Meet Our Staff

Michael Brown – Executive Director

Michael has served as Executive Director of the Ecology Action Center since November of 2007.  He has a diverse background in environmental work including training of volunteers in ecological monitoring for the Illinois EcoWatch, service as a Peace Corps volunteer at Pirin National Park in Bulgaria, management of a 320-acre educational park for the Peoria Park District, work in environmental health with the Peoria City/County Health Department, and restoration of natural areas for Peoria Wilds.  He served on the Board of the Illinois Recycling Association from 2010 to 2013, on the Board of Directors of the ParkLands Foundation from 2010 to 2019 acting as chair of stewardship efforts and on the ISU Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning Community Consulting Board from 2018 to 2020.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Peoria Wilds, on the Environment and Climate Justice Committee of the Bloomington Normal Chapter of the NAACP, and is a volunteer with the McLean County Medical Reserve Corps. Michael is a 2006 recipient of Peoria’s 40 Leaders Under Forty Award, 2013 recipient of the Illinois Recycling Association’s President’s Award, 2014 recipient of the McLean County Public Health Award, and the 2015 inaugural recipient of Illinois Central College’s Alumnus of the Decade award.  In his spare time, Michael is an avid cyclist, in 2017 completing a 250-mile ride across Death Valley National Park as part of “Climate Ride”.

Larissa Armstrong – Assistant Director

Larissa Armstrong has served as the Assistant Director of the Ecology Action Center since 2018, and has worked for the organization since 2010.  Larissa is a compassionate, experienced and enthusiastic community educator and energy professional providing a variety of solar, energy efficiency, and energy choice educational programming to the community. Larissa is a Building Performance Institute certified Building Analyst and Envelope Professional and coordinates the EAC’s BN Energy Bright energy efficiency program.  Larissa also manages the Yard Smart program, helps organize Sugar Creek Stewards workdays, and assists with annual giving and fundraising in addition to other responsibilities. Larissa has a Bachelor’s Degree from Illinois State University in Politics and Government, and a Master’s Degree from Rutgers University in Global Affairs with a research focus on Global Environmental Issues.  When Larissa isn’t busy working for the EAC, she is hiking, baking, gardening, hanging out with her cats and husband, and staying engaged in the community through various volunteer activities.

Deborah S. Pitcher – Development Coordinator

Deborah joined the EAC team in June of 2022 as Development Coordinator. She is working with the Executive Director and Finance Resources Committee to increase EAC’s financial support from individuals, foundations and corporations with emphasis on endowment fund growth.  She earned her BS in Speech and Hearing Therapy at Miami University (Oxford, OH), her MS in Audiology at East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, TN) and Au.D (Clinical Doctorate in Audiology) from Salus University (Philadelphia, PA). She worked in schools, hospitals and physicians’ offices for many years and in 1990, she established the first Audiology private practice in Central Illinois, Bloomington-Normal Audiology. She managed and grew the practice until her retirement.  She was active in the Illinois Academy of Audiology and was elected to the Presidency in 2013. Dr. Pitcher also served on the Westminster Board of directors for many years.

She has a passion of environmental concerns and serves on her church’s Green Team and is a regular volunteer at the School Street Food Pantry. Her husband, Red Pitcher is now retired from Radio Bloomington (WJBC/WBNQ/WBEN.) Deb became well connected to the Bloomington-Normal community through their joint attendance at many radio-station sponsored events.  She is an avid gardener and enjoys walking, lap swimming, biking, traveling and is currently learning toplay golf. Deb most enjoys spending time with her adult son and daughter and their families. She is a proud grandmother of five.

Katie Vogler – Education Coordinator

Katie officially joined the EAC team in September of 2022 as the Educational Coordinator after serving as their Ecology/Sustainability Staff Intern in 2020. Katie graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2022 with a B.S. in Biology. Katie’s interests are in translational science, clean water programing, and youth education. In her free time, Katie enjoys cooking, reading in her hammock, kayaking, and playing board games.

Kelsey Bremner  – Program Assistant

kelsey bremner

Kelsey joined the EAC team in August of 2022 as a program assistant. She is focusing her efforts on the Solid Waste Program and Management Plan including the EAC’s Recycle Coach App. Kelsey earned her B.S. in Environmental Health from Illinois State University in 2012. Her interests lie in community composting and gardening and recycling in the garment industry. Outside of work you can find her hiking with her dog, learning to sew and baking desserts for friends and family.

Riley Francis – Program Assistant

Riley joined the EAC team in September of 2021 as Program Coordinator. Riley had graduated from Eureka College in 2019 with a B.S. in Environmental Science, and worked for a local solar installer, StraightUp Solar from 2019-2021. Riley’s interests are in carbon emissions reporting, renewable energy, and smart waste management. In her free time, Riley enjoys going for walks, reading, playing video games with friends, and decorating cakes and cookies.

Nate BairNathan Bair – Stewardship Coordinator

Eric MarshallEric Marshall – Program Assistant

Eric assists the EAC on a part-time basis while working on his small farm near Downs. He is interested and experienced in a wide range of resource management disciplines, from large scale rainwater collection, improving pollinator and wildlife habitat, to renewable energy generation. Eric’s previous farm had a 10,200 gallon rainwater collection system and his current farm power is supplied by a 9.9kW solar array purchased through the Solar Bloomington-Normal program. He also loves to volunteer to maintain parks, help local food pantries, and build nesting boxes for wildlife rehabilitators.

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