National Parks Initiative Webinar (Text Version)
This is a text version of the video for the National Parks Initiative webinar presented on February 14, 2011, by Shawn Norton, National Park Service (NPS); and Andrew Hudgins, National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
COORDINATOR: At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. We will conduct a question-and—answer session during the conference. To request to ask a question, please press star one. Today's conference is being recorded, if you have any objection, you may disconnect at this time.
I will now turn today's meeting over to your host, Mr. Andrew Hudgins. Sir, you may begin.
ANDREW HUDGINS: Great, thank you very much. And welcome, everybody. We have an exciting webinar for you today. I know many of you have been waiting patiently for this webinar to find out how you take those next steps for the Clean Cities National Parks Initiative.
So without further ado, I'm going to introduce Dennis Smith, Director of the Clean Cities program, who will then introduce our next speaker. So, Dennis?
DENNIS SMITH: Yes, thanks, Andrew. And I appreciate everybody joining us today. Those of you who attended our retreat—our national retreat in Mount Rushmore a few months back—got a little bit of a preview of the partnership that we have worked out between the Department of Energy and our Clean Cities program and the National Park Service, but we told you to stand by. There was more coming as we worked out the details of how you could partner with parks in your region to come up with these project ideas and to really make some things happen.
So this morning, we've got another—not only myself and Andrew to talk about how the side of it works from DOE and NREL perspective, but we've got Shawn Norton with us. He's the branch chief for Sustainable Operations and Climate Change for the National Park Service, and he works at their headquarters in Washington, D.C. And Shawn and I have worked closely together to put this inter-agency agreement together, which allows us to collectively co-fund and coordinate some of the projects that we hope you guys are coming up—going to come up with some great ideas on.
So we'll have plenty of time for questions at the end, but we thought what we'd do here is have Shawn explain a little bit about their sustainability and climate-change focus, and then Andrew's going to cover some more about the websites that we have just put together. And I think you'll see real quickly how our program complements what their goals and activities are at the Park Service that are related to some of these very same topics.
So Shawn, with that, I'll turn it over to you.
SHAWN NORTON: Thank you very much, Dennis, and welcome, everybody, to the webinar. Again, my name is Shawn Norton. I'm with the U.S. National Park Service here in Washington, D.C. Specifically, I manage a branch of this organization entitled Sustainable Operations and Climate Change. As that title implies, my job is to help parks and park programs find green, not just money but green solutions—green solutions to many of their operational problems whether they be buildings based, fleet based, or other areas of our park management.
What I'd like to do today is go through a PowerPoint presentation. I'm going to ask for a little bit of help here. Here on the East Coast, at least in Washington in my building, our Internet is temporarily down, so I'm going to ask Andrew Hudgins to advance the slides I hope all of you can see on your screen, and then I'll talk through some of the things. What I like to achieve is talk through some of the things that we're currently doing here in the Park Service to get green, to be more sustainable, follow the—follow that with a conversation with—about a major new product that we're launching in our organization—what we call our Green Parks Plan.
And then we'll follow that up with—within the Green Parks Plan, as you might imagine, one of our key goals is to improve our use of more energy-efficient or fuel-efficient vehicles, alternative transportation vehicles, our fleet infrastructure. So we'll talk a little bit more specifically about how we think the Clean Cities program can help us in that regard. And then hopefully we'll have some time at the end for some questions about the parts of the program that are interest—of interest to you.
So, Andrew, if you're on Slide 1 now, NPS/DOE Clean Cities Partnership slide?
ANDREW HUDGINS: Correct.
SHAWN NORTON: Okay. As you can see, folks, we operate and maintain a wide range of activities in our parks. In many regards, we are sort of like small cities or small towns—some of these parks. And I tried to give you a sampling on this slide of some of the cool little green stuff that's going on all over our organization. The center of that slide is actually a beautiful new visitor's center up in Denali National Park, Alaska. It's called the Eielson Visitor's Center. It is a LEED Platinum building. That's to say that it is a highly efficient green building certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Other things you'll see around—there are renewable energy panels that are retrofitted on a maintenance facility. You'll see some people looking at a sign. In essence, what they're doing is—in this picture—this photo on the left is—they're refilling their plastic water bottle. This is a station in Zion where you can refill your plastic water bottles so that we can reduce the amount of plastic that's going into our waste stream.
On the lower right-hand side of this slide, a pretty interesting little trailer that's been retrofitted for—as a propane canister recycling or—facility. This basically collapses all those little propane cylinders that campers use, and we are then able to capture the gas and recycle the steel.
So just some—up on the top, you'll see some electric vehicles out in Golden Gate National Park in San Francisco. Just some of the cool things that are taking place and some of the ideas that are out there for us to follow through on in our parks.
Next slide. So here's some ongoing sustainability activities within the organization. This just gives you some context for our conversation today. As I mentioned, our green parks program is the overarching sustainability roadmap, and we'll talk more about the Green Parks Plan, but within this overarching green parks program, our number of subprograms or—that we continue to focus on—the one you'll see bulleted next is the Climate Friendly Parks program, a program that focuses on carbon reduction, greenhouse gases, specifically helping parks inventory their greenhouse gas emissions and develop climate action plans at the park level.
