Energy Corps in Arkansas: Continuing to Get Things Done

By Dan Dean, Energy Corps Project Coordinator

When AmeriCorps members begin their service, they pledge to “get things done for their community.”  Though seven Energy Corps members in Arkansas completed their terms in September, the positive impact on their communities won’t stop there.

012-2013 Energy Corps members
Swearing-in ceremony for 2012-2013 Energy Corps members

In her second term with Interfaith Power & Light (IPL), Scharmel Roussel coordinated weatherization and energy conservation projects at several community buildings, including the Vera Lloyd Children’s Home where 30 volunteers sealed the building.  The anticipated saving are 40% in the first year.  Scharmel will carry on this work with Arkansas IPL as their Executive Director.

Rob Moore and Erin Anderson enabled Boston Mountain Solid Waste District (BMSWD) to reach out to rural residents and non-English speakers about reducing waste.  Rob is now working full-time with BMSWD as an Environmental Educator.

Rob wrote:
Here’s why I love the opportunity Energy Corps has afforded me:  I have been given the flexibility to find unique ways to introduce our youth to the ideas of sustainability… It is about the ability to find tangible ways to relate complex concepts.  

Nina Prater and Ben Maddox took over the work of previous Energy Corps members to roll out a marketing campaign to increase recycling participation for the City of Fayetteville Solid Waste and Recycling Department.  Ben especially appreciated National Day of Service opportunities with fellow AmeriCorps members, such as the Mayor’s Day of Recognition for National Service activities with Energy Corps, Food Corps, Episcopal Service Corps, and VISTA members at three community garden sites.

Mayor's Day of Recognition 2013
Mayor’s Day of Recognition 2013

Ben wrote:
The Mayor’s Day of Recognition was a wonderful reminder of all the work that is being done here and of all the volunteers and service corps members who tirelessly work to make our community a better place.

Serving at the University of Arkansas Office for Sustainability (UAOFS), Mallory Nelson coordinated the UA participation in the Campus Conservation Nationals competition and is now working part-time with UAOFS.

Mallory wrote:
Through direct outreach and education, we managed to reduce a total of $6,205, which equates to 113,463 pounds of CO2.  Over 150 residents committed to at least one conservational behavior to achieve an overall decline in electrical usage.  Eighteen halls were involved in the competition, which is approximately 4,750 students.  That’s 24 pounds of CO2 emissions per student avoided in only 3 weeks. 

AREC Midterm Training at Ferncliff
AREC Midterm Training at Ferncliff

Kenny Lackey learned about implementing a garden plan and about alternative building while serving at the Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center.  Kenny has taken that experience to Waverly Farms in Locust Grove, Virginia to serve as their Farm Manager.

Jodi Nimmo has been working with the Illinois River Watershed Partnership and Beaver Watershed Alliance to install rain gardens throughout northwest Arkansas.  Elana Harrison helped the University of Arkansas Applied Sustainability Center hold the 2nd annual Sustainable Communities Leadership Summit this month, attended by officials and decision-makers from across the state.  Jodi and Elana will serve until the end of  April, 2014.

Service Day at Cobblestone Farm
Service Day at Cobblestone Farm

Program-wide, 6400 individuals across the country received environmental education from Energy Corps members during this last cohort.  The positive effects of their efforts will continue, in those communities and beyond, long after the members’ official service terms ended.

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