CRANE  held educational community summits in an effort to raise awareness of hazardous weather issues and build a more resilient community in the city of Erie and the surrounding region. These annual summits were open to community leaders, local businesses, organizations, and members of the public. 

Children displaying a poster they made on rain gardens
Conference attendees viewing posters

2017-Resilient Erie Stewardship Summit

This summit highlighted community-based projects that mitigate or adapt to regional climate and weather impacts in Erie. It brought together local leaders, business owners, researchers, educators and other members of the Erie community.

Sister Pat Lupo, long-time environmental educate advocate and keynote speaker for the event, inspired audience members with recollections of the many initiatives she has led to connect youth with volunteer opportunities to benefit the environment and the community. Other resilient Erie projects included transforming vacant lots into urban agricultural opportunities, green buildings and energy efficiency, student led rain gardens, green parking lots and green infrastructure, and projects that address long term impacts to water quality the region.

Oral and poster presentations were entered to win one of three mini-grant prizes: a poster prize of $100, a second place prize of $250, and a grand prize of $500 in project support.

Attendees viewing a session eating with the seasons
CRANE member handing out a buying and growing local kit

2016 Agriculture Summit

Agriculture in Erie County has a long and robust history that goes back to the mid-1800’s. There are approximately 1,422 farms in the county producing fruits, veggies, dairy products, grapes, and products that support the agricultural industry like hay and grasses. 

The summit "Erie County Agriculture and our Climate: The New Normal" brought together community members and leaders, farmers, and those interested in learning more about how climate may be affecting farming in the region. 

Panel presenters included local farmers such as Tim Burch from Burch Farms, Roberta Dudas from Dudas Farms, and Wendy Elliot from Earth and Vine farm to share local experiences to changing conditions. Andy Muza from Penn State Extension also highlighted the PA Vines program. 

Attendees were provided a “buying and growing local kit” which was a goodie bag of local seeds and materials for home gardening as well as a wealth of resources on local farm stands and markets, community shared agriculture opportunities, and how to preserve locally grown foods.

Group photo from CRANE and the Film Society of Northwestern PA

Members of CRANE joined the Film Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania for a screening of, “Merchant’s of Doubt” as part of their annual summit. 

2015 Tourism Summit

Erie's professional and residential communities met to consider how local changes associated with climate change are and will impact our local tourism industry. 

The summit began with a screening of the film “Merchants of Doubt” in collaboration with the Film Society of Northwest Pennsylvania’s Wednesday night film series at the Erie Art Museum, followed by a discussion about issues raised in the film and what citizens can do in response. 

A panel discussion focused on the Erie region’s tourism industry, and how changes associated with climate change may impact this growing sector of our economy. The panel included an overview of the importance of tourism to the regional economy and current impacts from hazardous weather by VisitErie's President and CEO, John Oliver; observed changes to temperature, precipitation, and occurrences of extreme weather events and their implications for local tourism by Megan Goold, Regional Climate Change Coordinator with EPA; historical and recent changes to area fishing by Jerry Skrypzak, President of the SONS of Lake Erie Fishing Club; and harmful algal blooms (HABs) and their potential impacts on both the local environment and tourism by Nate Irwin, Water Quality Biologist with PA DEP. 

A member of CRANE presenting to an audience
Go-Bag emergency kit

2014 Emergency Preparedness Summit

This summit brought community members together to consider how prepared the community is for extreme weather and other emergencies associated with climate change.  

Events included a screening of the documentary "Extreme Realities" which looks at the link between the extreme weather associated with climate change and geopolitical events; a series of presentations designed to help homeowners and our community be better prepared for weather-related extremes; an overview of emergency management planning in  Erie County; using architectural techniques to improve resilience; and the role of utility professionals in preparing for extreme weather events.  

Each participating household received a “go-bag” containing items recommended to have ready in case of emergency.