The CREATE Resilience Research and Community Learning Hub builds upon momentum around the recent CREATE Resilience project (more here) and is a project whose goal is to foster communities that are “ready, responsive, and resilient”, important characteristics for healthy communities that are empowered and able to protect their people, especially those most vulnerable, in the face of changing climate impacts and environmental hazards. The CREATE Hub will provide the knowledge, resources, and connections so that communities can make informed decisions about the challenges they face and turn those challenges into opportunities to improve their local environment and their ability to adapt and prepare. Specifically, the Hub will connect communities to experts and resources that will allow them to create personalized, effective plans related to resiliency, vulnerability, and adaptation, while providing templates that enable communities to strategize about, map, and understand their assets and how to engage those assets to prepare for the challenges and opportunities ahead.
CREATE Resilience Series
This was a 5-part educational series about how to make our communities more resilient. Sessions covered different topics each month January-May of spring 2023. Descriptions and recordings are below.
Sustainability in the Lehigh Valley – Highlights of Local Efforts, Experiences, and Programs – Wednesday May 17, 2023, 12-1 pm
Kerry Reider, Open Space Coordinator for Bushkill Township, Northampton County, PA
Kathryn Semmens, Science Director, and Keri Maxfield, Art Director, Nurture Nature Center
This session will highlight local sustainability efforts, experiences and programs. Kerry Reider will discuss how Bushkill Township works with developers (specifically warehouse related) to implement conservation easements, trail connections, native tree and shrub plantings, and stormwater best management practices (BMPs) into their projects. Kathryn Semmens and Keri Maxfield will present on the Watershed-Friendly Property Program for PA, a project of NNC and Penn State Extension Master Watershed Stewards that guidance and resources for best management practices supporting watershed health, and a certification program for property owners and individuals.
Kerry Reider works as the Open Space Coordinator for Bushkill Township, Northampton County, PA. He currently manages four Township owned passive recreation preserves, Bushkill Township’s trail network, and the township’s MS4 program. He also answers any environmental-related questions/concerns and assists in reviewing land development plans for environmental concerns. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids, hiking, fishing, hunting, and exploring the outdoors.
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP): What are your community’s responsibilities? – Wednesday January 25, 2023, 12-1 pm
Speaker: Josh Lippert, CFM, FEMA Region 3
Did you know every community in Pennsylvania must participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)? Proper administration and enforcement of floodplain management activities, in accordance with the NFIP requirements, is a municipality’s responsibility. This session will review what is required of local community and offer guidance on how to make a resilient and compliant municipality.
Bio: Josh Lippert is a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) through the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM), and currently works for FEMA Region 3 as a Floodplain Management Section Supervisor. With nearly 10 years of experience in floodplain management, Josh has worked as the Floodplain Administrator for the City of Pittsburgh and the City of Philadelphia. His background and education is in landscape architecture and environmental planning, graduating from The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelors of Landscape Architecture.
How to Fund a Resilient Community – Wednesday February 22, 2023, 12-1 pm
Speakers: Thomas E. Guth, Jr. Hazard Mitigation/Disaster Recovery Manager, Northampton County Emergency Management; Todd Weaver, Director, Northampton County Emergency Management; Tom Hughes, State Hazard Mitigation Officer, Director of Emergency Management Mitigation, Insurance and Resilient Communities Office at Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency
Learn about the many funding opportunities available to communities from FEMA and the state to support priorities related to reducing natural hazard risk, from incorporating nature-based solutions to supporting adoption of building codes, and more. Find out how you can take advantage of these grants!
Bios: Tom Hughes is the PA State Hazard Mitigation Officer (SHMO) since 2009 and has been with the PA Emergency Management Agency since late 1993. As the SHMO he is responsible for the revision of all 67 FEMA required county Hazard Mitigation Plans and 14 State System of Higher Education (state colleges) Disaster Resistant University Plans. Currently his office has over 200 working FEMA/State/Locally funded disaster and non-disaster Hazard Mitigation projects. He is the President of the National Hazard Mitigation Association, is co-chair of the nationally recognized Pennsylvania Silver Jackets Team, is the Chair of the National Emergency Management Association, SHMO Sub-committee and completed his assignment with FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance External Stakeholder Working Group (ESWG) and fills a mentorship/alumni role. Working with 7 Recovery Support Functions, completed a tour with the COVID-19 State Long-Term Recovery Task Force and leading the mitigation efforts for recently released COVID-19 DR-4506 and Tropical Storm Ida DR-4618 Hazard Mitigation Grant Program grants.
