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Messages - Karen Ribeiro

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1
Here's a great link for conference attendees with many transportation options (as well as directions to the UMass campus!):

http://umassalumni.com/directions.html

2
Volunteering at the October 2013 Symposium / Volunteering
« on: August 27, 2013, 09:48:33 AM »
If you have basic technology skills and basic people skills - and the desire to help us make this the best biochar conference EVER - please comment to this discussion board and we'll get you involved and connected to this amazing group of biochar enthusiasts!

Thanks in advance!

Karen Ribeiro
conference director

3
Room Sharing at the October 2013 Symposium / Tenting
« on: August 27, 2013, 09:45:44 AM »
There are limited spaces for tenting at the New England Small Farm Institute. If you are interested in tenting, please comment to this topic. Thanks!

4
Room Sharing at the October 2013 Symposium / Double Rooms
« on: August 07, 2013, 07:47:43 AM »
Point of Information:

There are two hotels with blocks of rooms for the October symposium that have many double rooms - the Holiday Inn Express (Address: 400 Russell St, Hadley, MA 01035  Phone: (413) 582-0002) and the Courtyard Marriott (Address: 423 Russell St. Hadley, MA 01035  Phone: (413) 256-5454).

The University travel lodge has double options as well but we are still working on a block of rooms to be set aside for the conference.

5
Event Announcements / PVBI Exhibiting at NOFA Conference
« on: August 07, 2013, 07:40:37 AM »
Hi Everyone,

I have decided that because I have time this weekend and because they expect 1000+ people at the NOFA Conference at UMass, I will exhibit (1/2 table) for PVBI and the 2013 North American Biochar Symposium.

I have the banner I printed from last summer and very few post cards to hand out. I can print 1/2 page flyers to distribute as well with a QR code to the symposium website and other details.

One thought I have is about how to give samples of char away or how to take orders for One Rabbit Biochar. Any thoughts? I don't have boxes of ziplock bags or the time to put char in bags. I also don't know if taking orders for char is desirable.

Karen

6
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Thanks,
Karen

7
Alan -

Thanks for the research on this. VYEW looks great. How about the audio? Can this be used with free conference or another 800# people dial into? I've attended many of these things but have never moderated one (I know it can get a little crazy with lots of people).

Is the goal simply to have a tool when needed, or is there a specific webinar need separate from the symposium? If it is just for the symposium, I'll ask for Joe Shoenfeld's two cents.

Karen

8
Glad to see many people have seen last week's update. The momentum is building!

Here are the updates for week two:

Tuesday Dick hosted another meeting at his home. Here are Dick's meeting notes:
This was attended by Karen Ribeiro, Jonathan Spiegel, Alan Page, and (by Phone) Ted Wysocki.
 
We shall aim for a Symposium in Fall, 2013 which will include cooperation with the Canadians, interest in which was expressed by Lloyd Helferty who we will attempt (by phone) to include in future discussions.
 
There was discussion of the best choice for a conference site, with UMass being geopgraphically best but quite expensive. Karen will investgate alternative sites and report back by the end of the week.
 
Karen will explore funding possibilities through May 20th and submit a provisional application for $5,000 and other support by the US Biochar Initiative (USBI) with the intent that they host their annual meeting at our symposium. Consideration was made about having a Research Endowment for funds received, and I called attention to the UMass Endowment which I have established.  I suggested to Karen that she discuss with Laurie the relationship and desirability of such endowments. (at some future date)
 
Dick expressed the desire to have a greater UMass commitment to this effort.  We are very indebted to Dean Herbert for his help and for the sponsorship of the Biochar Seminar Series through the Center for Agriculture. However, he believes that Steve is overcommitted and underfunded and that more University resources are desirable. He expressed the intent to write to our departing Chancellor, Holub to have interaction with our newly arriving  Chancellor Subbaswamy to consider possibilities. His belief  is that one in dealing with the energy and the environment would be appropriate and it would be desirable to involve University resources other than the Center for Agriculture. The question was posed: would UMass sponsor the symposium if it was held off campus? Dick has set up a meeting with Steve Herbert for Wednesday April 11 at 8:30. Karen will be unable to attend at this time and was unable to set up an appointment with Steve Herbert directly.

Also discussed at this meeting: (1) the recent Green Streets article about Coca-Cola's waste water (which they have paid a fine to Northampton) and other filtration of storm water runoff. Ted has followed up with city officials and is having success with creating a dialogue about biochar filtration possibilities.
(2) the importance of having indoor and outdoor workshop opportunities at the Symposium. Karen suggested having three tracts (research/academic, farm/forester, student/general public) and each having a rotating field day at NESFI with shuttle transportation from the venue. (3) having various tiers of sponsorship possibilities. Karen already has a community member wanting to contribute. The community tier could be a sliding scale of $25-100 payable to NESFI (and Karen would like to create an Electronic thank you card to send out to all contributors with the date of the symposium and the tax-ID# for their receipt). Sonoma has 12 tiers of sponsorship ranging from $1,000 to $25,000.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have contacted the following biochar industry leaders:

* Peter Hirst - Peter has graciously offered to hold a spot in the program for me to speak at the Sonoma Conference in July, should I be able to get there. We spoke about the importance of working together versus competitively and the momentum behind biochar being quite strong (meaning that the 2013 symposium funding should come through without extreme stress). I suggested that the 2013 symposium be a continuation of the conversations that manifest in Sonoma. There will be a Canadian Summit in Sonoma and Peter and Lloyd Helferty are looking for connections in Mexico in order to properly represent North America. Peter shared details of the 2012 "Farm Out" sessions and having 4-5 plots established for field trials. They received 10T of char for a very low price for these trials. They expect NRCS to administer various CIG grants and Peter suggested we look into this opportunity locally. He also advised me on what to include with our proposal to US Biochar and graciously introduced me to Oren Wool, the Sonoma conference coordinator. I will follow up again with Oren when we have more details.

* Victoria Kamsler - Victoria responded immediately to a LinkedIn message I sent her and expressed interest in our symposium. I followed up with a few basic questions and will report back what I hear.

* Jim Fournier - Jim has sold Biochar Engineering to a private company and is chairman of Biochar Solutions, but has also launched a NGO called Planetwork which appears to be a networking organization. He has not yet responded to a LinkedIn message in which I asked about his interest in the 2013 symposium. He expressed STRONG interest in sponsoring a symposium in New England...

* Danny Day with Eprida, Lloyd Helferty with Canadian Biochar, Lopa Brunjes with The Biochar Co., Morgan Williams with Biochar Solutions and Flux Farm were also all contacted via LinkedIn. Morgan has acknowledged my outreach and Lloyd has emailed back, particularly thanks to the great outreach Ted has been doing with Lloyd.

* Laurie Benoit - Laurie and I spoke about the budget constraints at UMass and that "freebie" support would not be likely unless a staff person here or there were to support our effort. It remains unclear what financial or resource contribution UMass would offer.

* Jennifer Provost - Jennifer is the only sales person for the Clarion Hotel, which is the only other local venue in the area that could accommodate the potential attendance for the 2013 Symposium. I have left Jennifer four messages and asked the hotel staff to intercede and physically hand Jennifer the message that I have called due to the urgent need to confirm dates available for the symposium.

* Christian Lagier - Christian is a board member of Co-op Power and an associate dean at Smith College

* Margie Hutter - Margie is in development at Hampshire College

* Carol Aleman - Carol is a five college administrator who will connect me with the executive director (Neal Abraham) and the director of academic programs (Nate Therrian) for a conversation about moving forward. I have also left a message with their sustainability coordinator, Beth Hooker.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Based on the program at Sonoma, it appears that a SUNDAY, MONDAY, TUESDAY event might be the best approach. And, given their request to host their annual meeting in the late summer early fall, it seems that October 6, 7, and 8 might be the most advantageous dates - unless these conflict with homecoming in the five college area.

Please feel free to offer feedback, suggestions, encouragement, etc.!!

Thank you,
Karen Ribeiro

9
Event Announcements / Re: Biochar Symposium 2013
« on: April 06, 2012, 09:44:22 AM »
Glad to see many people have seen last week's update. The momentum is building!

Here are the updates for week two:

Tuesday Dick hosted another meeting at his home. Here are Dick's meeting notes:
This was attended by Karen Ribeiro, Jonathan Spiegel, Alan Page, and (by Phone) Ted Wysocki.
 
We shall aim for a Symposium in Fall, 2013 which will include cooperation with the Canadians, interest in which was expressed by Lloyd Helferty who we will attempt (by phone) to include in future discussions.
 
There was discussion of the best choice for a conference site, with UMass being geopgraphically best but quite expensive. Karen will investgate alternative sites and report back by the end of the week.
 
Karen will explore funding possibilities through May 20th and submit a provisional application for $5,000 and other support by the US Biochar Initiative (USBI) with the intent that they host their annual meeting at our symposium. Consideration was made about having a Research Endowment for funds received, and I called attention to the UMass Endowment which I have established.  I suggested to Karen that she discuss with Laurie the relationship and desirability of such endowments. (at some future date)
 
Dick expressed the desire to have a greater UMass commitment to this effort.  We are very indebted to Dean Herbert for his help and for the sponsorship of the Biochar Seminar Series through the Center for Agriculture. However, he believes that Steve is overcommitted and underfunded and that more University resources are desirable. He expressed the intent to write to our departing Chancellor, Holub to have interaction with our newly arriving  Chancellor Subbaswamy to consider possibilities. His belief  is that one in dealing with the energy and the environment would be appropriate and it would be desirable to involve University resources other than the Center for Agriculture. The question was posed: would UMass sponsor the symposium if it was held off campus? Dick has set up a meeting with Steve Herbert for Wednesday April 11 at 8:30. Karen will be unable to attend at this time and was unable to set up an appointment with Steve Herbert directly.