Then we have a Sustainable Buildings program and in—and as a key output of this program, we're trying to determine what level of performance our buildings currently have. So we're doing so-called sustainability assessments in our big buildings. And by the way, we have over 24,000 buildings in our portfolio, in our real estate portfolio, if you will, and over 7,000 of these buildings are actually historic structures. It poses some unique considerations for trying to convert them to green. So the Sustainable Buildings program is about assessing them, energy, water use of the building envelope, and finding solutions to make them high-performing or sustainable buildings.
We've got a Green Purchasing program in our—under our purview, which allows us to help parks understand how to purchase green things, whether it be paper or cement or roofing materials or any of the above. And so we've put together a number of green-purchase training events that we place around the organization.
We've got a big alternative transportation program here, and we'll talk more about that, but I don't specifically manage that program. We have a branch that's dedicated to alternative transportation. What we'll talk about as it relates to this Green Parks program is the partnership with the Clean Cities program.
And then fleet management, and as you might imagine, we've got a very large fleet in the organization. It's estimated that in the next three to five years we'll be replacing as many as 700 vehicles in our fleet, and, of course, what we choose is critical to how green or how sustainable our organization becomes.
Next slide. And in this slide, we just start to introduce the Green Parks Plan, and it starts with our vision for what green parks look like. It says we will preserve park resources unimpaired for the enjoyment of current and future generations by demonstrating leadership in sustainable design, operations, and asset management, implementing and showcasing sustainable practices at every site in every level of the organization. That's a pretty bold mandate, and we don't expect we'd be able to achieve this in any short time period. So this vision statement is really looking outward about ten years.
Many of the goals that we'll talk about today you'll find in our Green Parks Plan are derived from Executive Order or Executive Law, and we've listed just a few of them here to give you some sense of how many there are and really just how complicated this topic will be—is and will become. Ultimately, we say that this new Green Parks Plan that I'm going to talk about with you today unifies us for this vision and sets this new vision of what—and to—National Park Service's facilities can look like and can achieve.
Next slide. So what we have before you now is a slide that shows you what this Green Parks Plan looks like and its structure, the bones if you will. And you'll see there are a number of what I call buckets or icons that we are going to use to communicate some of our goals within the Green Parks Plan.
And you'll see that in these buckets, one goal for climate change, goals for energy, goals for water, and this would be energy and water conservation, obviously, as well as others in the energy field renewable energy, for fleet management and transportation management, for pollution prevention and procurement, green procurement, for the healthy indoor environments, for sustainable sites—that would be the sites—the areas of our—that we maintain directly outside of our infrastructure, not the wilderness areas for instance—and best practices, those things that have overarching implications and relationships to in all of those areas.
So each, for each one of these goal categories, we've put together a number of what we believe are very important strategic goals and sub-goals that will help us become a greener organization over the next ten years. And again, we used these icons specifically because we want to be able to communicate both within the organization and externally. We want to message—use these to message the importance of sustainability.
Next slide please. So what you'll see here is that the goals and the plan are phased over three different phases from 2010 outward to 2020. And just real quickly, Phase 1 is the rollout of the plan focusing on strategic goals and objectives related to climate change, energy, water conversation, fleet management, pollution prevention, and best practices. And it's really just the beginning of collaborating with other programs and other areas of the organization to make it happen. So that's the phase we're in now and what we're focused on getting organized and getting—and beginning these key collaborative projects.
And then, of course, Phase 2—extending the focus to all the remaining goals, starting to track them and more deeper and elaborate collaboration with other NPS programs. Phase 3—continuing to track this stuff and re-measure at the park level how well we're doing and complete implementation of all the strategic goals and reporting out on our achievements.
The next slide please. As I mentioned, Phase 1 is focusing on climate change, energy, water, fleet, and what we've done here is to just highlight some of those key goals for you to look at more specifically. As you can see, we're, again, using these icons to message or communicate the goal.
I've picked out six of the goal categories here just for this demonstration. Under climate change, we're reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and achieving what we call operational carbon neutrality or striving, I should say, striving to achieve operational carbon neutrality by 2020.
Move down then and you'll find an icon for fleet. And this is indicated by the red text in your slide. And I've just pulled out a couple of key goal statements from the plan that I think will more directly impact our conversation today. As you can see, one of the key goals is to right-size our fleet, so we're very interested in conducting what we're calling a fleet and fuel optimization study this year in all of our parks to try and better understand, you know, if we were going to replace 700 vehicles, for instance, or a number of alternative transportation systems, how best would we strategically invest that money into our system?
The next bullet says we're going to increase use of high-efficiency vehicles and alternatively fueled vehicles. This goes, of course, hand in hand with right-sizing it. We want to make sure we put in the right technology, and so this is all about inventorying and assessing what we've got out there and trying to replace it with higher-performing, better fuel-efficient vehicles.
