Workshops 2014

On Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, attendees will have an opportunity to participate in one of 12+ workshops that will include information from someone experienced in the field, followed by interaction designed to equip them for action. Between symposium sessions, there will be brief times of stretching/breathing exercises led by Eve DesJardins.

The schedule for each day is below, with locations for each workshop. Details about each workshop and each presenter are below the schedule.

Saturday workshops:

Location Presenter Topic
United Church of Strafford Todd Binzen Art as Sustaining and Transforming
United Church of Strafford Betsy Hardy Congregations Taking Action on Climate
United Church of Strafford Jeff Wolfe Technology Solutions for our Future
Strafford Library Steve Buckingham Public Policy Advocacy
Town House Allan Baer Digital Video Globe
Town Clerk’s Office George Plumb and Helen Wilson Climate Change, Population Growth and Spirituality
 Firehouse Jane Dwinell Designing, Building, and Living in a Tiny House

Sunday workshops:

Location Presenter Topic
Morrill Homestead Lisa McCrory, Joann Darling, and Dr. Will Allen Food as Revolutionary
Town House Reverend Byron Breese and Cinnamon R. Spear Spiritual and Contemplative: an Indigenous/Christian dialogue
Meditation Tent Rev. Dr. Gregory V. Wilson Earth Recovery Groups
Strafford Library Peter Bowden Critical Connections:  Integrating Social Media, Meaning and Climate Activism
Town Clerk’s Office Simon Dennis The Heart of Transition: How To Advance Community Change from the Inside Out
Firehouse Fred Wolfe Getting Arrested



Food as Revolutionary

Leaders: Lisa McCrory, Joann Darling, and Will Allen.
Will Allen Will Allen is a self-identified “food freak”, author of the book The War on Bugs, and a lifelong farmer. It is these primary passions – growing, cooking and eating food – that have led him to a lifetime of activism. Will grew up on a small farm in southern California and served in the Marine Corps between the Korean Vietnam wars. He received a PhD in Anthropology (focused on Peruvian tropical rain forest agriculture) and taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, before being fired and sentenced to a year in jail for civil rights and anti-war activism. He returned to farming and farm labor full time in 1972 and has been farming organically ever since in Oregon, California and Vermont, where he now co-manages Cedar Circle Farm with his partner Kate Duesterberg. He founded the Sustainable Cotton Project in 1991 and served as its executive director for thirteen years. He is currently a co-chair of Farms Not Arms, is a policy advisory board member of the Organic Consumers Association and serves on the board of Rural Vermont.

LisaMcCLisa McCrory is a certified organic farmer, agricultural consultant, and a dowser. She operates Earthwise Farm add Forest in Bethel, VT with her husband, Carl Russell,  where they use draft animals for logging and field work, and market heritage turkeys, chicken, eggs, beef, pork, milk, vegetables and flowers. They live ‘off grid’ and use solar power and energy conservation practices in their ‘whole farm’ design.
The emphasis of their farming enterprise is to function as a self-sufficient ‘whole farm organism’, applying ecological principles, biodynamics, dowsing, motive (animal) power, and renewable energy to create healthy vibrant food and forest products for their family and their local community.
Everything on their farm is raised using a process of intention and intuition to validate the unseen energy of life’s creative process.  Dowsing plays an important role in this spiritual connection to the farm.  This experience brings with it a very spiritual component to the farm for Lisa. By abandoning the ego and agreeing to be a co-creator with other earth energies, she often finds herself on a journey of self-discovery; expanding her awareness and building a deeper connection to Mother Earth and all that is.
Lisa McCrory, Earthwise Farm and Forest, Bethel, VT
Email:, Phone: 802-234-5524

