Full time opening – Education Coordinator

Ecology Action Center
Education Coordinator Job Description

The Program Coordinator is a full-time salaried position with health insurance and paid time off including annual vacation time, sick time, and holidays.  The position is contingent upon funding.  Specific responsibilities may vary and are subject to change dependent upon funding opportunities.

This position will focus on the coordination and implementation of recycling, waste reduction and clean water protection outreach programs.  Specific roles depend on funding opportunities.  Candidates should possess a strong environmental health, energy efficiency, or environmental studies background.   Excellent written and verbal communication skills are required, and familiarity with relevant technology and software.

Major responsibilities include some combination, but not all of the following:

  • Promotion, coordination, and implementation of educational outreach programs such as fourth and third grade classroom programs in recycling/waste reduction and watersheds/stormwater runoff pollution.
  • Coordination of volunteer outreach projects including storm drain stenciling, creek clean ups, and/or natural areas stewardship workdays.
  • Educate residents at community events through information booths
  • Presentations to community groups.
  • Coordination of special events as assigned.
  • Research and project development to address program needs.
  • Coordinate programs to combine duties whenever necessary to save time and costs.
  • Creation of educational content and messaging to promote program objectives.
  • Update program-specific websites with new and updated content.
  • Management of recycling and waste disposal listings in Recycle Coach online recycling information application.
  • Coordination of annual community-wide waste generation and recycling rates data collection and interpretation process.
  • Assist with 5-year updates to the Twenty-Year Materials Recovery and Resource Management Plan for McLean County, Bloomington, and Normal, Illinois.

Additional duties may include assisting or leading educational programs, scheduling of programs, promoting programs and events of the EAC, working with interns and volunteers to facilitate programs of the EAC, staffing the center including answering phone calls, greeting the public, distributing informational materials, and assisting with the regular running of the center.  Weekend and evening hours are required occasionally.  Position is considered to be onsite and in-person at the Ecology Action Center offices at 202 W College Avenue, Normal, Illinois 61761.

Qualifications

  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree.  Preferred course of study in Environmental Health, Environmental Studies or other environmental sciences major.  Preferred Masters of Science in relevant study area.
  • 3 years of experience in nontraditional education and/or community outreach with varied age groups and other demographics
  • Strong communication skills required, both written and verbal
  • Experience and high degree of comfort with web and computer technologies: spreadsheets, social media, WordPress, databases,  CRM, etc.
  • Ability to work occasional long hours and irregular schedules to accommodate programmatic needs
  • Ability to stand for 4 or more hours at a time
  • Ability to lift up to 25 pounds
  • Must provide own transportation, automobile insurance, and have a satisfactory driving record.

How to Apply

The position is open until filled but applicants should submit their application materials by August 6, 2021 for initial consideration.  Please apply via Indeed.com.

Equal Opportunity

The EAC is an equal opportunity employer for all qualified employees and applicants. All decisions regarding employment are made without regard for race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, or physical and/or mental disability unrelated to ability.

Ecology Action Center

The Ecology Action Center is a not-for-profit environmental agency with a mission to inspire and assist our community in creating, strengthening and preserving a healthy environment.  The EAC acts as a central resource for environmental education, information, outreach, and technical assistance in McLean County.

Four local nonprofit organizations benefit from Illinois Solar For All

The Ecology Action Center announced Monday that four Bloomington-Normal nonprofit agencies are among the first in McLean County selected for solar projects through the Illinois Solar for All program.  The solar projects were selected on Wednesday, September 9, and are subject to the approval of the Illinois Commerce Commission in the coming weeks. If approved, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, the Wayman AME Church, the Normal Township Activity and Recreation Center, and the Christ Church PCA will all receive solar installations that will significantly reduce their overall energy costs for years to come. Local solar installer StraightUp Solar is working with all four organizations on their solar installations.  The Ecology Action Center is a grassroots educator for Illinois Solar for All and works to promote and educate the local community on the program.

Illinois Solar for All (ILSFA) is a key outcome of the 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act and is designed to increase access to solar energy for low-income and environmental justice communities. ILSFA works by increasing incentives (solar renewable energy credits or SRECs) for income-qualifying projects. The solar developers and contractors (called Approved Vendors) who complete projects in ILSFA receive these increased incentives and are then able to offer installations with no upfront costs for income-qualifying residents and low or no upfront costs for qualifying nonprofits and public facilities. Approved Vendors are not allowed to charge participants more than 50% of the value of the energy produced by the solar systems. This enables ILSFA participants to reap the energy-saving benefits of solar without having to overcome the obstacle of financing a solar installation all at once.