The third bullet there, the overarching one, says that we will decrease our greenhouse gas emissions from visitor vehicles and promote the use of high-efficiency visitor vehicles. Now, as you may imagine, people love to drive to our parks and drive around our parks, and we think that's wonderful. We don't want to discourage that. What we want to encourage, however, is the use of alternatively fueled vehicles and alternatively fueled transportation systems to decrease the amount of greenhouse gases we're contributing to climate change as a result of their visit to our parks.
So there are other goals that relate to the Clean Cities partnership, but these are three that we've picked out for you to view as a way we can demonstrate the relationship.
Okay, well let's go to the next slide because we want to start talking more specifically about the Clean Cities partnership and two projects that we have underway this year with our partners. I've highlighted Mammoth Cave and Yellowstone and Grand Teton.
In the Mammoth Cave example, you'll note that they're going to be purchasing some propane-powered school buses. Mammoth Cave has been a leader in the alternative transportation and fleet management arena for some time now in the Park Service, and they're continuing that leadership this year with this grant. They'll be buying some bi-fuel pickup trucks. They'll be picking—purchasing some low-speed electric utility vehicles.
And probably as important as any of this, we really strongly encourage or really almost mandate that each of these projects have an education, an outreach, and marketing component to them. We want to really tell the story of the project and make sure that visitors see the opportunities that are before them both inside the park and when they leave the park.
At Yellowstone and Grand Teton, similarly at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch, a hybrid transit and plug-in utility vehicle will be purchased for them. Additionally, there will be NPS interpretive staff and wildlife brigade hybrid vehicle upgrades. And then an idle-reduction project that we will implement at—in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. And for those of you who don't know what that means, it's really not just Yellowstone National Park, but it continues southward all the way through the Grand Teton range. So it's a very large project and a very important one for that ecosystem.
The next slide please. Okay. This is the next to last slide, and it really starts to talk about what the relationship looks—could and should look like between Clean Cities and National Park Service. And what I've tried to do here is just put together a few bullets that make sense to us. The types of projects that we believe parks are looking for. And this is—we've learned this through, as you might imagine, a number of years of working with parks in identifying their needs.
So the first one says that parks are really looking for funding to sustain transit system operations and maintenance. This is of course related to the systems that we currently have in place. As you might imagine, just keeping those systems operational does require significant year-to-year funding. And what we're finding is that that's becoming harder and harder to achieve. So parks that have existing systems really need the support to keep those systems running. And that's—it comes in the form of just funding.
The second bullet, replacing aging transit equipment and the facilities surrounding that equipment. This is our so-called deferred maintenance. I don't have a number here that I can throw out at you, but I can tell you this is in the millions—tens of millions of dollars where we have aging equipment and aging infrastructure, facilities infrastructure that—this is transit-related infrastructure—that really needs to be upgraded and just maintained better. So there's those kinds of projects that exist.
The next one is developing new alternative transportation technologies infrastructure. And this is probably the future of—really for parks. We now know that, you know, visitation is causing significant degradation whether it be to our climate or to our ecosystems, on the ground ecosystems, and moving people around is becoming extremely important to us, but moving them around efficiently and keeping them happy. The new transportation system technologies and infrastructure are needed in all the big parks, and many of the parks who just really need to look at how to better move visitors around.
Oh well the next bullet is the development of partnerships, and I noted both public-to-public or public-to-private partnerships to help and/or share to build, develop, provide transit systems. We don't always want to own them. We don't always want to operate them. We believe that some of the best opportunities exist for others to manage and—these systems in collaboration with us, so there's a tremendous opportunity for development of partnerships with parks to provide these systems.
And lastly here, replacing aging fleets with high-performing vehicles. And this is—we referenced this earlier, but this is—it's critical. We've, as I said, we've got over 700 vehicles. And these are the small stuff. This isn't the big stuff—the big land-moving equipment—and this isn't the larger alternative or big buses. This is just our smaller fleet. Over 700 of these things are going to have to be replaced in the near term. And so there's a tremendous need for us to find resources to make that happen.
We do not have any new money to make any of this happen. We're all—we're going to have to live within our existing budgets within the next few years. In fact, we might see decreases. So it's becoming extremely important for us to find partnerships that can help us do the things we need to do.
And with that, I'm going to wrap it up with—by just going to the next slide and saying, you know, and, Andrew, you can decide when you want to take these questions, but that we'll open it up for conversation now or after the next presentation.
ANDREW HUDGINS: Great, thank you very much, Shawn. I think we'll hold off on questions until the end, everyone, so if you do have questions, though, you can send them in by e-mail if you would like to get them on the table now.
So next, I'm going to go over the mechanics for how coordinators and coalitions can work with and build partnerships with NPS units to submit a project idea. So Shawn gave you a great...
DENNIS SMITH: Excuse me just a second...
ANDREW HUDGINS: Yes.
DENNIS SMITH: ...Andrew, they don't really send them in through e-mail, right? Can't they just click the "Ask a Question"?
