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Wed, Feb 19


Room 310 (Old Appropriations)

Risk and Resiliency: Adapting to Connecticut's Changing Climate

Connecticut's coast can expect 20 inches of sea level rise by 2050. What can communities do to prepare? How can lawmakers help fund common-sense solutions? This program will offer 3.5 CEUs (approvals pending) with LA CES/AIA Continuing Education and 3.25 credits for APA Certification Maintenance.

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Risk and Resiliency: Adapting to Connecticut's Changing Climate
Risk and Resiliency: Adapting to Connecticut's Changing Climate

Time & Location

Feb 19, 2020, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Room 310 (Old Appropriations), 210 Capitol Ave, Hartford, CT 06106, USA

About the Event

Image Credit: CIRCA 

8:30 – 9:00 Breakfast & Registration

9:00 – 9:20 Introduction & Welcome

9:20 – 9:55 Keynote Address

Bridging Ecology and Design

  • Alexander Felson, ASLA, Ph.D.

Coastal cities and towns are being forced to make decisions about how to proactively engage and adapt to anticipated climate change impacts and avoid the consequences of inaction. For municipalities, where financial resources are limited, regulations are constraining, priorities and planning are mostly reactionary, and homeowners often act independently, addressing the far-reaching implications of climate change will be a major effort.  This presentation will review examples of novel landscape architecture and urban design strategies Connecticut developed as part of the Urban Design and Ecology Lab in partnership with the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation and The Nature Conservancy. 

9:55 – 10:55 Panel #1

Modeling Sea Level Rise on Connecticut's Coast: Capitulation, Adaptation, or Restoration?

  • James O'Donnell, Ph.D., Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut 
  • Wayne Cobleigh, GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.
  • Jennifer Mattei, Ph.D., Sacred Heart University
  • Gary Sorge, FASLA, Stantec (Moderator)

What will Connecticut's coast look like in 30 years? How should municipalities prepare? In this session, landscape architects will learn how to integrate modeling and visualization tools to evaluate site-specific risks. Panelists will discuss the limitations of FEMA mapping as well as how other states are successfully integrating living shorelines and other strategies into their climate change responses.

5 Minute Break

11:00 – 12:00 Panel #2

Seeing The Urban Forest for The Trees: Tools for Cooling, Carbon Sequestration, and Community Building

  • Heather Dionne, City of Hartford
  • Chris Donnelly, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
  • Drew Goldsman, The Nature Conservancy
  • Aris Stalis, ASLA, Aris Land Studio (Moderator)

The increase in ambient seasonal temperatures has implications for the health of Connecticut's trees. Increased prevalence of disease, pests, and drought is contributing to the loss of street trees. Can we replant enough trees to meaningfully sequester carbon? Landscape architects will learn about the state's urban forestry efforts, why trees are a vital community resource, and how community green jobs programs can be an asset in protecting them. Panelists will share their boots-on-the-ground experience and suggestions for species that may be more suitable in a warmer world.

12:00 – 12:45 Lunch

12:45 – 12:50 Conferment of Connecticut Olmsted Award (Tentative)

12:50 – 1:50 Panel #3

Reimagining Infrastructure: Investing in Resilient Places for People

  • Gwen Macdonald, Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound
  • Dawn Henning, P.E., City of New Haven
  • Nia Rhodes Jackson, Mill River Park Collaborative
  • Tom Tavella, FASLA, Schmidt Design Group (Moderator) 

Green infrastructure is nothing new to landscape architects, but it has been slow to be implemented within Connecticut. With the state's older industrial centers facing multi-billion dollar costs from municipal storm sewer separation and increased storm flooding risk, some cities are beginning to embrace its advantages. In this session, landscape architects will understand how to scale green infrastructure strategies to the neighborhood and city scales. Panelists will also discuss the importance of community stakeholders and how integrating public amenities and open spaces into infrastructure projects is a recipe for success.

1:50 – 2:20

Advocacy Bootcamp (Optional)


· Advocacy Committee

This session will be intended for CTASLA members and allies who sign up to meet with lawmakers later in the afternoon. TCORS will briefly explain the dynamics of the CGA and the advocacy committee will explain and distribute one page pamphlets for advocates to bring to their meetings. This is an optional part of the program and not required in order to obtain continuing education credits.

2:20 – 4:00

Lawmaker Office Visits (Optional)


  • Legislator/Staff

    For lawmakers and/or legislative staff to RSVP




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