The Ecology Action Center (EAC) just started its second year serving as a grassroots educator for ILSFA. EAC worked directly with several of the nonprofits selected to receive solar through the program to both educate those organizations about the benefits of ILSFA and to reach residents those organizations serve. ILSFA is a multi-year program, and there are still opportunities for McLean County residents to participate. Larissa Armstrong, EAC Assistant Director said, “We are really excited to see local organizations benefit from the ILSFA program, and are hopeful even more residents and organizations in our community will get to do the same.”

On-site solar installations are available for single-family homes that meet the income eligibility requirement, and for multi-family properties where half the residents meet these income requirements. Community solar is available for any household in Ameren territory that meets the income eligibility requirement. Check the EAC’s energy program site at bnenergybright.org/illinois-solar-for-all for details on income eligibility.

The Ecology Action Center’s role is to educate residents and organizations on how they can benefit from this program, either providing information directly to individuals or offering brief online overview presentations to organizations and community groups. The EAC helps eligible residents and organizations access the ILSFA program and the benefits of solar.  Contact Larissa Armstrong, at [email protected] or 309-454-3169 x.15 to learn more or schedule a group presentation.

Full time opening – Program Coordinator

Ecology Action Center
Program Coordinator Job Description

The Program Coordinator is a full-time salaried position with health insurance and paid time off including annual vacation time, sick time, and holidays.  The position is contingent upon funding.  Specific responsibilities may vary and are subject to change dependent upon funding opportunities.

This position will focus on the coordination and implementation of energy efficiency, recycling and waste reduction, or clean water protection outreach programs.  Specific roles depend on pending funding opportunities.  Candidates should possess a strong environmental health, energy efficiency, or environmental studies background.   Excellent written and verbal communication skills are required, and familiarity with relevant technology and software.

Major responsibilities include some combination, but not all of the following:

  • Promotion, coordination, and implementation of educational outreach programs such as fourth and third grade classroom programs in recycling/waste reduction and watersheds/stormwater runoff pollution.
  • Coordination of volunteer outreach projects including storm drain stenciling, creek clean ups, and/or natural areas stewardship workdays.
  • Educate residents at community events through information booths
  • Presentations to community groups.
  • Coordination of special events as assigned.
  • Research and project development to address program needs.
  • Coordinate programs to combine duties whenever necessary to save time and costs.
  • Assessment of homes and small businesses for energy use and adequate weatherization and provide detailed written reports of findings and recommendations.
  • Promotion of clean renewable energy such as solar PV through coordination of solar group purchasing programs, educational sessions, and other outreach.
  • Creation of educational content and messaging to promote program objectives (waste, clean water, or energy efficiency).
  • Update program-specific websites with new and updated content.

Additional duties may include assisting or leading educational programs, scheduling of programs, promoting programs and events of the EAC, working with interns and volunteers to facilitate programs of the EAC, staffing the center including answering phone calls, greeting the public, distributing informational materials, and assisting with the regular running of the center.  Weekend and evening hours are required occasionally.

Qualifications

  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree.  Preferred course of study in Energy, Environmental Health, Environmental Studies or other environmental sciences major.  Preferred Masters of Science in relevant study area.
  • 3 years of experience in nontraditional education and/or community outreach with varied age groups and other demographics
  • Strong communication skills required, both written and verbal
  • Experience and high degree of comfort with web and computer technologies: spreadsheets, social media, WordPress, databases,  NeonCRM, etc.
  • Ability to work occasional long hours and irregular schedules to accommodate programmatic needs
  • Ability to stand for 4 or more hours at a time
  • Ability to lift up to 25 pounds
  • Must provide own transportation, automobile insurance, and have a satisfactory driving record.

How to Apply

To apply, candidates should complete an EAC Employment Application and submit it with a resume and cover letter to Executive Director Michael Brown at [email protected]  The position is open until filled but applicants should submit their application materials by January 7, 2020 for initial consideration.

Equal Opportunity

The EAC is an equal opportunity employer for all qualified employees and applicants. All decisions regarding employment are made without regard for race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, or physical and/or mental disability unrelated to ability.

Ecology Action Center

The Ecology Action Center is a not-for-profit environmental agency with a mission to inspire and assist our community in creating, strengthening and preserving a healthy environment.  The EAC acts as a central resource for environmental education, information, outreach, and technical assistance in McLean County.

Ecology Action Center announces recipients of 2019 McLean County Green Awards

The Ecology Action Center annually presents the annual McLean County Green Awards in order to recognize significant local efforts to improve our environment.  The 2019 award recipients were named at the EAC’s annual fall event, the Sustainable Gourmet on November 14.