ANDREW HUDGINS: Correct, yes.
DENNIS SMITH: Okay.
ANDREW HUDGINS: All right.
DENNIS SMITH: I just didn't want people to think that they needed an e-mail address.
ANDREW HUDGINS: Oh, yes, thank you. Just click "Ask a Question" on the webinar function. So what we're going to unveil today is a brand new portion of the Clean Cities website. It's the Clean Cities National Parks Initiative pages. And so to access those, you go to the Clean Cities website, click "About the Program," and then "Partnerships," and then the "National Parks Initiative." We've also included a link in the coordinator toolbox, so if you have that bookmarked, you can access that very quickly.
So we're going to take you through a tour of that, and hopefully that will provide you with a nice understanding of how you submit a project idea. And then when I'm finished with that, Dennis will help us get a better idea of the type of projects that we're going to be looking for.
So as you see here, we just have a nice description of Shawn and Dennis' both—the relationship that we started last year with the interagency agreement, and then we're working to—again, there's four bullets here of what we're really looking for. The vehicle technologies, infrastructure, other idle reduction—or other petroleum-reduction programs, such as the idle-reduction program Shawn spoke about for Yellowstone and Teton.
And then, again, as he stated, one of the most important components to the project ideas that you'll submit are education and outreach for visitors, employees, and then the media. And we want people to see what's going on at the NPS and how Clean Cities and the National Park Service are working together. And again, I think that's a really great complement to Shawn's Climate Friendly Parks program. They have a feature that's called "Do Your Part" so visitors to the parks can learn about what the parks are doing—then how to implement those changes in their own lives. And so we feel that's a very strong and important part of this program.
So as we scroll down, you'll see a map, and the map is a map in progress. As we learn more about what the NPS is doing as far as alternative fuel vehicles and petroleum-reduction programs, you'll see more parks listed on this map. And also as we begin to fund more projects, you'll be able to see these as well.
So underneath the map we'll discuss projects. And you'll see here we have a nice display of past projects and then current projects. Shawn mentioned Grant Teton, Yellowstone, and Mammoth Cave, and you'll see all of those project descriptions and links to the parks here.
In addition as a nice, again, for education outreach, several of these parks have MotorWeek segments, so you can learn more about Glacier National Park's Red Bus fleet by clicking on the play button here, and that will link to the AFDC MotorWeek pages. And so when you scroll down and explore the site, I encourage you to visit the video portion of these projects as well.
And one nice feature, I think, that you'll find, on—right above the Glacier National Park story and right below the map is a project success story form. So we want coordinators and NPS units to learn about that. While maybe you're not going to create or submit a project idea this year, maybe you have had a relationship with the parks in the past or know that they're doing really good stuff that you feel more people should learn about.
There is a project success story form; it's a PDF fillable form. I'll click on it right now. When it comes up you'll see that you can submit, you know, basic information, contact information, project information. So we really encourage you to fill out this form if you know of some good projects going on within the NPS that you've helped with or you just—that unit is in your region and you want to us to know about that. We really are going to depend on you for that.
And at the bottom, there's learn more. Again, it's going to get to submit project ideas, which is the next step, which I'll go through. I think that's an important step for the coordinators.
Then there's also a link to Shawn's Climate Friendly Parks program. I really encourage you to get to know about the Climate Friendly Parks program. There's a lot of good stuff going on with the Climate Friendly Parks. And we can—if you have more questions about that, maybe Shawn can speak much better on that than I.
SHAWN NORTON: Sure, I'd be glad to.
ANDREW HUDGINS: So on the first page, we saw a—I clicked on "Submit a project idea" logo, top right-hand corner. And this is—I think this is, you know, the questions and the guidance that coordinators have been looking for.
So you click on that and just start off—on the bat, you'll see eligible recipients. And I know some of you think, "Oh I'm in an urban area," or, "I don't really have a national park per se in my region," but this initiative is open to NPS units, such as national historic sites, historical parks, monuments, memorials, so don't feel like you're automatically, you know, ineligible for the program. Really look at what's in your area to see if there's an NPS unit that you can work with because they all have needs, as Shawn said, across the board in the agency. So make sure, you know, check and see what you have in your region.
So the mechanics of submitting a project idea are going to be two steps. Step 1 you'll see here in the application process. It's a one-page project idea form. It's, again, the basic concept approach, potential partners, and the benefits of your proposed project. And again, I'll click on the project idea form. It's another fillable PDF. Once you're done, you can submit. You see in the top right-hand corner "Submit by E-mail."
So again, we're asking for contact information, the Clean Cities coalition, the NPS unit, and the region they're in, basic project objective and summary, and then, at the bottom, number of vehicles, infrastructure, other petroleum-reduction programs if applicable.