Also discussed at this meeting: (1) the recent Green Streets article about Coca-Cola's waste water (which they have paid a fine to Northampton) and other filtration of storm water runoff. Ted has followed up with city officials and is having success with creating a dialogue about biochar filtration possibilities.
(2) the importance of having indoor and outdoor workshop opportunities at the Symposium. Karen suggested having three tracts (research/academic, farm/forester, student/general public) and each having a rotating field day at NESFI with shuttle transportation from the venue. (3) having various tiers of sponsorship possibilities. Karen already has a community member wanting to contribute. The community tier could be a sliding scale of $25-100 payable to NESFI (and Karen would like to create an Electronic thank you card to send out to all contributors with the date of the symposium and the tax-ID# for their receipt). Sonoma has 12 tiers of sponsorship ranging from $1,000 to $25,000.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have contacted the following biochar industry leaders:

* Peter Hirst - Peter has graciously offered to hold a spot in the program for me to speak at the Sonoma Conference in July, should I be able to get there. We spoke about the importance of working together versus competitively and the momentum behind biochar being quite strong (meaning that the 2013 symposium funding should come through without extreme stress). I suggested that the 2013 symposium be a continuation of the conversations that manifest in Sonoma. There will be a Canadian Summit in Sonoma and Peter and Lloyd Helferty are looking for connections in Mexico in order to properly represent North America. Peter shared details of the 2012 "Farm Out" sessions and having 4-5 plots established for field trials. They received 10T of char for a very low price for these trials. They expect NRCS to administer various CIG grants and Peter suggested we look into this opportunity locally. He also advised me on what to include with our proposal to US Biochar and graciously introduced me to Oren Wool, the Sonoma conference coordinator. I will follow up again with Oren when we have more details.

* Victoria Kamsler - Victoria responded immediately to a LinkedIn message I sent her and expressed interest in our symposium. I followed up with a few basic questions and will report back what I hear.

* Jim Fournier - Jim has sold Biochar Engineering to a private company and is chairman of Biochar Solutions, but has also launched a NGO called Planetwork which appears to be a networking organization. He has not yet responded to a LinkedIn message in which I asked about his interest in the 2013 symposium. He expressed STRONG interest in sponsoring a symposium in New England...

* Danny Day with Eprida, Lloyd Helferty with Canadian Biochar, Lopa Brunjes with The Biochar Co., Morgan Williams with Biochar Solutions and Flux Farm were also all contacted via LinkedIn. Morgan has acknowledged my outreach and Lloyd has emailed back, particularly thanks to the great outreach Ted has been doing with Lloyd.

* Laurie Benoit - Laurie and I spoke about the budget constraints at UMass and that "freebie" support would not be likely unless a staff person here or there were to support our effort. It remains unclear what financial or resource contribution UMass would offer.

* Jennifer Provost - Jennifer is the only sales person for the Clarion Hotel, which is the only other local venue in the area that could accommodate the potential attendance for the 2013 Symposium. I have left Jennifer four messages and asked the hotel staff to intercede and physically hand Jennifer the message that I have called due to the urgent need to confirm dates available for the symposium.

* Christian Lagier - Christian is a board member of Co-op Power and an associate dean at Smith College

* Margie Hutter - Margie is in development at Hampshire College

* Carol Aleman - Carol is a five college administrator who will connect me with the executive director (Neal Abraham) and the director of academic programs (Nate Therrian) for a conversation about moving forward. I have also left a message with their sustainability coordinator, Beth Hooker.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Based on the program at Sonoma, it appears that a SUNDAY, MONDAY, TUESDAY event might be the best approach. And, given their request to host their annual meeting in the late summer early fall, it seems that October 6, 7, and 8 might be the most advantageous dates - unless these conflict with homecoming in the five college area.

Please feel free to offer feedback, suggestions, encouragement, etc.!!

Thank you,
Karen Ribeiro

10
Event Announcements / Re: Biochar Symposium 2013 - Friday 3/30
« on: March 30, 2012, 04:31:42 PM »
Hi Everyone,

This is my first update and I'm happy to report that many good things are in motion! Suzanne Hale has provided me with fantastic records and terrific contacts to follow up with. THE MORE THE MERRIER! So if you know of anyone who should be contacted with an invitation to support our 2013 symposium, please let me know - my email is karen@innerfortune.com. Don't worry if I might already have the contact :)

The first official meeting to plan for the event was yesterday in Dick Stein's home. Thayer Tomlinson of IBI has followed up with Gloria Flora to find out if USBI may wish to have their annual meeting at the symposium and we should have a good sense on this soon. Thayer also shared a few good resources at her series talk following the meeting that I will follow up on.

At this meeting, Ted shared a possible funding source, the Rockefeller Foundation. I have written a grant to this foundation before and will pursue this lead. I am also seeking a follow up meeting next week with Steve Herbert, Lori Benoit, and Jonathan Spiegel, along with the person Steve would like to head up his biochar research project in Deerfield.

The key issues are - when will the symposium take place, how many days will it be, what levels of sponsorship to present to sponsors (the Sonoma symposium has 13 levels ranging from $1,000 to $25,000!). NESFI might want to identify a specific value for the field day, the resources/connections, research, etc. and establish that as a "champion" sponsor level or so. I'd like to include a community member sponsor level that could be on a sliding scale of say $25-$100 that could directly go to NESFI. I already received a pledge for this category!!

Any comments, suggestions, questions?

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