Vermont State Parks announces innovation challenge

For Immediate Release:

April 28, 2010

Contact: David M. Coriell, Office of the Governor (802) 828-3333

Jason Gibbs, Department of Forest, Parks & Recreation (802) 279-3187

Vermont State Parks Announces Innovation Challenge

Partnership Seeks to Promotes Cutting Edge Renewable Energy Products

Winooski, Vt. – At the Sunward solar manufacturing facility in Winooski today, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) and Governor Jim Douglas kicked off a new initiative offering Vermont companies the opportunity to demonstrate their newest renewable energy and energy conservation products in the Vermont State Park system.

The new initiative—dubbed the Vermont State Parks Innovation Challenge—is an opportunity for Vermont ’s energy companies to connect with park visitors, and benefit from the Vermont State Parks brand, while making a contribution to an important state resource.

Sunward, part of Vergennes based Country Home Products, will be the first official innovation partner. All told, the company will donate and install a two collector, ground-mounted solar hot water system with a total retail value of approximately $11,000.

“As you well know, Vermont is on the forefront of the green economy and a leader in the pursuit of 21st century solutions that grow the economy and create good jobs,” said Governor Jim Douglas. “ Vermont has always been a home for innovation. This initiative continues that tradition.”

Forests, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Jason Gibbs said the Vermont State Parks Innovation Challenge combines Vermont ’s ongoing investments in growing the green economy and workforce development with the state’s reputation as a leader in natural resource management.

“The Vermont State Parks Innovation Challenge is a unique opportunity to build a partnership that further encourages growth in this economic sector and inspires innovation in Vermont ’s green industry,” Gibbs said.

Country Home Products President and CEO Joe Perrotto said his company is delighted to be the first official partner in this initiative. “Using Vermont State Parks as venues for demonstration offers companies a comparative advantage in the production and marketing of their products that they can’t get from other demonstration sites,” Perrotto said. “It is also a great way for companies to make a contribution to one of our state’s most valuable, and most popular, assets.”

BENEFITS OF THE PARTNERSHIP

Commissioner Gibbs said companies with demonstration projects in any one of Vermont ’s 52 state parks will benefit from:

· the power of the State of Vermont ’s and Vermont State Park brands;

· on site branding opportunities and passive access to park visitors;

· earned media; and

· access to the park(s) for demonstration and promotion of the product to prospective customers, as well as for video and photography.

HOW DO COMPANIES APPLY?

Companies interested in applying to have their products showcased in a Vermont State Park must send a product summary and proposal to parks@state.vt.us or by mail to:

Vermont State Parks Innovation Challenge

C/O Vermont Department of Forest , Parks and Recreation

103 South Main Street

Waterbury , VT 05671-0601

ABOUT SUNWARD SOLAR

Sunward is a U.S. company, headquartered in Vermont , and is part of the Country Home Products family that also includes DR® and Neuton® Power equipment. For over 25 years, Country Home Products has been designing and manufacturing hard-working, long-lasting, purpose-built tools to help people get the most enjoyment from the places they call home. For more information, visit www.GoSunward.com

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