Bio Pic

Joann Darling: A native Vermonter, Joann lives in Barre, in the homestead where she grew up and today practices and teaches skills in traditional arts. She has been connected to the land of Vermont for generations, closely tied to the plants, animals and people through the seasons. Her knowledge and wisdom includes the myriad ways of knowing the plants through Perennial and medicinal herb growing, cut flower growing and arrangements, medicine making, dyeing, felting, weaving and growing flax for fiber. Joann has been growing medicinal plants for many years, opening her Nursery and Flower Farm, “Gardens of Seven Gables” in 1994. A down-to-earth entrepreneur, she owns a soap company, Green Sylk Soap Company.
As an apprentice at the Marshfield School of Weaving, Joann received a grant from the Vermont Folklife Center to document the process the of growing flax and processing it all the way through to a piece of woven cloth.
Her interest in Weaving and Natural dyes led her to Peru this pass winter where she studied with Quechua and Chinchero woman.
In 2009 Joann was part of The Apple Corps, the group that planted the first vegetable garden on a Statehouse Lawn. She has taught at the International Herb Symposium, New England Woman’s Herbal Conferense, Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, The Vermont Sheep and Wool Expo and in the community on subjects ranging from Seed and Plant starting, Pollinators, in addition to Natural Dyes for wool to Natural Hair Care.  Her experience brings her gratitude for the abundance that Mother earth provides us if we pay attention to her teachings and circulate it in the community in a generous way.   (Studies include: Environmental Science, Botany , Organic and Sustainable Gardening Technologies, Bio-remediation, Herbalism, Reiki, Weaving and Natural dyes.)


The Digital Video Globe presented by Allan Baer

Allan Baer is a social entrepreneur active in renewable energy and climate change education for more than three decades. He is currently the Founder and President of SolarQuest™, a Vermont-based not-for-profit organization, which holds commitments with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and CGI-University Annual Meetings, and the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.

Mr. Baer has conducted original research on “Productivity-centered, Service-learning” as an emerging
pedagogy to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education in collaboration with the White House Millennium Council, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and U.S. Department of Energy (1996-2001). He established the first “deep-rural” educational telecenter under the G8 mandate for universal service in partnership with the White House Millennium Council (2000), and he directed renewable energy education programs in support of the United Nations project to repower the Province of the Galápagos with renewable energy technologies (2002-2009). In 2005, Mr. Baer was appointed by the Republic of Ecuador as Honorary Ambassador to the Province of the Galapagos. Mr. Baer has recently committed to a ten-year education and capacity building program under the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Initiative to transition the energy sector of the Commonwealth of Jamaica to renewable energy.

Mr. Baer co-developed (with the University of North Texas and Global Challenge Awards) a National
Science Foundation funded energy and climate change curriculum for middle schools – Middle Schoolers Out to Save the World (M-SOS-W) – implemented in 5 states and 22 schools. Mr. Baer speaksinternationally on topics related to energy and climate change, the economics of the global transition to a low-carbon economy, and the role of education and capacity building to achieve climate stability. Mr. Baer is a life-long learner: B.A., Wesleyan University, 1979; M.A., Goddard College, 2010.


Art as Sustaining and Transforming

Leader: Todd Binzen   

In this workshop, we will make art using translucent layers of colored tissue paper. This is a relaxing, creative and exploratory activity, appropriate for those of any age and artistic temperament or expertise.


Todd Binzen is a visual artist and tai chi instructor. He lives with his wife and children in Strafford, Vt.

His art, like his tai chi, is based on the prospect of inner transformation growing from greater understanding and appreciation of oneself and one’s relationships. He paints abstractly in oils with an eye toward the wonder of nature. He has taught tai chi to a wide range of adults and children, including cancer patients and Alzheimer sufferers.  Please visit his website:



Critical Connections:  Integrating Social Media, Meaning and Climate Activism

Leader: Peter Bowden

peterbowden2013Today thousands upon thousands of people participate in online advocacy, from signing petitions to sharing the latest climate news via Facebook. But for many, these are the only actions they take despite a desire to help see faster progress on climate.  Why is this?  Peter believes that as a movement we fail to provide the relationships, and space for reflection and story that spark our taking new inspired actions.   In this workshop we’ll explore strategies for integrating social media and in-person community engagement to better support new activists, their development and build the climate movement.