And also you'll see in here again, to tie this into the Climate Friendly Parks program, we have a question, "Has this NPS property completed a Climate Friendly Parks action plan or inventory?" That will include activities like those that are being proposed in your project idea. So in the Climate Friendly Parks program, they have to inventory their greenhouse gas emissions and create an implementation plan about how they're going to reduce those by—and what type of programs they're going to implement. So if the park that you're looking at is involved in Climate Friendly Parks, that's a very strong connection that you need to make.
So once you submit that project idea form, we're going to review that and just, you know, again, we have a review team to see if that's something that we really want to move forward and have the NPS consider for a project. We're probably going to ask you questions if it's a little unclear or if we'd like some supporting information.
And after that initial review, if we really like the idea—it's a strong project, a lot of benefits—then we're going to ask you to submit a more in-depth proposal. We don't want this to be a huge proposal, so we have a page length of seven pages, but we would like—you know, again, it's more in-depth,—you know, pricing and just true implementation steps and approaches.
And then to help you with that, the two projects that were funded in FY '10, Yellowstone and Grand Teton and Mammoth Cave National Parks, we made those applications PDFs, so if you click on, let's say, the Yellowstone and Grand Teton PDF, you'll see the proposal there. There's no set format, but those were funded, so similar structures are encouraged and just to make sure that you have the proper information we're looking for in there. And along the way, I'll be available for, you know, for help. So if you have questions about either step, please let me know.
And so, again, this page was launched on Friday. It's live. It's up on the Clean Cities website. So as you explore, if you have questions, please let me know as well.
And with that, I'm going to hand it over to Dennis so he can give you more background on the type of projects that we're really looking for.
DENNIS SMITH: Yes, thanks, Andrew. I just wanted to remind everybody that, you know, we're really trying to be as open and as flexible on the kinds of activities that you might want to propose under this area. And that even goes back to the first page where we had the section where you could submit a success story. And what we're looking for there is we know there's a lot of parks that are doing things and have been doing things for a long time that are not on that map yet. And some we already know about, but we just did get started on the Web page within the last few weeks of populating that map.
So, I mean, for instance, we know that they're using, excuse me, a lot of propane vehicles in Acadia National Park and some other places like that, so we'll be trying to work with you coordinators that have been involved with those to get them on the map and get a success story. Once you give us or you notify us that there's something going on out there that not only helps us put it here but gets it in the queue if it's one that got good visual appeal that we want to suggest to our friends at PBS for a future MotorWeek segment or some other type of coverage.
And then another tie-in that we hope will grow and help with this is that those of you who will be going through the training for our new Clean Cities television Internet TV channel, any time you're visiting one of these parks and you've got your video camera with you, then that's an opportunity to get us some more content that we can put online here to let people see not only photos but videos and help us tell the story even better.
You know, one of the things we want to really help the parks with here is the same thing that we've said we've been frustrated with a lot of the—our Clean Cities effort—is we know we're doing good things, but hardly nobody knows about it. So we really want to step up as far as helping to get people to visualize these things—get good information out there.
And I think that's where we are very interested in projects. I know probably what first comes to mind is funding to buy the vehicles or build the refueling stations and all, but we're extremely interested in how you tell the story to the park visitors so that they can understand why this is being done, why it's so important, and what they can do when they go back home to do things similarly, to make a difference themselves.
The Park Service has some fantastic slides I want to try to get from Shawn that I've seen in some of their workshops where they show the contribution greenhouse gas wise and other impacts on the parks that the Park Service in its operations have control over versus the amount that's being contributed by all the park visitors, and it's just amazing that the gigantic share of it is from the park visitors themselves.
So if we can influence them to not only do smarter driving things and smarter fuel purchases and being more efficient when they're in the parks, but when they go home as well, then we can really increase our impact many times over as far as what we're influencing with our efforts here. So I think that's some of the concept that we'd like you to understand and the power of getting together on the partnership here.
I'd also encourage you not to only think about parks that are your next-door neighbors, you know. If there's one thing we do well in Clean Cities it's that the different coordinators do work with each other and communicate well and from time to time team up on projects. We've had some successful corridor projects that ran from, you know, almost one coast to the other coast where a number of coalitions along the way got together.
And that may be what makes sense here as there may be two or three coalitions that team up in a region where the park either touches on their boundary or it's just in their same state where they want to work together on it. So encourage that sort of thing because I think that's going to be helpful.
You know, one of the things that's really so amazing about the parks is that many of them are just very vast as far as the acreage and the square miles that they cover, so it's not going to be unusual for them to touch onto more than one Clean Cities coalition territory, or in some cases they even, you know, go across state lines. So I think that presents a unique opportunity for us to do some really exciting projects and to impact and influence a lot of the public as a result of that.
So I think we're—I've spent some time here talking about the influencing the public, but then, again, you know our core activities that you've helped us with on local projects before of how to be smart about either buying alternative fueled vehicles or building the infrastructure, but now that there's more products available that are the electric and the plug-in vehicles and then the higher-efficiency hybrids, those are all things that make sense as Shawn describes this 700 or so that they may need to look at replacing over the next few years.
So keep that in mind as you're working with the parks in your area that you have the most interest in to help them be creative and consider all of those options as they get ready to decide which vehicles they want to look at first—which things they want to do to influence their transportation plans within those parks.