The McLean County Recycling and Waste Reduction Award identifies businesses, schools or organizations with outstanding recycling programs or waste reduction efforts or individuals who have played a role in a successful program or effort.   The 2019 award was presented to a group of volunteers who coordinate local collections of “Terracycle”, a nontraditional recycling program that recycles a wide range of diverse items including snack chip bags, drink pouches, water filters, and beauty product packaging.  Amie Keeton, Janet Guaderrama, Macia Nagy, Melanie Ziomek, organize Terracyle collections through a 24 hour drop-off site in partnership with St. Luke Union Church in Bloomington.  Over the past several years they have helped divert over 100,000 items from the landfill through their efforts.  More information on Terracycle programs in Bloomington-Normal is available on the EAC website at https://ecologyactioncenter.org/terracycle/.

The Anne McGowan Making a World of Difference Award recognizes outstanding projects, activities, or individuals in McLean County who promote environmental awareness or natural resource conservation. The EAC dedicated the World of Difference Award in memory of McGowan, an early director of the EAC, due to her ability to inspire and motivate others to take action. Henry Brockman is a local organic produce farmer in the Congerville area who provides vegetables to hundreds of Central Illinois residents each year through CSA (community supported agriculture ) subscriptions.  He is a leader local food in central Illinois as he adopts new strategies on an ongoing basis to better protect our local environment, saying “the goal of everything I do in my fields is to give life to the soil and the entire ecosystem”.  He plants over 650 varieties of vegetables each year, experimenting with new types and improving his practices to adapt to a changing climate.  Learn more about the Brockman family farm or sign up for a 2020 CSA subscription at https://brockmanfamilyfarming.com/henrys-farm/. 

Past recipients of the McLean County Green Awards are listed on the Ecology Action Center website at https://ecologyactioncenter.org/green-awards-2/.

The mission of the Ecology Action Center is to inspire and assist our community in creating, strengthening, and preserving a healthy environment.  The EAC acts as a central resource for environmental education, information, outreach, and technical assistance in McLean County.

 

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McLean County Goes Solar with MREA Group Buy Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Peter Murphy, 414-988-7963, [email protected]

Solar-Bloomington-Normal-01 (2)McLean County, IL – March 22, 2016 – The Ecology Action Center (EAC) of Normal, IL, is partnering with the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) to bring their solar group buy program to the Bloomington-Normal area. MREA’s program will work with home, business, and farm owners throughout McLean County to lower their electricity bills by making solar more accessible through the power of volume purchasing. “This is an exciting opportunity to expand solar in McLean County, lower energy bills for participants and expand our community’s sustainability efforts,” said Michael Brown, Executive Director for the Ecology Action Center.

The Solar Bloomington-Normal group buy program will offer multiple free, public, one-hour long informational sessions known as Solar Power Hours. The program is based on educating community members about their solar options. Navigating the solar market can be intimidating for some. MREA and partners work to provide free information sessions to community members to answer any and all questions when it comes to installing solar. “We encourage all interested individuals to attend a Solar Power Hour and benefit from a presentation that provides the kind of information on solar that would take an individual days or weeks to research otherwise,” said Peter Murphy, Market Development Coordinator for the MREA.

The first Solar Power Hour will be held at 1:00pm on Saturday, April 9, 2016, at the Illinois Sustainable Living and Wellness Expo at the Illinois Wesleyan University Shirk Center. Several Solar Power Hours will occur in the months leading up to the participation deadline of July 31, 2016, all are free and open to the public.

A solar group buy is an innovative and collaborative approach for bringing solar to communities. The Solar Bloomington-Normal Group Buy Program focuses outreach and informational sessions in Bloomington and Normal; however, the program is available for home, business, and farm owners anywhere in McLean County.

The MREA has managed several successful solar group buys since the program’s start in 2013. Most recent success can be seen with Champaign County’s Solar Urbana-Champaign program, which recently surpassed its 100 kW goal of clean solar energy to be installed. Solar Bloomington-Normal is an extension of this program and will utilize StraightUp Solar, the Bloomington-based solar installer, chosen through the program’s competitive bid process. “The EAC is excited to work with MREA on this group buy program to boost the use of solar energy in our region, and help our environment and our residents benefit from renewable energy,” said Brown.

The Solar Bloomington-Normal program enables residents to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve local energy security through the generation of renewable energy while simultaneously conserving energy and reducing long-term energy costs at their homes or businesses.

For more information about the group buy and to sign up for updates, visit solarbloomingtonnormal.com. The second Solar Bloomington-Normal session will occur at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 18, at the Marriott in Uptown Normal.

The Solar Bloomington-Normal Group Buy Program is brought to you by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), with support from promotional partner the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative.

