January 2017

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Mary Pat Baldauf, Director of Sustainability, City of Columbia
Mary Pat Baldauf has always take on life’s surprises and challenges with a positive outlook and dedication to overcome them. From a young age, she moved around with her family all around the southeast. At the young age of 5, she challenged herself to “clean up” the town where her family lived at the time. She remarked to her mother that someone needed to take on the responsibility of making such an improvement and her mom empowered her to clean things up… This may have been her first entree into the sustainability “movement.”
She eventually found that this challenge was bigger than cleaning up the places we live, and yet again took it on. In 2008 she accepted the position charged with championing sustainability for the City of Columbia's Climate Protection Action Campaign. Since then, she’s worked tirelessly to bring sustainable programs to life and to make sure the public and stakeholders are engaged with these important issues. With a background in communications and public relations, she counts among her successes the fact that she has won over key constituents and key community leaders in Columbia around the issues of climate change.
In fact, this is something Mary Pat is most proud of. She says, “I’m proud of the people I’ve won over. It’s all still controversial in South Carolina, and people often say they don’t believe in climate change. But I’ve been able to speak to groups and handle the people that want to fight over it.”
In early 2015, she overcame yet another challenge when she suffered and survived a brain aneurysm. Her miraculous recovery allowed her to return to her job later that year, with an personal charge to get back to work and be “better than I was before.” This truly inspirational story has already allowed her to make huge strides toward change in her community. She applied for and was accepted into the STAR Communities/Siemens “Quick Star(t) program. The program starts in spring 2017 and lasts a year. Columbia will have access to a year’s subscription to STAR tools and services and technical assistance and a workshop with staff and partners. She’s looking forward to doing data collection workshops and doing some presentations to get more buy-in, and re-engagement. This program will help move their application along and help her achieve the process sooner, so she can move forward into implementing sooner. It will also be a refresher for her department and allow her office to get back into the community, spreading the sustainability message, once again.
The 2017 SSDN Annual Meeting is May 3-5, 2017 in Durham, NC. Details about the meeting, accommodations, and travel are now live on the SSDN website and registration is now open. If you plan to attend, please register online before March 15Travel arrangements must be made and emailed to Meg Jamison prior to April 1 so that we can make appropriate arrangements related to accommodations.
SSDN Members receive Peer Learning Exchange Grant: Congratulations to SSDN members on a recent Peer Learning Exchange Grant award! Led by Tessa Shreiner of Leon County, the exchange includes the City of Orlando, Broward County, Volusia County, Sarasota County, the City of Savannah and the City of Tallahassee. These communities will come together for two days in Tallahassee in February to dive deep into sustainable tourism. This Exchange was inspired by interest in Leon County’s Sustainable Communities Summit: Hospitality Industry Workshop, for which the focus is sustainable tourism and engaging the local and regional hospitality industry. The Exchange will overlap the workshop which will give participants the opportunity to attend, and provide additional content and context for group discussion. Following the workshop, the exchange participants will convene to learn about each community’s current efforts, and discuss future direction and shared goals. 
Peer Learning Exchange Grant - Application Deadline Approaching: Many of our members are actively working on or considering applying for the USDN Peer Learning Exchange Grant. Please remember that the next grant cycle application deadline is approaching: March 22, 2017. You can find more information about the grant and how to apply here.
SSDN Members complete Energy and Equity Project: In 2016, SSDN began a collaboration with the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) and the Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE) focused on building capacity of SSDN members to integrate meaningful equity considerations into their implementation of municipal sustainability policies and practices, particularly in energy efficiency programming. This project resulted in a library of resource materials on SSDN's website that address the issues, challenges and opportunities of energy equity for our low income communities.
SSDN Congrats! Member Nick Deffley and family welcomed daughter, Mirabelle Esperanza, on November 2, 2016. What a beautiful girl and so much to be thankful for... she's already sleeping through the night! Congrats!
2017 SSDN Membership Dues: SSDN is now accepting 2017 annual membership dues. Payment can be made with a check or can be paid online. If you have any questions about payment please email Meg Jamison.
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Southeast Sustainability Directors Network
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Southeast Sustainability Directors Network · P.O. Box 27534 · Knoxville, TN 37927 · USA

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