basin. The 2.2 acre Leahy Center environmental campus is also highlighted by the Lake Champlain Basin Program Resource Room, UVM’s Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory, Lake Champlain Navy Memorial, ECHO’s Eclectic Gift Shop, and ecology-themed Think! Café. Open year-round, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve & Day. For more information visit echovermont.org, call 877.324.6386, or write to ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, One College Street, Burlington, VT 05401.

 

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