Peter Bowden
 is the director of the Leading Congregations Consulting Group, an independent television producer (PBS programs), an popular speaker within the Unitarian Universalist Association. In his work with congregations, Peter specializes in integrating ministry, media and membership development.  Much of his climate activism is focused on coaching climate leaders learn to harness the power of digital media including working as a volunteer with the 350Mass media team, and coordinating social media for the UU Climate Action Network


Spiritual and Contemplative: an Indigenous/Christian dialogue

Leaders: Rev. Byron Breese and Cinnamon R. Spear

Byron-Breese-200x200The Reverend Byron Breese is the Pastor of the United Church of Strafford.  A native of New Jersey he half-jokingly says he grew up there “when there were still trees.”  Indeed, as farms and wooded areas disappeared from Middlesex County from the 1960s to the 1980s the importance of being raised by a father who took the meaning of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” as more than mere metaphor remains with him.  A watercolor painter and analog photographer, Rev. Breese concentrated all his life on landscape and the human form – media and subject matter that later figured into his graduate work with profoundly embodied theological importance.  After participation as the US representative to an international artists’ camp in Sri Lanka in 2000 he expanded to mixed-media work based on religious iconographies.  A life-long and committed religious pluralist he gained the ironically accurate moniker “Bapto-palian in the Buddheo-Christian tradition” during seminary and is a co-founder of the Monmouth Center for World Religions and Ethical Thought ( ) in Monmouth County, NJ, one of the formative inter-faith efforts in that state beginning in 1994. He was the pastor of the Old First Church, Middletown, NJ – an American Baptist and United Church of Christ congregation – founded in 1688; he is an ordained American Baptist minister.  From 1998 to 2010 he taught world religions at Elmira College, Elmira, NY and since 2009 teaches comparative religions and global mythology for the Community College of Vermont.  A retired Air Force officer (Major) he served – both active and reserve, CONUS and overseas – from 1983 to 2006 on wing- and higher-headquarters-levels as a certified substance abuse counselor, human relations/equal opportunity & treatment case-worker & program manager, reserve auxiliary chaplain, and, finally, AFROTC instructor at Cornell University.  His academic degrees are: BA in the Humanities (Eisenhower College, 1983); M.Div. in historical theology and world religions (Colgate-Rochester-Crozer Divinity School, 1991); MFA-Interdisciplinary Arts (Goddard College, 2013).  During 2001-2002 he studied art & religion with field-founders Douglas Adams and Jane Daggett-Dillenberger (and with art historian, Reindert Falkenburg) at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA.  He began serving the United Church of Strafford during Advent 2010 and moved into the parsonage in South Strafford in May 2012.  He is the father of two children, Lev (aged 7) and Ada (aged 4).


Cinnamon-Spear-photo-200x200Cinnamon Spear is a Northern Cheyenne woman, writer and filmmaker.  She lives in Lame Deer, Montana and lived nearly seven years in New Hampshire earning the B.A. and Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degrees from Dartmouth College.  She is the first and only student from Lame Deer High School to receive an Ivy League education. Her work is a direct response to American misrepresentation and cultural appropriation, and provides a true sense of her history and people. More recently, she utilized documentary filmmaking in her home community as the focus of her Master’s thesis.  Pursuing higher education in the eastern United States has provided challenges for cultural participation as a Cheyenne woman, because indigenous spiritualties are place-based; post-undergrad, Cinnamon lived in Pine Ridge, South Dakota and developed spiritually with her Oglala Lakota relatives, historic allies of the Northern Cheyenne.