Well I think that's basically what I wanted to cover there, Andrew, if you want to see if we've got any questions or if either you or Shawn want to—if I've made you think of something else as I was going through my comments. Let's see what people have interest in here.
ANDREW HUDGINS: All right, well, we've received several questions online, so we'll address those before we open up the phone. The first question is, "Is there a list of Climate Friendly Park groups available, and if so, where?" Shawn, I'll let you field that one.
SHAWN NORTON: Okay, very simply go to Google. If you go to Google and just Google "Climate Friendly Parks," we're the first hit that comes up on that search, and you'll be able to go to our site and click on "Park"—"Member Parks."
And just as a little bit of background, we've got 50 or so member parks right now. And what that means is that they have completed a greenhouse gas inventory, and they've got an action plan in place where they've developed alternate strategies for responding to climate change. We're working with over 120 additional parks right now conducting inventories and developing action plans, so it's likely that there's a park near you that has either heard of it or is engaged in it.
But if you just Google climatefriendlyparks, all one word, you will come to the site very quickly, and you can drill down to who is—specifically is in that network.
DENNIS SMITH: Andrew, isn't that the same link that you've got here off of this page?
ANDREW HUDGINS: Correct. It should be.
SHAWN NORTON: Yes.
DENNIS SMITH: You want to click on that and show them what it looks like?
ANDREW HUDGINS: It's at the bottom of the first page here, and it's also in the project idea submittal, so if we go to the bottom here, Climate Friendly Parks, you'll see it here. Coming up on the website now, and then, again, everything you want about the program, and here's a list of member parks alphabetically, so feel free definitely to explore that website. It's a great website. And that's how we found our great partner in Shawn. So I encourage you to get familiar with the program.
SHAWN NORTON: So we...
DENNIS SMITH: I guess that I wanted to add that the Park Service, Shawn has organized some workshops that are going to be going on around the country with the individual parks to sort of help facilitate them putting together their action plans and so forth. And we're going to try to get that schedule available to you guys as Clean Cities coordinators so that you can attend those workshops and meet some of the people at the parks if you don't already have good contacts there to understand, you know, what's the best way for you to partner with them and for you to also explain, you know, what Clean Cities does in your region there.
I attended one of the workshops last week at Harpers Ferry Park. That's in West Virginia. Shannon Shea attended one that was a week or so before that at Wolf Trap Park in the Washington, D.C., area. Chelsea Jenkins went to that one from the Virginia Clean Cities.
So I think a great opportunity if you guys don't really know how to—who's in—who you should approach at the National Park, I think that's one of the things we're going to try to help you with is how to make it easier so you know how to get to the right contact people, how to get to the right folks that should be your partners in this case so that you don't, you know, waste too much time chasing the wrong chain of command here or anything.
ANDREW HUDGINS: Yes, that's a great point, and it kind of leads into we had a couple of other questions, and it was regarding project timeframes when they can submit projects. And what we're trying to do through this initiative is really create strong relationships between NPS units and Clean Cities coalition, so in that respect, we don't want to—we didn't want to have a, you know, a two-month window where you felt rushed, and you felt like you really couldn't build a good relationship, so this website is going to be accepting project ideas throughout the year.
So don't feel like you're pressed for time because we know how busy you are, and we really want you to sit down, build a relationship with an NPS unit, and really create strong, really inventive project ideas. And so, again, no firm deadline. You know, as funding comes in, we do have to spend it in the fiscal years, and we'll select projects to do so. But if you have a project idea and you want to submit it in a couple months versus seven months, you know, please do so when you feel comfortable submitting a project idea.
And that's it, so if we want to open the line for some questions, that would be great.
COORDINATOR: Thank you. We will now begin the audio call portion of the question-and-answer session. If you would like to ask a question, please press star one. You will be prompted to record your name. Please unmute your phone and record your name slowly and clearly when prompted. And your name is required to introduce your question. To withdraw your request, please press star two. Again, to ask a question, it's star one. One moment please.
DENNIS SMITH: While we're waiting for that, Andrew, I wanted to sort of recap the two-step process that you mentioned for submitting project ideas. We've tried to make that simple and easy so that the first step is just submit the one-pager to us, and then we'll get back to you if it seems like an idea that we'd like you to explore further. And then we'll ask you the more detailed questions and work with you to develop the larger proposal. We didn't want you to spend your time and effort doing a five- or seven-page one before you even knew if it was something that would be of interest.
And I think where we can help you with that is once we get the one-pager—I'm sure all your ideas are going to be good ideas—but one of the things that we can help you with is maybe there are other parks either close to you or that are—or in the system who have submitted a similar idea, and we can help you team up with them so that instead of one project that's only one or two vehicles, maybe we could get multiple initiatives together to do dozens of vehicles and can make it much more worthwhile like that.
So we're—we want you to use the short form, so to speak, to get things kicked off, and then we'll come back to you if the project makes sense and we want to explore it further with some coaching of really what needs to go into your bigger proposal.