Todd Weaver, Director, Northampton County Emergency Management Services, has been with Northampton County for 25 years, working within emergency services. Prior to his position as Director, he has served as Deputy Director of Systems, Systems Manager, Dispatch Supervisor. He has been involved in public safety most of his life, having obtained a degree in Emergency Services. He has participated in numerous local, regional, state and federal responses throughout his career including Hurricanes Sandy, Irene, Ivan, and other various disasters and incidents since 1997. More recently, during the Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) impacting individuals, families, communities, and emergency responders of Northampton County; Todd was a key member for Northampton County and part of a ten County regional task force distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) and collaborated with local Health Networks and the Pennsylvania Department of Health on a Community Drive through test and vaccine sites. He also worked together with the local Department of Community Economic and Development (DCED) to assist with food insecurity missions due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Todd is certified at the professional level as a County Emergency Management Coordinator though the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications (ProBoard) Certification as Fire Fighter II and Hazmat Operations Level. He is also certified through the Pennsylvania Department of Health as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and a certified instructor for Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO). Todd also serves as the Vice Chairman for the Northeast Pennsylvania Regional Counter Terrorism Task Force, which ensures public safety and emergency services personnel are prepared to deal with any terrorist acts or natural disasters.
Thomas E. Guth, Jr. is Northampton County’s Hazard Mitigation / Disaster Recovery Manager since January 2018 and has been with the County’s Emergency Services division (EM / 911) since May of 2007. As the Hazard Mitigation contact he is responsible for co-chairing the bi-county Lehigh Valley Hazard Mitigation Plan (LV HMP) and ensuring satisfactory participation from the thirty-eight municipalities and the county during all plan updates. In addition to the LV HMP work I also assist municipalities and non-profits with grants and grant submissions annually including applying for mitigation grants. This entails coordinating mitigation efforts within the County during Hazard Mitigation Grant Program opportunities such as for DR-4506 (COVID) and DR-4618 (TS Ida). Under the disaster recovery responsibilities he is responsible for oversight and coordination of recovery efforts at the County level and works with all thirty-eight municipals, county residents, county businesses and the County agencies to collect, document and report damages after any catastrophic event. He has overseen the recovery efforts from FEMA Declared Disasters; DR-4408-PA, Severe Storms & Flooding; DR-4506-PA, PA COVID-19 Pandemic and DR-4618-PA, Remnants of Hurricane Ida all of which affected those within Northampton County. He also oversaw recovery assessments and efforts following widespread Tropical Storm Isaias with no formal disaster declaration being awarded. Tom is the current Secretary for the Northeast Pennsylvania Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NEPA VOAD), Secretary for the Northampton County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and a member of the Association of State Floodplain Managers.
Preparing for Weather and Climate Risks – Thursday March 23, 2023, 6-7 pm
Speaker: Ray Kruzdlo, Senior Service Hydrologist, NWS Mount Holly/Philadelphia WFO
This webinar will review weather and climate risks and provide guidance on how to prepare and become more resilient.
Bio: Ray Kruzdlo grew up in NJ and graduated Cum Laude from Kean Univ. in 1993. Upon graduation, Ray made several quick stops in the private sector as a meteorologist in media and for aviation. Ray made the transition to the federal government in 1994 and spent his first seven years in the National Weather Service (NWS) as a meteorologist in California. Ray moved back to the East coast in 2001 joining the NWS Mount Holly staff and worked as a meteorologist through 2007, managing the severe and fire weather programs. In 2008, Ray became the Senior Service Hydrologist. It’s the same position he holds today, managing the office’s hydrologic program. In all, Ray is approaching 29 years of federal service, 14 years as a meteorologist and almost 15 years as a hydrologist.
*Cancelled* Wild Futures: A Toolkit for Regenerative Landscapes – Thursday April 20, 2023, 6-7 pm
Speaker: Laura Stedenfeld, Omnes
Exploring the wild nature of landscape, this talk offers inspiring design strategies that are based upon native ecosystems of meadows, forests, wetlands, and water bodies. Relying on lessons from inherently regenerative landscapes, Laura Stedenfeld will demonstrate how to uplift and transform the function of (sub)urban streetscapes, plazas, parks, and outdoor spaces while honoring human interconnectedness with nature. The session will introduce a toolkit of design interventions that illustrate how municipalities can transform public spaces with ecologically-based landscapes.
Bio: Laura Stedenfeld is a landscape architect, artist, and the founder of Omnes, a design firm practicing landscape architecture, planning, and art in Easton, PA. Omnes’ studios are located in the former Simon Silk Mill, offering services nationally from this unique locale. Her work focuses on relational space and ecologies to create tangible, beautiful, and relevant places through collaborative design. Trained in architecture at Parsons School of Design, Laura’s practice merges her expertise in urban design with her background within rural, wild landscapes of the Northeast. In her nearly two decades as a designer, she has managed significant civic and institutional master plans, and has a breadth of experience leading the design of built parks, plazas, streetscapes, and campuses.
The CREATE Resilience Hub project seeks to foster “ready, responsive, and resilient” communities that are empowered and able to protect their community members in the face of changing climate impacts and environmental hazards.