Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Growing Green Communities - Austin Rural Sustainability Conference

Learn how sustainable technologies and business practices can save money, make money and create jobs

It’s no secret that Texas has experienced not only the hottest summer on record, but one of the worst wildfire seasons in memory. Hundreds of homes were lost as friends and neighbors scrambled to simply survive the long, hot summer. Unfortunately, as we move into the fall, meteorologists predict a second year of the La Nina weather pattern which is believed to have caused our hot, dry weather. Though we can’t change the weather, on November 14-16, Texans can help mitigate next year’s heat as well as learn how to rebuild “green.” Register today for the fourth Texas Rural Sustainability Conference in Austin, conducted by Growing Green Communities.

The Growing Green Communities Rural Sustainability Conference is for anyone interested in hearing and seeing real-life examples from people who have saved money, made money and created jobs by adopting sustainable technologies and business practices.

Need more reasons to attend?
  • Learn practical, real-world examples of sustainable business practices.
  • Meet representatives and gain insights on programs from state and federal agencies.
  • Learn about funding sources, incentives and other resources available for sustainable business development.
  • Network with peers and service providers.
  • Earn Continuing Education Units.
Sustainability is not a new concept for rural communities, whose roots in agriculture have ensured a long history of interest in resource management. The very nature of rural life demands an entrepreneurial, independent spirit and close attention to the bottom line. The Growing Green conference series brings information and resources about sustainable technologies and business practices to rural areas, shortening the distance to rural communities and presenting real opportunities to diversify rural economies and create jobs.

Speakers and Green Tracks
Our keynote speakers in Austin include Texas State Sen. Steve Ogden and Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith. Other speakers include representatives from business, finance, industry and government.

You can find information on our entire slate of speakers on the Austin conference speaker’s page on

While there, check out our Growing Green conference tracks:
  • Financing and Incentives for Growing Green
  • Growing Green with Renewable Energy and Sustainable Practices
  • Progressive Practices by Texas Utilities
  • Green Workforce Development
  • Building and Managing Sustainable Facilities
Please visit for a complete green conference program.

Growing Green Awards
Plan to attend the opening session on Nov. 14, from 2 – 4 p.m., where we will announce our first-ever Growing Green Awards. The Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) will honor 10 outstanding initiatives that have created economic value and opportunity through environmental stewardship, energy conservation and sustainable practices in Texas rural communities. The awards program will recognize individuals, businesses, communities and organizations in five categories:
  • School Districts, including Private Schools
  • Rural Communities
  • Electric Cooperatives and Municipal Electric Utilities
  • Businesses
  • Elected Officials
The criteria for evaluation for all categories include the degree to which the effort saved money, made money or created jobs as a result of an activity or initiative dedicated to energy efficiency, renewable energy solutions, creating sustainable communities or clean energy technologies.

For more information, please visit the Growing Green Awards page on the Growing Green Communities website.

The Growing Green conference series and website are produced by the Texas Engineering Extension Service’s Knowledge Engineering Division under a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration. The grant, “Communicating, Collaborating and Innovating towards Sustainable Development,” will bring sustainable economic development opportunities to rural communities through conferences and other means of information sharing.

Texans are tough, and we’ll recover from whatever nature throws at us. Texans are also smart and know that rebuilding sustainably is a key to saving money, making money and creating jobs for the 21st century.

Sam White is a communications specialist for the Texas Engineering Extension Service and Internet marketing manager for the Growing Green Communities conference series. We welcome your comments on our blog, or you may write to me at

NOTE: A variety of exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities are available to help you find the most effective way to promote your business to our attendees. For further information on exhibiting or sponsoring our Rural Sustainability Conference in Austin or our upcoming April conference in Rockwall, Texas, please visit the sponsor and exhibitor page on, or contact Ann Lauter at 979-458-8723.

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