COORDINATOR: We currently have several questions in queue. Would you like to take them at this time?
ANDREW HUDGINS: Please.
COORDINATOR: Our first question comes from Steve Russell. Your line is now open.
STEVE RUSSELL: Yes, hi, Dennis and Andrew. My question is who do—who is the first point of contact if I reach out to a national park of the National Seashore here in Massachusetts? Who would be our best first contact to call up and say hello to? Or who would you recommend at the parks?
ANDREW HUDGINS: Shawn, would you mind taking...
SHAWN NORTON: Fine, let me try and field that one. I think that's a good question because as you know some of these folks may not be aware of the Clean Cities program. So Cape Cod, I think we're in pretty good shape. I think you mentioned Cape Cod...
STEVE RUSSELL: Yes.
SHAWN NORTON: ...we're in pretty good shape because I think you could reach out to their superintendent directly or to their deputy superintendent and be successful. What I might recommend, however, Dennis and Andrew, is that maybe it's best to come through our hub, and then we can best coordinate who that person might be.
In other words, give you a name as opposed to a position title. So we—because we do frequently have good connections, good relationships at the parks—so while I could give you a, for instance, you know, the superintendent or deputy superintendent up there, I think maybe you might best propose that through an e-mail, and then we'll make sure we work with you to get the best person.
STEVE RUSSELL: Okay. That sounds great. I'll do that.
DENNIS SMITH: Andrew, maybe that's a good idea. We ought to have something on the website that's some sort of a contact inquiry where the—or maybe in the coordinator's toolbox where they could say, "Look, I would like to work with this park, but I don't know where to get started," because some parks have, you know, like most of our people know, Jim Evanoff at Yellowstone, and he's the go-to guy for that stuff, but not every park has that, but the ones that do, it'd be good for us to help filter that and help get them to the right person to begin with.
ANDREW HUDGINS: Right.
SHAWN NORTON: Yes.
ANDREW HUDGINS: That really sounds great.
STEVE RUSSELL: Thank you.
COORDINATOR: Our next question comes from Bill Sheaffer. Your line is now open.
BILL SHEAFFER: Yes, good morning Dennis and Andrew. Thank you. I guess my main question I think as the first step is an issue of travel. We have a lot of remote parks, monuments, et cetera, in Northern Arizona, many of them housed in the Flagstaff area, and what we'd like to start with is we have spoken with the National Park Service up there as well as Northern Arizona University, and we have a real torchbearer, which is those people who are absolutely dedicated to alternative fuel, with the city of Flagstaff.
So the first thought would be to be able to get these folks, allow them to travel to meet with some of the other people who have experience, very deep experience sometimes with alternative fuels, and also to coordinate with the other smaller parks so they could visit the facility—the workshop type of things that we have here in the Phoenix area. We did have—at one time, we had a couple of folks come all the way from Petrified National Forest, which is a long way from anywhere.
But I think if there were some bridge or encouragement that would allow these people to travel, I think that would be very helpful and bring them up to speed on what's going on with other municipalities and operations such as that.
DENNIS SMITH: Yes, thanks, Bill. That's an excellent point and one that Shawn and I have been talking about because one of the best ways for—if a park is interested in one of these technologies, one of the best ways for them to really get a feel for whether it can be successful for them or not is to go visit somebody else who's done it successfully and make some contacts and see exactly what you're describing. So we've made it so that the interagency agreement allows some of the funding that DOE can assist with can be used for training and so forth for the parks people themselves.
So we haven't really worked out all those details yet, and Shawn and I will have to look at that behind the scenes. The way the federal budget process works sometimes, the travel money may come out of a different pot than something else. But certainly, we understand that the parks people themselves need to get knowledgeable on this stuff and get comfortable with it.
And what you're describing is a big tool out there that we have because we've got all of this stuff going on in our coalitions and to expose them to that kind of a show-and-tell will do so much more than just showing them brochures and so forth. So that's a good point and one that's certainly on our radar screen.
Did you want to add to that any, Shawn?
SHAWN NORTON: Yes, I think it's a great idea. We've got a—just so you know, we've got a climate change workshop up there on the 6th and 7th. That's the Flag—it's all going to be on Flagstaff Climate Change Workshop. And I don't—I'm sorry I don't have more details on it right now, but I think what we could do is get that to you. And I think if you had some people that really needed to be there, of course, we don't—we want to be careful about who we pay for travel to attend—somebody who can really benefit from it. We may be able to use this as an opportunity, Dennis, to figure this out.
DENNIS SMITH: Exactly. I mean, we've also talked about if there's some industry tradeshows where it would make sense to expose some of the parks people to certain things they wouldn't normally get to see that may be another opportunity and that—and Clean Cities, it seems like we go to something like that every week, so we could certainly help filter and point your folks in the right direction there.
BILL SHEAFFER: Great. And there's a strong organization in Rocky Mountain Fleet Managers where I think some of their meetings we could help coordinate as we did here in Phoenix. We had the folks down from Flagstaff. So that would be appreciated.
