Karen Mckenny

It’s Time to Play Vermontivate!Help South Burlington Win a City-Wide Ice Cream Party!

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Thursday May 09, 2013

Maybe you want to know what you can do about energy conservation. Maybe you’re a newbie wondering what all the “green” talk is about. Maybe you’re looking for a way to learn about the environment, to get involved person by person, family by family, school classroom by classroom, at a level of engagement that works for you. Or maybe you’re a “green” expert looking for a venue to share your passion, your ideas and your commitment. If any of these apply, then Vermontivate is for YOU!

Vermontivate! is an award-winning web-based environmental sustainability game filled with fun, creativity, education, and incredible team building. Last year they won the 2012 Vermont Energy & Climate Action Network (VECAN) Community Energy Project Award. Vermontivate! was first launched in the Spring of 2012 and included 13 towns and over 200 individual players around the state ranging in age from 3 years old to retired seniors. Players moved through a series of energy conservation challenges to earn points for their town toward the grand prize of a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream party for the winning town. The creators of this game are from right here in Vermont and they have another round of play ready for us starting on May 15th. The game runs for 5 weeks, through June 21st, and culminates with another Ben and Jerry’s ice cream party for the winning town.

Starting on May 15th, weekly challenges with varying levels of difficulty will be posted on the Vermontivate! website. You can play as much or as little as you want. Each time you play a challenge and post about it on the site, your town’s team will earn points. It’s that easy. At the end of the game the town with the most points wins!! Even more importantly, as we all play across the state, the planet wins! Last year, as a green novice I played every challenge every week (and yes, I have three children and a regular job as a nurse). It’s easy and fun to play, and I was able to involve my entire family in the experience.

Vermontivate! educated me in endless ways. The challenges ranged from the practical, such as learning about home solar options, calculating your carbon footprint, watching a video on the climate crisis, or having a home energy audit, to the wildly creative such as writing a song or poem, or even creating a “ sustainability super hero” costume that you had to wear in public. One of the challenges led to my family creating a “Kill the Bill” energy conservation game of our own that entitled you to earn coupons whenever you turned off a light or unplugged something. Vermontivate! enabled me to involve my children in playing a game that educated them about many climate and energy issues. It also allowed us to incorporate new conservation behaviors into our lives that they will maintain as they grow up. As we played, the changes in our home were impressive, including increased recycling and dramatically lower electric and gas bills. Vermontivate! gave me the motivation to make real changes in my life. I found myself going online and researching topics and becomming fairly knowledgeable. If a challenge suggested going to an informational session about composting I went. In response to one challenge about gardening, other players who were avid gardeners encouraged me to start small, so I did and ended up growing a wonderful herb garden that continues to flavor our food. Most importantly, there were challenges that awarded points for encouraging, supporting, and thanking fellow players who inspired you. The game is so well rounded, from the practical, to the creative, to the team building; the balance offered something for everyone and presented the topic of energy conservation in a totally new way.

If the idea of getting involved in a fun, engaging and meaningful sustainability game appeals to you and you would like to jump on board, I encourage you to go to the website and check it out. www.Vermontivate.com/2013. As the South Burlington team founder it is my mission to welcome, encourage and help any SB players who sign up. If you need more information or help of any kind I am ready to play with all of YOU! Please contact me with questions. kmckenny@hotmail.com 

SOURCE: Karen Mckenny, SB Vermontivate Team Leader