Meet Our Staff

Michael Brown – ExecutMPB7ive Director

Michael 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 has served on the boards of multiple nonprofit agencies including Peoria Wilds, the Illinois Recycling Association, and the ParkLands Foundation, where he serves as chair of the Stewardship Committee. Michael is certified as a Sustainable Resource Management Professional, and 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 2015 recipient of Illinois Central College’s Alumnus of the Decade award.

Kris HallKris Hall – Assistant Director of Education

Kris joined the EAC team as Assistant Director in the spring of 2010. Previously, she worked for over 20 years as the Education Coordinator at Miller Park Zoo, where she taught thousands of children and families about fascinating animals. But those animals cannot thrive on a planet with eroding resources and habitats, so now Kris’s focus is teaching people about making choices that will lead to a healthier world for everyone! The daughter of an Air Force family, Kris grew up living all over the world. Her love of travel has spread to her husband Mike and son Dave, and they have been to Australia, Costa Rica, Botswana, South Africa, and many national parks here in the U.S. Kris has a Bachelor’s Degree from DePauw University, where she majored in Zoology and English.

Marcus Ricci – Energy Program CoordinatorDSCF4795

Marcus coordinates Energy Efficiency Programs for the EAC and assists with clean water programming.  He most recently worked as a Building Energy Specialist at the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center, performing building energy audits throughout Illinois at libraries, schools, hospitals, and special sites including the State Fairgrounds and the Marseilles Training Center. He also served as their Sustainability Coordinator, expanding their recycling program and starting composting and reusable linen programs. He is a resource manager with the eye of an urban planner and the heart of a conservationist. Marcus is interested and experienced in a wide range of resource management disciplines, from stormwater management, erosion control and land conservation, to renewable energy generation and energy conservation and efficiency. He is an avid native gardener, repurposer, cyclist and activist, and lives in Charleston with his partner, Jeannie, and their cats and dog.

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Larissa Armstrong – Program Assistant

Larissa was hired in the fall of 2010 to provide assistance with a wide variety of programs at the Ecology Action Center.  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 during the week working for the Illinois Green Economy Network and part-time at the EAC, she is off hiking the trails of nature preserves in Illinois and adding more native plants to her mini backyard prairie.

Ruth Ann Lipic

Ruth Ann Lipic – Radon Program Coordinator

Ruth Ann Lipic, RN, MS, MCHES has a BSN from St. Louis University and MS from Illinois State University in Health Education. She has been extensively involved in community health initiatives as a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES). She has coordinated the local radon awareness program with help from the McLean County Radon Task Force which she chairs since 1996. Lipic has facilitated continuing education programs for the Illinois state radon licensees for 8 years working closely with Illinois Emergency Management Agency.  Ruth Ann now serves as President of Midwest Chapter of American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists and is a member of the national AARST board.

As a survivor of an impaired driving crash, her volunteer efforts for 20 years were directed toward safe, sober driving as a spokesman for MADD, IL state MADD chairperson, victim advocate and national board member. Lipic volunteered 15 years as chairperson for the Holiday Tour of Homes fundraiser for Homes of Hope, Inc. Currently she serves on the Board of Directors for East Central Illinois Area Agency for Aging. Lipic was awarded the YWCA Woman of Distinction in 2003 and Health Educator of the Year in 2010 by the Cornbelt Health Education Association.

Gary KamplainGary Kamplain  – Program Assistant

Gary joined the EAC in June 2011; previously he worked for over 30 years in the safety and agricultural fields. He is from central Illinois with a B.S. degree from Illinois State University. With seven rain barrels in use at home he was a natural for teaching the Ecology Action Center’s rain barrel workshops. He is also part-time resident Handy Man for the EAC. He greatly enjoys finding out how many ways the EAC serves the community and being part of this dynamic team.

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