Public Policy Advocacy

This interactive program will focus on how people of faith (in my case, Unitarian Universalists) act as environmental and social advocates at the state level. Participants will come away with and understanding of why we are called to action and how advocacy is a spiritual practice. We will discuss the types of social action, what state advocacy networks do, and use as an example how a UU Legislative Ministry has helped shape environmental policy in Maryland. Finally, participants will be guided in developing the tools for their own personal advocacy.
Leader: Steve Buckingham was raised as a UU in Atlanta and the Main Line church outside of Philadelphia. He helped found the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland 2005 and currently serves as Co-Chair. Until June, he was the President of the Goodloe Memorial UU Congregation in Bowie, Maryland, a post he has held for six of the last 12 years. Steve is an attorney, a community activist in Anne Arundel County, and a political activist since the 1960s. Professionally, he lobbied professionally in Annapolis for nonprofit healthcare and social organizations for twenty years. During that time, he represented the Heart Association and the Cancer Society during the tobacco wars in the 90s, where he helped build the scientific and legal case for the novel workplace smoking ban, and he appeared amicus curiae in its defense in the Circuit Court and followed it to its successful conclusion in the Maryland Court of Appeals. He also represented professional social workers and acupuncturists for over 12 years, the AIDS Legislative Committee, and Food and Friends. He was the paid lobbyist for Free State Justice, the predecessor of Equality Maryland when the State passed its Nondiscrimination Act in 2001.

Steve is currently using his health law background to assist the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in moving the hospital and medical community into meaningful use of electronic health records with the aim of improving the efficiency and quality of the American healthcare system.


Breathing/Movement Leader: Eve DesJardins MA, Antioch New England, holds the honor of having helped bring circle dance from the Findhorn Community in Scotland to northern New England in the late eighties. Over the years, she has led circles of contemplative dance, storytelling and ritual for folks aged 4 to 84. Eve loves to mentor others who wish to also facilitate circle dance. Eve is a Master Flower Essence Practitioner of 20 years, rooted in Jung, non-dual wisdom traditions and Christian mysticism. She calls her one-on-one work with children and adults BodyMindSpirt Integration Therapy. She lives in Chelsea, Vermont and is the proud mother of two teenagers, a son and a daughter.



The Heart of Transition: How to Advance Community Change from the Inside Out.

Leader: Simon P. Dennis

As we recognize that the transition from consumer culture to sustainable culture is in its essence a profound inner revolution, it is becoming increasingly clear that we need an organizing model that is able to bring change on both the inner and the outer human dimensions. In this workshop, we will discuss the theory and practice of an emergent approach to community change that may have answers about how we can meet the challenges we face.


Transformational Practice is a consciousness-based approach to social change that is founded on a paradigm of radical human interconnectedness at deeper levels of consciousness. Participants will gain both general considerations and practical tips about how to build collective vision around a common goal and energize a community of change agents to pursue it in a sustainable manner. 

simon's bio pic
Simon Dennis currently serves as a member of the Hartford Select Board, as a certified Transition Trainer with a focus on ‘inner transition’ and as the founding director for the Center for Transformational Practice (, a meeting place and practice center for all who seek to advance sustainable culture through inner transformation. Current interests include scything his ‘lawn’ and riding his bicycle.


