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Winter 2012 Training - Sustainable Communities

About this Training

This course makes use of the latest in distance learning technology. Each weekly class consists of a 90-minute presentation and discussion on fundamental community sustainability topics. Supplemental resources will be located within the training archives.

Presentations will be delivered using both Adobe Connect, an interactive learning platform, and Moodle, a system that facilitates the development and delivery of online courses. The Moodle - Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment - site will host a threaded discussion that gives participants the opportunity to share experiences, get to know each other, ask the presenters additional questions, and engage in deeper conversation.

To maximize your learning experience, you need access to a computer with an Internet connection (preferably a high-speed connection that does not rely on a wireless connection). A headset with a microphone will be useful but is not required.

When your registration is processed, you will receive an e-mail with detailed instructions on how to access both the Adobe Connect classroom and the Moodle website.

If you are planning to take the class as part of a group, you can share a connection for the weekly presentations, but you will need a way to project your computer screen and speakers to enhance the sound.

If you have any questions about this course or would like to discuss connection options, contact a course facilitator below:

How to Sign Up

Find the registration form online at (Opens November 1)

Note: This course is available to Extension personnel only. Some community development experience is desirable but all individuals from all program areas are welcome.

The cost is only $150* per person. If you are sharing a computer and phone line, the cost per additional person is $35. Each person must register.

Registrations cancelled on or prior to January 12, 2012 will be subject to a $35 cancellation fee. Registrations cancelled after January 12, 2012 are nonrefundable.

Instructions on how and when to connect and how to gain access to the course website will be emailed on January 14, 2012.

* Special registration fee for Cooperative Extension personnel from the North Central Region. See registration form for details.


All sessions will be held at 3 p.m. eastern (2 p.m. central, 1 p.m. mountain, 12 p.m. pacific) for 1.5 hours (90 minutes).

Introduction to the Series and Basic Introduction to Community Sustainability

January 19, 2012

Want to know more about the principles of sustainability and systems thinking? Here's the starting line. Covering how we got here and what sustainability means to community, this introduction helps you understand some of the models of sustainable communities and why so many communities are wrestling with sustainability issues like energy and local food.


January 26, 2012

This session will provide you with information about non-renewable and renewable energy from three angles: production, consumption and distribution, in addition to discussions about the important energy issues and debates of the day.

Local Food

February 2, 2012

Consumer demand for food that is locally (regionally) grown has increased sharply. This session will introduce you to the many benefits and help you understand the holistic approach needed to provide community leadership for sustainable community food systems.

New Economy

February 9, 2012

The New Economy module explores the implications of sustainability with respect to understanding and promoting community economic development.

Built Environment

February 16, 2012

This session will discuss the scope and complexity of the built environment as a system of interrelated parts. The session will help extension educators think through the issues affecting the built environment, strategies that can be used at different scales, and how to help communities make decisions leading to a more sustainable built environment.


February 23, 2012

This session will provide a broad understanding of different aspects of moving people and goods. You will learn about mobility, accessibility, and connectivity; modes of transportation; linkages to energy and climate change; ongoing trends; administrative framework of transportation planning and implementation; and how can you participate in and contribute to your community transportation solutions.

Natural Resources

March 1, 2012

This session will explore how communities are moving toward sustainability by producing food, housing and energy in ways that respect and restore their natural resources including soils, water, air, forests and biodiversity.

Community Capacity

March 8, 2012

This session will provide you with information to help mobilize community groups or committee's to take action on issues of sustainability. Useful tools and process skills will be shared to help groups determine community readiness, build high functioning committees, create momentum to take action, implement solid community decision making structures and determine how best to evaluate the work of communities as they address sustainability initiatives.