Exciting Firsts and Reliable Favorites Recapping the 2023 National Brownfields Training Conference
Co-authored by Anna Maria Camardo and Claire Weston
It’s 6 a.m. in Detroit and the CCLR team is gathered in a quiet conference hall. Soon, they will be joined by more than 170 attendees, hungry for knowledge… and breakfast.
That’s how things started at the National Leadership Breakfast — hosted on the last day of the 2023 National Brownfields Training Conference (NBC). By the end, the conference hall filled with the sounds of a surprise sing along to send off EPA Region 9’s Noemi Emeric-Ford who’ll be starting a new position this fall.
CCLR hosted a number of panels, presentations and special events at NBC, all supporting the conference’s goal to promote land reuse across the country.
During the pre-conference workshops, Senior Planning Consultant Joelle Greenland, AICP and Lead Program Consultant Ignacio Dayrit presented to a sold out room of almost 300 attendees at Brownfields 101 and 201. The back to back sessions set first-time attendees and new brownfield practitioners on the path to land recycling success!
NBC classic Brownfields Karaoke hit all the right notes after a long day of learning and listening. Dayrit, who rewrites classic karaoke songs to fit the land reuse theme, really outdid himself this year with a selection of new songs and revamped favorites. Attendees chose from a selection of over 80 songs including “The CERCLA of Life, ” “What a Sustainable World,” and” Smart Growth Dreamin.”
Senior Brownfield Consultant Sheryl Gonzales and Executive Director Jean Hamerman organized the Perfect Pitch Competition where three presenting communities sounded off and pitched their unique redevelopment projects. The session teaches participants to frame a pitch to “crowdsource” input from diverse stakeholders and assimilate expert advice into developing a pathway forward for brownfields. Northglenn, Colorado; Smithers, West Virginia; and Caribou, Maine each presented and won $20k worth of pro-bono technical assistance from National TAB to support their reuse efforts.
Program Associates Devyn Rainwater and Lujain Altawarah jumped right into the action at their first NBC. Rainwater presented on two Topic Talks and a panel, Altawarah supported the TAB booth where she networked to build invaluable connections for CCLR and conducted outreach for September’s California Land Recycling Conference.
Other CCLR panels at Brownfields 2023 included: Rural Reuse Roundtable, Meet the TABs, Edgeless and EVgreen, and Advancing Equity: A Guide to Inform Your Community’s Land Reuse Plan, and EJ Behind the Scenes.
CCLR is proud to have participated and is excited to continue building connections with all the other amazing conference goers. Find more information about past sessions at the NBC website here.