SHAWN NORTON: I think that's a great opportunity. We should work on that one since we have something coming up there specifically.
BILL SHEAFFER: The 2nd and 3rd of whatever, of what month?
SHAWN NORTON: Oh, it's the 6th and 7th of April.
BILL SHEAFFER: The 6th and 7th of April. Okay.
SHAWN NORTON: Yes, it's going to be in the Flagstaff area. I'm sorry I don't have the other information right in front of me. But we'll get that to you.
BILL SHEAFFER: Oh yes, that's great.
ANDREW HUDGINS: Thanks, Bill.
COORDINATOR: Our next question comes from Alan Harnett. Your line is now open.
ALAN HARNETT: Hi, I have a great list of National Parks in our territory, but I don't have any of the contact info, and I was just—it's sort of the same question, just drilling back down. But the other way around it is to provide the National Parks with the Clean Cities coalition contact information. We've got that map and the PDF that lists all of us out there, so it could be a way for the National Parks if they're aware—if they become aware of this program—to contact us.
SHAWN NORTON: And I'm going to send that because we are taking the opportunity to ensure that the Clean Cities message and the contact information is going out in every one of these workshops, so we'll continue to do that. But specifically, if you need information to try and get a hold of somebody, let us know what parks we're referring to, and we'll try and find somebody there for you.
ALAN HARNETT: Excellent.
COORDINATOR: Our next question comes from Mark Bentley. Your line is now open.
MARK BENTLEY: Thank you and good afternoon. I got a question, and maybe I just missed the answer, on all of the eligible folks. Where do I find a listing? Is it on the NPS website of cemeteries and lakeshores and folks like that?
SHAWN NORTON: Okay, I'm not sure I understand the question "eligible folks." Eligible parks?
MARK BENTLEY: Eligible recipients. The list on the right side of the page had a lot of different eligible recipients that included...
SHAWN NORTON: Oh okay.
MARK BENTLEY: ...yes, parks, et cetera.
SHAWN NORTON: Right.
MARK BENTLEY: But lakeshores, cemeteries, et cetera.
DENNIS SMITH: Yes, I guess our list tells the kinds of places that are, but we didn't actually list them by name. Is that what you're asking, Mark?
MARK BENTLEY: I'm asking if I can go in and Google "Alabama" and find out which of these might be eligible under the NPS.
ANDREW HUDGINS: That's a good point, Mark. We'll put in a link under that list for you to make it a lot easier.
MARK BENTLEY: Thanks, Andrew. Just need to find the drill down.
DENNIS SMITH: Right.
ANDREW HUDGINS: We can do that. Thanks, Mark.
DENNIS SMITH: Got it.
COORDINATOR: Our final question in the queue is from Beth Baird. Your line is now open.
BETH BAIRD: Hi, just a quick question on the procurement of the vehicles. Are you folks thinking about going through the GSA, or is this going to be something independently done?
DENNIS SMITH: Well I guess I'll start off answering that, and then, Shawn, you can add to it. But we didn't want to create any bureaucratic nightmare for ordering these vehicles, so essentially, the way the program works is we—the DOE would provide any funding assistance to the Park Service, and then they would use their normal procurement system that they would have used anyway if they had money in their account to buy a new pick-up truck or whatever it's going to be. So in some cases, that would be GSA, or there may be other ways that they would normally do it, but we don't want them to have to come up with a completely new way of procuring anything there.
That being said, you guys may be helpful from the Clean Cities perspective because you may know of additional vendors for the infrastructure services or other things that they wouldn't have known on their own, and you can get them a much more competitive price on things if they know who to go shopping with.
Shawn, do you want to add to that?
SHAWN NORTON: No, I think that covered it, Dennis. That was good. Thank you.
BETH BAIRD: Okay, thank you.
ANDREW HUDGINS: Well great...
COORDINATOR: There are no further questions in queue.
ANDREW HUDGINS: Great, thank you. Well, I think we hit the timeframe perfectly, so if you have additional questions, you know, please contact myself, Andrew Hudgins. My name is on there a couple of different times, so just click on the link, or it's email@example.com.
We're excited about this—really advocating coordinators to build relationships and submit really great project ideas. And I'd like to thank Shawn Norton and Dennis Smith for taking their time today to present. I think this was a great help for the coordinators, and I'm looking forward to working more together. So thank you both.
SHAWN NORTON: And thank you, Andrew, for scheduling us. We're extremely excited about working with the Clean Cities partnership, so I look forward to hearing from any and all of you in terms of good ideas—good projects.
ANDREW HUDGINS: Great.
DENNIS SMITH: Me too. Thank you, Shawn.
SHAWN NORTON: Thank you, everybody.
ANDREW HUDGINS: Thank you, everyone. Have a good day.
DENNIS SMITH: Bye bye.
ANDREW HUDGINS: Bye.
COORDINATOR: Thank you for participating in today's conference. You may disconnect at this time.