High energy bills? Green Iowa Americorps can help with that, and more
by Guest Blogger on Monday, January 31, 2022
A child holds out their hand, quickly takes it back, and after a little coaxing, holds it out once again for what’s to come – a red wiggler worm, the kind of worm that eats up apple cores and banana peels in a process called vermicomposting. Slowly, their nervous smile turns into a giggle as the worm squirms in their palm. Before you know it, they are diving into the compost bin in search of more wiggly worms to observe.
Providing this type of environmental education and outreach is a mission of Green Iowa AmeriCorps, which is operated out of the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Energy & Environmental Education (UNI CEEE).
Green Iowa AmeriCorps is running in its 13th year, and in just the past three years have led thousands of educational programs and presentations that have reached more than 15,000 Iowans, conducted 2,310 community outreach projects, and performed a total of 2,250 home energy performance audits.
Home Energy Performance Audits are always free to everyone and open to the public, and are a great tool to battle high energy bills and increase overall home comfort, winter or summer. Typically, these in person audits involve testing for air leaks using a blower door as seen at right.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, homeowners can currently receive an energy saver kit, allowing residents a contact-free option to receive a box to reduce energy consumption. Items included in the kit may include low-flow showerheads to reduce water usage and rope caulk to prevent airflow around windows and doors. Request your energy saver kit.
Additionally, our Energy & Community team provides energy education and energy saving services to community members.
Green Iowa AmeriCorps members staff two other teams, including Sustainable Schools. These coordinators assist school districts or colleges in creating climate action plans, in hopes to reduce energy usage, and even assist with the implementation of composting programs. They often host outdoor learning opportunities through gardening, work with teachers to create environmental lesson plans, and mentor young sustainability leaders.
Land & Water Stewards engage in environmental stewardship by assisting with conservation and sustainable agriculture projects, including rain garden installations, tree plantings, restoration of native habitat, as well as monitoring impaired waterways. These members also function as local champions for Good Neighbor Iowa, a UNI CEEE program that aims to protect child health by reducing unnecessary urban pesticide use.
For more information about the services Green Iowa AmeriCorps provides, visit the Green Iowa AmeriCorps website.
Do you know someone who might be interested in joining Green Iowa AmeriCorps? Opportunities include 11-month, 6-month, and 3-month positions. Hiring occurs on a rolling basis and benefits include a living stipend, healthcare coverage, federal loan deferment, training and certification, individualized professional development opportunities, and a Segal Education Award, which can be used to pay back past federal loans or fund future higher education expenses.
About the Author
Josie Flatgard serves as the marketing and communications coordinator for the Green Iowa AmeriCorps Land & Water Steward team at the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Energy & Environmental Education. Originally from eastern South Dakota, Josie is enjoying learning more about Iowa’s environmental landscape and being engaged in the local community.
- energy efficiency
- environmental justice
- member org