Green Iowa AmeriCorps
By Dina Haveric
Green Iowa AmeriCorps, founded in 2009, is a state-wide community service program operating out of the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education. GIA members are partnered with host sites to serve Iowa communities through one of three branches: Energy and Community; Sustainable Schools; and Land and Water Stewards.
As a Green Iowa AmeriCorps member, I am serving in the Land and Water Stewards branch as Marketing and Communications Support Coordinator at my host site, Trees Forever. What I love most about this position is that every day looks a little bit different. A majority of my day-to-day work consists of creating promotional materials for upcoming events, putting together educational resources and lesson plans, and updating the Trees Forever website. Through this work, I have expanded my knowledge on marketing strategy, website design, and digital literacy.
When I’m not in the office, I am able to take part in boots-on-the-ground work like tree plantings, prescribed burns, and clean-up efforts. These experiences have equipped me with stronger tree and plant identification abilities, critical thinking skills, and collaboration fluencies.
I have also had the wonderful opportunity of meeting and connecting with many like-minded and inspirational members of my community throughout my service term. Additionally, I have been able to collaborate with other AmeriCorps members in the area to on environmental projects and education initiatives.
The most rewarding part of the entire experience, however, is the fact that I am fortunate enough to engage in environmental stewardship that positively impacts and engages my community. Green Iowa AmeriCorps is a wonderful way to take part in something bigger than yourself, and I encourage everyone to take part in such an experience.
Energy and Community
The Green Iowa AmeriCorps program was originally founded to address sustainable energy usage in Iowa communities following the destructive floods of 2008. This led to the creation of the Energy and Community branch, the longest standing branch in the GIA program. Members who serve in the Energy and Community branch receive training to perform free energy audit services to Iowa residents in an effort to asses the variety of factors that feed into a home’s monthly energy bill. Members of this branch are also tasked with creating education programs, executing community-service projects, and hosting events that engage, inspire, and educate community members on environmental and conservation topics.
The Sustainable Schools branch, operational since 2017, serves as a resource for Iowa school districts, cities, solid waste agencies, and community colleges to build a more conservation-minded and conscious future. Members of Sustainable Schools serve in pairs as Sustainability Coordinators to engage students, staff, and the community in environmental education initiatives, service projects, and energy cost reduction.
Land and Water Stewards
The Land and Water Stewards branch began operating in 2017, alongside the Sustainable School branch, in an effort to revive Iowa’s ecosystems and improve water quality throughout the state. Members who serve in the Land and Water Stewards branch receive training to become Local Champions for the Good Neighbor Iowa program and complete a Save Our Streams certification through the Izaak Walton League of America. The Land and Water Stewards track is focused on the improvement of Iowa’s ecological resources through community engagement, education, and direct-service.
Interested in becoming a Green Iowa AmeriCorps Member?
Visit https://www.greeniowaamericorps.org/open-positions for more information!