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Trainings

Community Wildlife Program

Webinars and Trainings

Register for Webinars and Trainings

Click on the "REGISTER" text next to each posted session. You will be redirected to Eventbrite to sign up for your free tickets. Once you have completed the registration form, you will receive an email from Eventbrite marked "Order Confirmation" that includes the link you will need to join the online session. Save your Order Confirmation email. There is a section within that email titled "Additional Information" which contains a link that says "Click here to join the meeting." Click on that link to start the webinar or training. You will also receive reminder emails from Eventbrite in the days leading up to your event. Please use Chrome or Edge as your internet browser, as these events are not fully supported on Firefox, Safari, or other internet browser types. 

Webinars

All sessions of our webinars are live online events that last approximately one hour and offer participants a chance to learn and ask questions to natural resources experts. Webinars are recorded and added to our online resource library.

Land Use Planning for Climate Change

Vermont’s Climate Action Plan calls for an all hands approach and identifies a wide range of actions that municipalities can lead on, especially with respect to our pattern of land use and how that affects both mitigation and adaptation. It can be overwhelming to understand where to begin and what tools might be most helpful. In this session, participants will learn about a range of land use planning tools that can be used to address climate change and some examples of how they’ve been employed.

Presenters: 

  • Ann Janda, Senior Energy Project Manager, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission
  • Jens Hilke, Conservation Planner, VT Fish and Wildlife Department 

Repeat sessions of this webinar will be offered on the following three dates: 

  • Session 1: September 30th, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Register
  • Session 2: November 9th, 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Register
  • Session 3: December 7th, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Register

Using Vermont Conservation Design to Help Plan Your Town's Climate Future

Vermont Conservation Design was first released in 2016 and has been used by towns across the state to identify landscape patterns of connected forests and waters as well as community and species hotspots. Vermont Conservation Design certainly does show these areas of current biological diversity but also speaks to climate resilience into the future. Join Community Wildlife Program staff to learn how these concepts come together and how you can use Vermont Conservation Design on the BioFinder website to better plan for your town’s climate future.

Presenters: 

  • Jens Hilke, Conservation Planner, VT Fish and Wildlife Department 
  • Lincoln Frasca, Conservation Planning Specialist, VT Fish and Wildlife Department 

Repeat sessions of this webinar will be offered on the following two dates: 

  • Session 1: October 20th, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  Register
  • Session 2: December 1st, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Register

Alive in the Fields: Understanding Grassland Bird Habitat and Protection

Did you know that Vermont is home to eleven species of grassland birds? Did you know that five of these are listed as Threatened or Endangered and the other six are listed as Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN)? That means that many towns across the state need to understand more about these species and their habitats and how to plan land use in a way that works for these species. Join Fish & Wildlife Department Bird Project Leader Doug Morin to learn more about this important topic and what towns can do to protect this piece of natural heritage.

Presenters: 

  • Doug Morin, Bird Project Leader, VT Fish and Wildlife Department 
  • Jens Hilke, Conservation Planner, VT Fish and Wildlife Department 

Repeat sessions of this webinar will be offered on the following two dates: 

  • Session 1: October 26th, 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Register
  • Session 2: December 16th, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Register

Knowing Your Options; Choosing the Right Tools for Your Town.

Are you interested in protecting your town's natural resources? Do you have conservation goals in mind and are ready to take action? Maybe you are new to municipal planning and looking for ways to get involved?. Whether you are a town planner, landowner, or renter you can help define conservation planning options. There are many examples of successful regulatory and nonregulatory approaches to land use planning across the state. Choosing the right tools at the right time is essential to meeting your conservation goals and balancing the needs of your town. Join the Vermont Fish and Wildlife's Community Wildlife Program staff and see how you can protect your community's ecology and economy in a changing world.

Presenters: 

  • Lincoln Frasca, Conservation Planning Specialist, VT Fish and Wildlife Department 
  • Jens Hilke, Conservation Planner, VT Fish and Wildlife Department 

Repeat sessions of this webinar will be offered on the following two dates: 

  • Session 1: September 22nd, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.Register
  • Session 2: November 3rd, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Register

Forests Matter: Land Use Planning for Forest Integrity

The concept of maintaining intact forest in Vermont is not new and is something that town planning and conservation commissions have been implementing for years. But as rural sprawl has increased forest fragmentation and the VT Legislature passed Vermont's Forest Integrity law (often referred to as Act 171), the topic is receiving increased interest. The Department of Forests, Parks, & Recreation and the Fish & Wildlife Department has worked with partners to put together a video series highlighting this important topic. The video series pulls together interviews from a diversity of professionals in the field; from foresters, biologists to planners and volunteers working at the local level. Please join us for this exciting session.

