Featured: Members of Minnesota GreenCorps
For the 2012-2013 program year, 28 AmeriCorps members are serving with organizations around the state. Members serve in the areas of energy conservation, waste prevention and recycling, living green, and green infrastructure. Here are a few featured members and their stories.
E-mail for more information on GreenCorps members and their important work: email@example.com
2012: Member - Jennifer Radtke
Living Green Corps Member at El Colegio Charter School in south Minneapolis.
About me. I grew up in Colorado and attended college at California Lutheran University where I majored in Environmental Science. After living abroad in Costa Rica studying Spanish Language, Eco-tourism and Environmental practices in Latin America I moved to Bellingham, Wash., to complete my Masters of Environmental Education from Western Washington University. Recently I relocated to the Twin Cities with my husband and new baby girl. As a family we enjoy cooking, getting creative and the outdoors.
About my service. I serve as a Living Green Member at El Colegio Charter School in south Minneapolis. El Colegio is a small public school that provides an engaging and supportive environment to help develop future leaders with the skills needed to succeed in a diverse and multicultural world. My specific projects include waste prevention and recycling, waste reduction in the Food/Nutrition program, composting in coordination with of the development of a school garden, community outreach and education especially focused on involving our youth and youth leaders, all within the context of a bilingual and culturally rich Latino community.
Why I serve. Community service and involvement has been instilled in me from the time I was young, and MN GreenCorps provided the perfect opportunity to mesh my education, passions and desire to deepen my relationship with the community here in the Twin Cities. True environmental behavioral change will happen as a result of an invested and connected community working together to better Minnesota.
2012: Member - Kelsea Dombrovksi
Living Green Corps Member hosted by the city of St. Paul.
About me. I attended Carleton College (Northfield, Minn.) where I majored in Environmental Studies with a focus in Food and Agriculture. Throughout college I was able to solidify my interest in the environmental field by working with the Stearns County Parks Department, Carleton College Student Farm, and the University of Minnesota Extension Service. Following graduation, I served a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Minnesota Children's Museum where I supported the outreach and high school volunteer programs. This year, I'm looking forward to returning to my environmental roots by spending my second year of service with Minnesota GreenCorps.
About my service. My position as Local Food System Specialist (a Living Green Corps member position) is hosted by the city of St. Paul. My time will be spent maintaining the projects started by last year’s GreenCorps member, such as refining the land acquisition process for community groups looking to develop community gardens on City-owned land, while also embarking on several new projects. The largest of my projects include: developing sourcing of healthy and local food at City events and facilities including vending machines and recreation centers, researching the creation of a local food distribution center for restaurants and grocery stores, and collaborating with partners to develop a plan for a city-wide food waste system. Working with community members, governmental staff, and nonprofit organizations will help make these projects possible.
Why I serve. Serving provides me with the opportunity to merge environmental stewardship with community involvement, a link essential to furthering the behavioral changes necessary to sustain healthier, more aware communities. The member development the program provides helps members facilitate this environment-community connection and prepares us for meaningful environmental careers.
2012: Member - Nick Voss
Living Green Corps Member hosted in Saint Anthony Village.
About me. I grew up in White Bear Lake,and graduated from Bethel University in Environmental Science and Reconciliation Studies, with a minor in Philosophy. I’m interested in environmental education, conflict resolution, Capoeira, birding, and the great sport of yo-yo-ing.
About my service. I’m a Living Green Member hosted in Saint Anthony Village. “Living Green” tackles a wide range of topics, from stormwater to recycling. My projects include waste/recycling education and improvements at schools and multi-family dwellings, stormwater BMP implementation, Asian carp removal, and pet waste outreach for clean water and walkable communities. The largest task is to coordinate between multiple counties and watershed districts in all of these efforts, creating something coherent, tangible, and sustainable for the city.
Why I serve. I believe that AmeriCorps is a vital program for our country in so many ways. AmeriCorps members do the projects that tie loose ends and give second chances, helping us move forward stronger and more united. I serve in MN GreenCorps because members are exposed to the plethora of environmental initiatives in the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota. It seems our current situation requires a bit of intentional strategizing to make the environmental benefits snowball into economic and social benefits, but when they do it’s well worth the extra time and effort it took to get there. I’m excited and honored to be a catalyst in this up and coming field that will shape our lifestyles for years to come.
2012: Member - Paige Scarborough
Green Infrastructure - Urban Forestry track Corps Member hosted at the University of Minnesota - Morris.
About me. I am from Alexandria. I attended Concordia College (Moorhead, Minn.) and earned a degree in Environmental Studies with an Environmental Science emphasis, as well as a minor in Sociology with emphasis in biology, political science, and history. I absolutely love to hike, camp, canoe, and adventure in the outdoors.
About my service. I am currently a Green Infrastructure - Urban Forestry Track service member at the University of Minnesota Morris serving both the university and the city. My main projects are tree plantings, markings for snowmobiles and weed whipping/lawn mowers, education about tree health and lawn care, Emerald-Ash-Borer preparedness, helping to write grants and planting plans. I also am helping to mobilize a large group of volunteers for this spring and fall plantings with the city of Morris and the city Tree Board.
