Sunday, October 23, 2011

Long Island Sound Citizens Summit

I published this post a week or so ago, but it's worth doing so again:

This year’s Long Island Sound Citizens Summit, which Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound is organizing, will be as much a work session as a conference and will be a chance for those who attend to shape the future of Long Island Sound activism.

The goal is to come out of the event with a two-year work plan, based on the Long Island SoundVision agenda, for restoring and protecting the Sound, and so anyone who attends will have a say in that work plan.

I see this as a rare, if not unique, opportunity. In my previous job, I organized eight conferences in 10 years, and I’ve attended plenty of others, and I don’t remember any in which the people who attended the event helped devise such a broad, potentially important document -- that is, the two-year work plan.

The format is simple and conventional -- four morning work sessions, each one facilitated by an expert in some facet of the Sound's restoration and protection. The topics of the sessions are:

A Clean and Healthy Sound: Water Quality
The Sound People Love: Business, Tourism and Recreation
The Sound Environment: Habitat and Wildlife
Getting it Together: The Bi-State Working Group

Participants in each session will use the SoundVision agenda as a guide. Over an hour and 45 minutes, each group will come up with three priorities, hurdles to overcome, strategies to achieve what they want to achieve, key points to make to the public, and target audiences and partners.

Then everyone will re-assemble in the main conference room for a panel discussion among the leaders of the work groups and the audience. I’ll be moderating that discussion and the question and answer session that is part of it.

We’re thinking of trying to employ Twitter as a communications tool during the session I moderate. The plan is to have a laptop project a Twitter page onto a screen. People in the audience can then tweet their thoughts and questions, using the #LiSoundVision hashtag. The panelists and I will keep our eyes on it and react accordingly. We think it might be a good way of hearing from people without having to force them to stand up, wait for the microphone, and then ask their question (which we’ll also do as well).

In addition to all this, Senator Richard Blumenthal and Bridgeport Mayor William Finch will speak.

The Citizens Summit is scheduled 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, October 28, at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport.

Click here to register. And if you’re a Twitter user, include your Twitter user name as well.


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