Presenters: 

  • Jens Hilke, Conservation Planner, VT Fish and Wildlife Department
  • Keith Thompson, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, & Recreation
  • Jim Duncan, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, & Recreation
  • Jamey Fidel, Vermont Natural Resources Council
  • Clare Rock, Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission
  • Jen Mojo, Agency of Natural Resources
  • Brian Voigt, Waitsfield Planning Commission
  • Linda Hecker, Guilford Conservation Commission
  • Kevin Geiger, Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission
  • Charlie Hancock, Cold Hollow to Canada
  • Jon Kart, Science to Action Steering Committee (Richmond)
  • Alex Weinhagen, Hinesburg Planning & Zoning
  • Deb Shelby, Bolton Planning Commission

Repeat sessions of this webinar will be offered on the following two dates: 

  • Session 1: October 12th, 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.  Register
  • Session 2: November 18th, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Register

Trainings

Our trainings are in-depth, collaborative online courses. Participants must attend all three sessions as well as complete additional brief online coursework. These courses are designed for Vermonters serving on municipal boards or who work as conservation volunteers and want to learn more about the science and concepts involved in Vermont land use planning and land management.

Environmental Leadership Training
Unit 1: From Science to Planning

This training (formerly known as NR 1) will introduce participants to important scientific concepts involved in planning for natural resources and focus on skills leaders need to operate effectively. Participants will explore the full suite of issues at play in natural resources planning, from forests and wildlife to floodplains and climate change. Presentations on context, ecological scale, and planning for whole Communities are interspersed with interactive hands-on activities that make this an intensive and exciting training.

Instructors: 

  • Jens Hilke, Conservation Planner, VT Fish and Wildlife Department 
  • Lincoln Frasca, Conservation Planner, VT Fish and Wildlife Department 

Note: This is a 3-session training course. You must sign up for all three sessions if you wish to take this class and receive the certificate.

  • Session 1: October 24th, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.  (Online)

  • Session 2: October 31st, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Online)

  • Session 3 November 7th, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Online)

Register for ELT Unit 1

Environmental Leadership Training
Unit 2: From Planning to Action

This training (formerly known as NR 2) will help you choose locally appropriate land use planning strategies for conserving natural resources and explore how leaders can best work with groups to move ideas forward in a municipal context. It uses case studies and exercises to show how taking action can work in real life. The overall goal is to build an understanding of what you can do, how to work with different people in your community, how to choose strategies to protect natural resources, and how to make it all happen. Completion of Unit 1 is not a pre-requisite but is recommended, especially for participants without a background in natural resources.

Instructors: 

  • Jens Hilke, Conservation Planner, VT Fish and Wildlife Department 
  • Lincoln Frasca, Conservation Planner, VT Fish and Wildlife Department 

Note: This is a 3-session training course. You must sign up for all three sessions if you wish to take this class and receive the certificate.

  • Session 1: October 24th, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.  (Online)
  • Session 2: October 31st, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Online)
  • Session 3 November 7th, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Online)

Register for ELT Unit 2

About Our Staff

Jens Hilke is a Conservation Planning Biologist at Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. He leads the Community Wildlife Program, which provides technical assistance to Vermont municipalities on land use planning.  He helps towns, regional planning commissions and non-governmental organizations with their conservation planning efforts. This includes help with GIS natural resource mapping, advice on prioritizing significant natural features and help with implementing town conservation goals. Jens completed his undergraduate work at Connecticut College in Environmental Sociology and then got a Masters in Botany from the University of Vermont as a Field Naturalist.  Jens has taught high school science in Vermont, New Hampshire, and New Jersey and for a study-away program in Thailand, Southeast Asia.
 Contact Jens at Jens.Hilke@Vermont.gov

Lincoln Frasca is a Conservation Planning Specialist at Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. He works in the Community Wildlife Program, which provides technical assistance to Vermont municipalities on land use planning. He collaborates with planning and conservation commissions to help achieve their conservation goals. This includes presenting educational webinars, facilitating technical trainings, and attending town meetings statewide. Lincoln completed his undergraduate work at the University of Vermont where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and a minor in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. Since graduating he has led expeditions with Outward Bound California, worked as a backcountry caretaker with the Green Mountain Club, and completed the Vermont Master Naturalist Program in both the Mad River Valley and Winooski Headwaters Chapters.

Contact Lincoln at lincoln.frasca@vermont.gov 
 


Community Wildlife Program

The Community Wildlife Program of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department provides technical assistance to towns, Regional Planning Commissions, and conservation organizations. We keep tabs on the latest in conservation science and help integrate that information into efforts to protect wildlife, habitat, and the most important lands and waters in Vermont. Whether you are drafting a new town plan, seeking a project partner, or looking to level up your conservation planning, we are here to help.

To schedule a consultation with our staff of Conservation Planners, email Jens.Hilke@Vermont.gov. Consultations and follow-up services are free of charge and sponsored by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.