The MREA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization. Founded in 1990, the MREA promotes renewable energy and sustainable living through education and demonstration. To learn more, call 715-592-6595 or visit www.midwestrenew.org.

Civic Duty: Vote & Recycle

Corrugated plastic political yard signs may now be recycled at Midwest Fiber Recycling.  Drop off  corrugated plastic signs at Midwest Fiber at 422 White Oak Rd, Normal, between 6:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.  Consult staff at the office to be directed to the container for these signs.  Corrugated plastic is NOT recyclable in curbside recycling in Bloomington and Normal.

Survey Results: Residents say area water quality good, see need to plan for future

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Joan Brehm, (309) 438-7177

yourwaterBLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Residents who live around the Lake Bloomington and Evergreen Lake watersheds are pleased with the quality of water, but remain less aware of the impact residential growth has on water sources, according to the Your Water, Your Future survey, released today.  Organized and implemented by McLean County Soil and Water Conservation District, Illinois State University, and the City of Bloomington, the survey was funded, in part, by the State of Illinois’ Office of the Governor and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.

The survey, completed by 550 households in Bloomington, north Normal, Towanda, Hudson, and Lake Bloomington, took place over the summer of 2015. Residents assessed the quality of water for different uses on a scale from 1 (poor) to 3 (good). With an overall mean of 2.53, activities ranged from the highest assessment for boating (2.64) to the lowest for swimming (2.28).
“The numbers show that people are pleased with the overall water quality and consider these watersheds a valuable resource worthy of protecting,” said Illinois State’s Professor of Sociology Joan Brehm, who oversaw implementation of the survey and gathering results. Brehm and her students have conducted similar social assessments of water quality in other areas of the state.
The survey could serve as the basis of planning for the future of water use in the area. Brehm pointed out a majority of residents surveyed see the need to develop an additional water source beyond Lake Bloomington and Evergreen Lake in the next 10 years. “Though respondents were split between favoring a new reservoir, or digging a well,” she said.

Before any long-term planning is considered, the Your Water, Your Future team will focus on outreach and education in terms of local water pollution. “When asked what they believed caused the most pollution to local water sources, those surveyed overwhelmingly said nitrogen and phosphorus—chemicals associated with agriculture,” said Brehm. While farmland runoff historically was a major source of pollution, Brehm noted changes in farming practices have reduced their impact, while growing urban development has increased the impact from residential homeowners. “A growing piece of the puzzle is the chemicals used in residential lawn care, but people are not always making the connection between their lawns and pollution.”

The groups involved in Your Water, Your Future will begin education efforts to encourage residents to employ “best practices” for lawn care. “That can include such things as using phosphorous-free fertilizers, rain barrels, or rain gardens,” said Brehm, who added though many people are aware of more sustainable lawn practices, not many in the survey use them. “Respondents were most familiar with rain barrels, which had a mean score of 2.46, yet only 10 percent of those taking the survey said they owned rain barrels. That is a disconnect we need to address.”
More than 58 percent of the households chosen for the random sample responded to the survey. “That is an unheard of number for a response, so that tells us this topic is important to the residents,” said Brehm, who noted most survey organizers hope for a 20 percent response.

Full report available at the link below.

http://mcleanwater.org/2016/02/final-report-your-water-your-future-a-residential-household-survey-to-assess-our-water-future/

 

Ecology Action Center Named Recipient of Chamber’s Annual Nonprofit Excellence Award

nonprofit excellence award

The Ecology Action Center was named the 2016 recipient of the McLean County Chamber of Commerce’s Nonprofit Excellence Award at the Chamber’s Annual Gala on Saturday, January 30.  This annual award honors an outstanding local nonprofit organization that demonstrates an ability to meet special community needs.

EAC volunteer Josh Barnett cited the EAC’s ongoing efforts to improve the quality of life of McLean County residents in his nomination to the Chamber.  He specifically referenced the EAC’s unique public/private partnership to address local needs for Household Hazardous Waste Collection in the absence of traditional state funding.  “Without these collections efforts and the work of the Ecology Action Center, thee toxics would continue to sit in homes, or, be dumped down the drain or in local streams. It is safe to say that no single non-profit event in McLean County during 2015 touched more local lives then the Household Hazardous Waste Collection,” said Barnett.

EAC Executive Director Michael Brown credits the broad base of EAC supporters for the organization’s successes.  “Without the hard work of our staff, volunteers, and board members, the financial support of our many members, donors, sponsors, grantors, and local government funders, and the participation of thousands of local residents, none of this would be possible.  The community embraced our efforts and everyone played a role to make the HHW effort a great success,” said Brown.