Why I serve. I chose MN GreenCorps because I wanted to be in Minnesota, and I wanted to do something that I knew would impact a community on a large scale. Forest ecology always interested me and so this seemed to be a perfect fit. Eventually I will go to grad school, but I have spent most of my time in environmental education and this gave me the opportunity to still work with many people and teach about the environment while getting to see a different side of the "environmental coin."
2012: Member - Luke Hanson
Living Green Corps Member at Cycles for Change in St. Paul.
About me. After spending my formative years in Milwaukee, Wisc., I moved to the Twin Cities to pursue a degree in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota. After graduating, I interned with Menomonee Valley Partners, an organization dedicated to the ecological and economic revitalization of Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley. Finding Minnesota just too alluring, I moved back after my internship and worked in music marketing for a few years before serving as an AmeriCorps employment coach with Catholic Charities in 2012.
About my service. Somewhere deep in my childhood (and I’m not exactly sure where), I decided that were I ever to quit my job as an astronaut, I’d become an urban planner. While I couldn’t quite articulate my rationale at the time, it was rooted in a desire to help improve my community. As the years passed, my hopes of becoming an astronaut slowly faded. But my commitment to improving my community only strengthened with time, and the Minnesota GreenCorps provided a perfect outlet to put this commitment into action.
Through GreenCorps, I am able to directly impact the communities I live and serve in, empowering them to become more ecologically and economically sustainable. I am able to connect with neighborhood organizations and local community members, and build professional relationships that are as educational as they are purposeful. For me, Minnesota GreenCorps is a natural fit.
2012: Member - Laurie Jones
Waste Prevention and Recycling member serving at Three Rivers Park District
About me. I grew up in Seattle, Wash., and graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1976 with a BA in Recreation and Education. After I moved to Minneapolis, I looked into getting a teaching degree and working in Special Education. I also enjoyed working outside and found a job with Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board. I worked in the maintenance division for many years as a Park keeper at Linden Hills Park. Over the last two years I was an active and enthusiastic member of the Waste Management and Recycling Committee. I had an “aha” moment after I read about a local school waste study that reported that 78% of their trash was compostable and recyclable. From that moment on I was hooked! The potential at the schools was just the tip of the iceberg. I spent many Saturdays in the library researching recycling programs and resources. I made cold calls to Three Rivers Park District, the Minneapolis Downtown Council, and the Minneapolis Convention Center to find out what other organizations were doing. Everyone I talked with was in the process of improving their recycling programs, and was excited to share information and resources.
About my service. As a Waste Prevention and Recycling member serving at Three Rivers Park District, I am excited to be involved with an organization that has made sustainability a top priority. I have been educating volunteers and the public about zero-waste events. The first zero-waste event I was involved with was the Autumn Woods Classic 10K Race at Elm Creek Park Reserve: the total weight of the trash was 12.4 lbs, or just 0.13 ounce per participant, much less than the 1 ounce per participant requirement for a zero-waste event. Currently, I am working on creating a Zero-waste Reference Guide for park district staff. I will be working on projects to add food waste composting to the campground in Baker Park Reserve, the Ski Chalet at Elm Creek, Eastman Nature Center, and Cleary Concessions at Cleary Lake Regional Park. To prepare for this, I have started researching campgrounds across the country that offer food waste composting.
Why I serve. When I worked on the Waste Management and Recycling committee at the Minneapolis Park Board, I had a great opportunity to work with a 2011 GreenCorps member on two waste sorts and a project implementing composting. I thoroughly enjoyed working on improving recycling programs at the park. As I was planning to retire from the Minneapolis Park Board, I applied and was selected for a Minnesota GreenCorps Member position. This is such a great opportunity for me to give back to the community by working to expand and improve the recycling programs at Three Rivers Park District. I also hope to gain skills and experience that will help me transition to a career in environmental field.
2012: Member - Zahra Hassan
Waste Prevention and Recycling Corps member at the Hennepin County Department of Environmental Services
About me. I was born in Somalia but grew up in Kenya, where I played different sports throughout my schooling. In academics my major interest is the connection between health and the environment, thus I attended the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities where I graduated in May 2011 with a Biology, Society and Environment major. This major helped prepare me for career related to both environmental and health issues.
About my service. I am a Waste Prevention and Recycling Corps member at the Hennepin County Department of Environmental Services. I work with schools that have received financial and/or technical assistance from the county to improve and expand recycling and organics recycling programs. Some of my day-to-day tasks include visiting the schools to see what is working for them and what is not, and taking part in school meetings to come up with ways to implement the projects.
Why I serve. I served as an AmeriCorps member through America Reads while I was in college, but what made me join GreenCorps was different. In the summer of 2011 I went back to Africa and things that I have seen there made want to make a difference in the environment. Seeing animals feeding on bags was disheartening. After coming back I decided to apply to Minnesota GreenCorps and serve my community. This service will help me develop valuable skills and gain experience that will help make a difference in anywhere I go. This is also an opportunity that is developing me professionally as a person and has opened my eyes towards environmental sustainability.