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Conference to Examine the State of Rural America

April 18, 2013


Peter Glenshaw, Director of Communications, Vermont Law School
Office: 802-831-1318, cell: 603-738-8487, home: 603-795-4764,
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SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt.—Vermont Law School announced today a major conference to examine the state of America’s rural lands and address the challenges faced by rural communities in northern New England and nationwide.

The conference comes on the heels of a report that showed a record percentage of all counties in the United States are experiencing more deaths than births (36%), and that for the first time in U.S. history, two entire states (Maine and West Virginia) recorded more deaths than births. This issue is particularly important for rural America. According to the study, 46 percent of all nonmetropolitan counties experienced more deaths than births, compared to only 17 percent of urban counties.

Entitled “The Forgotten 20%: Land Use Development and Conservation Challenges in Rural America,” the conference will be held on Friday, April 19, 2013, from 8:30 to 4:30, in the Jonathon B. Chase Community Center, Vermont Law School. Confirmed speakers include Ken Johnson, Senior Demographer at the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire, who authored the report cited above. More information, including the conference schedule and registration, can be found here.

Other confirmed speakers include the following:

  • Robert Liberty, the Director of the Urban Sustainability Accelerator at Portland State University’s Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning
  • Gershon Feder, Chair, Publications Review Committee, International Food Policy Research Institute.
  • Mark Lapping, Distinguished Professor, Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine.
  • Karen Horn, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Vermont League of Cities and Towns.
  • Robert Bruce, former General Counsel, Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
  • Joe Segale, Policy and Planning Manager, Vermont Agency of Transportation.
  • Jane Difley, President/Forester, Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.
  • Robert Anderberg, Vice President and General Counsel, Open Space Institute.
  • Gus Seelig, Executive Director, Vermont Housing & Conservation Board.
  • Laurie Ristino, Director, Center for Agriculture and Food Systems, Vermont Law School.
  • Shawn Gilpin, Program Director, Mobile Home Project, Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity.
  • Deb Brighton, Independent Tax Policy Consultant.
  • Lori Lynch, Professor of Agricultural Economics, University of Maryland.
  • Darby Bradley, former President of the Vermont Land Trust.

    The conference is free to faculty and students from any institution, and is open to the public for a $25 registration fee. CM and CLE credit (VT and NH) have been requested.

    The conference is cosponsored by the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, the Environmental Law Center at Vermont Law School, the Office of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity at Vermont Law School, and the American Planning Association, Northern New England Chapter.

    For more information, please contact: Tom Broderick, Symposium Editor for the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law:


    Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, has the top-ranked environmental law program and one of the top-ranked clinical training programs in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. VLS offers a Juris Doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; two Master’s Degrees (Master of Environmental Law and Policy, and Master of Energy Regulation and Law), and three post-JD degrees—LLM in American Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers), LLM in Energy Law, and LLM in Environmental Law. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, the South Royalton Legal Clinic, and the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic. For more information, visit

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