Designing, Building and Living in a Tiny House

Leader: Jane Dwinell The freedom that comes with letting go of the consumeristic life leaves you with lots of free time to then be able to live a more authentic life, not one driven by society and constantly acquiring new things and more money. People become more mindful since that is the first thing you have to do — you have to learn to question every activity and every purchase — is this in line with my values? does this help or hurt the earth, other people, the natural world, myself? That opens you up to being more mindful about everything in your life, freeing up unhealthy relationships, jobs you don’t like, bad habits, etc. You are able to share more easily with everything and everyone around you. Walls are broken down as you open up to the world, and feel connected to all that is.” Would you like to decrease your ecological footprint? Living in a tiny house is one way to do this. Jane Dwinell, author of Freedom Through Frugality: Spend Less, Have More, will share with you how she and her husband designed, built, and then lived and travelled in their 8’x20′ tiny house on a trailer. With a lifetime of experience living on a small footprint, Jane will share with you how you can have a fabulous life with very little money and even less stuff. Jane Dwinell is a Unitarian Universalist minister, author, and simple living advocate. She is a small congregation consultant, and is currently serving the Adirondack Unitarian Universalist Community in Saranac Lake, NY as their part time minister. She and her partner, Sky Yardley, live on the shores of Lake Champlain in Addison, VT where they enjoy the lake, their gardens, playing disc golf, and hanging out with their two shelter cats. Check out her website,, and her Facebook page, Freedom Through Frugality.


Congregations Taking Action on Climate

Leader: Betsy Hardy
Many congregations throughout Vermont are taking action in a variety of ways to address global warming and care for Earth. This workshop will provide a sampling of stories about actions taken in a number of congregations. It will also offer ideas about ways to encourage more action and to motivate congregations that haven’t yet begun to act. A Q&A with time for participants to share their experiences will be included.

Betsy Hardy is a founding member of Vermont Interfaith Power and Light (VTIPL), a non-profit organization working with faith and spiritual communities throughout the state to address the climate crisis. VTIPL celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Betsy is VTIPL’s Coordinator, working with a dedicated volunteer board. The organization now has 78 member congregations, from every part of the state. She also works part-time for the Vermont Ecumenical Council. Betsy has a Master’s degree in Science and Environmental Education from Cornell. She lives in a solar home in Richmond, VT and serves on the town energy committee.


Climate Change, Population Growth, and Spirituality

Leaders: George Plumb and Helen Wilson This workshop will explore: the connection between greenhouse gas emissions and population size and growth; a New Definition of Sustainability; Population, Spiritual Growth, and Climate Change; and the role of religious leaders, both professional and lay, in addressing population growth as part of climate change.”

George Plumb is the executive director of Vermonters for Sustainable Population and initiator of the world precedent setting report,  What is an Optimal/Sustainable Population for Vermont? which uses sixteen indicators to arrive at that projection. He has long been a climate change activist and is one of the first in Vermont to install an AllSun Tracker solar system and drive an all electric vehicle. In addition to his work on Population issues, George is the founder or co-founder of several state organizations including the Vt. Paddlers Association, Vt. Trails and Greenways Council, Vt. Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition, Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, Vt. Corporate Cup and State Agency Race, the Vermont Green Party, and the Vt. Chapter of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.

Helen E. Wilson has a B.S. in psychology, and a Certificate in Spiritual Formation and Direction from the Institute for Pastoral Studies in Atlanta, Georgia. Her work experience includes laboratory research for the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, and the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab in Hanover, NH. Helen is currently the Director of Music at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brevard, in West Melbourne, Florida, and a technical writer for a software company, dividing her time between Florida and Vershire, Vermont. A lifelong lover of the outdoors, she co-authored (with her husband Gregory) an article, “Spiritual Connectedness,” for the 2013 publication “What is an Optimum/Sustainable Population for Vermont” published by Vermonters for a Sustainable Population.



Earth Recovery Groups

Leader: Rev. Dr. Gregory V. Wilson Earth Recovery Groups are designed to help understand the present state of the earth’s life support systems, and define our emotional and spiritual responses, helping to cope with the grief of the loss of life and the possible loss of our future. Then, identifying the dynamics of a new story to guide and develop a new set of values that affirm life and the life-support systems of Earth, and planning and engaging in actions to bring about life supporting laws and policies. We will discuss the 12 steps that structure the groups and the reasons we need the groups.

Gregory WilsonGregory V. Wilson, is a Fellow with the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, has had a counseling practice for 25 years, and has been the minister for the past 10 years at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brevard in Melbourne, Florida. In recent years Dr. Wilson’s attention has moved from the therapy office to focusing on the social justice and environmental issues of our current age. His present work is in understanding the relationships among our environmental crisis and the Rights of Nature, Corporate person-hood, and Recovery from the Globalization of Addiction. “We cannot recover, heal or change our direction within the structures that brought us to this crisis. We need to look outside the existing economic, social, and political structures to heal and set a different course.” Rev. Wilson and The Unitarian Universalist Church of Brevard prepared the setting for “The Healing the World and Our Selves Conferences” in Florida in February of 2013 and 2014. In these conferences, 120 and 150 people gathered to explore the relationships among the present economic, environmental, governance, and collective addiction crises in a transformational setting.


Getting Arrested

Leader: Fred Wolfe We will explore the emotion of the arrest experience. Our discussion will lead us through the planning and training for civil disobedience that leads to arrest through the actual handcuffing, transport to jail, and time in the cell. Participants who have experienced arrest will be asked to share their own stories and feelings. Follow the arrest experience as a motivation to continue being a force to be reckoned with.

Fred-Wolfe-headshotFred Wolfe is a father, grandfather and great grandfather who is greatly concerned about the condition of the planet earth that he is leaving to the next generations. His careers include businessman, vocational teacher, and farmer, as well as elected and appointed civic service. His passion for travel has nurtured his inclusive world view. He is an active protester, standing on street corners, doing sit-ins, writing letters and has spent time in jail in Washington DC, after protesting against drilling in ANWR.  “I cannot stand by and just let mankind ruin our environment– “don’t just stand there, do something”, is my mantra. Fred was raised a Methodist, and is now an active Unitarian Universalist.



Technology Solutions for our Future

This workshop will review new technology that is available today and that will be available in the near future, supporting the hope that when we decide to take action to reduce our carbon emissions, there are definitive actions that we can take, quickly. Jeff will focus on the energy and transportation industries, presenting technology, economic and business information, and potential social changes possible from these changes. Just as computers and cell phone technology have created massive change and disruption, new technologies in energy and transportation can curb our carbon (and other) emissions, but also change many other dynamics at the same time. The workshop will allow people to learn by listening and asking questions, as well as by contributing their thoughts on challenges and possible outcomes. We will also brainstorm on how to speed adoption of these solutions, locally and globally.

Wolfe-Headshot-2200x200Leader: Jeffrey Wolfe has been active in energy and climate work since 1973, (during the first oil embargo), when he built his first solar collector. Since then, he has worked in large-scale building efficiency and small and large scale solar energy. He is now Senior Vice President of Operations of Wilson Solarpower Corporation (Wilson). Wilson is developing a Concentrating Solar Power electric generation system using a standard gas turbine driven by solar heated air. By integrating simple non-chemical heat storage in firebricks, the Wilson 24Solar Plant™ delivers continuous 24 hour electric generation from solar energy, at prices below fossil fired plants.A recognized leader in business and policy in the industry, Jeff founded groSolar, a nationwide solar energy installation company, where he remains as Chairman. Under Jeff’s leadership, groSolar grew to be one of the top 5 national residential solar PV installation firms, as well as a major EPC contractor for larger projects and nationwide distributor.Jeff chairs the Distributed Generation Division of SEIA, and serves on the Union of Concerned Scientists National Advisory Board.  He has testified at the US Senate and state legislatures, and regularly speaks and keynotes at industry events. He has raised several rounds of financing, completed buy and sell solar industry M&A, and is an advisor to several technology companies. Jeff is a trained Climate Reality Project presenter, and appeared in a solo video used in’s Do the Math tour. Prior to Wilson and groSolar, Jeff consulted on $1 Billion of construction as a Partner in a national engineering firm. He has a BSME from Cornell University, and is a Registered Professional Engineer. Jeff is the Moderator of the United Church of Strafford, and was Chair of the first Our Children, Climate, Faith Symposium.