Environmental Careers and Opportunities
What is it?
ECO AmeriCorps is a service corps created by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation to place members at service sites dedicated to clean water and universal recycling.
ECO Vermont members are placed at local service sites throughout Vermont implementing strategies to protect and improve water quality and reduce waste.
This program provides participants an opportunity to shape a lifelong career in environmental conservation, while immediately placing feet on the ground in a fight for Vermont’s environment.
Why water quality?
New guidelines around excessive phosphorus and other nutrient levels in the Lake Champlain Basin and other bodies of water means careful vigilance and the employment of best practices to reduce nutrient pollution at the source. Lake Champlain is a major economic driver for tourism and recreation and provides drinking water for 200,000 people living near it. Phosphorus and other pollutants are entering Lake Champlain via streams and rivers resulting in ecosystem degradation, drinking water threats, and recreational impacts. Toxic algae blooms could have serious public health consequences. Heightening awareness and concentrating efforts to mitigate the run-off will meet the ultimate goal of improving and maintaining water quality in Lake Champlain and continuing the high quality of life all Vermonters value
Why Universal Recycling?
It’s estimated that more than half of the materials we throw away could be recycled or composted, leaving our recycling goals unmet and wasting natural resources and contributing to climate change. New guidelines require recycling and bans the disposal of leaf and yard debris, clean wood, and food scraps by 2020. The increased capture of recyclable materials and a variety of meaningful alternatives for uneaten food and food scraps find value in materials previously considered waste, conserving resources and saving energy. Assisting solid waste facilities and haulers to increase their capacity for collection of recyclables and organic materials, and educating residents and businesses on the law, are vital steps towards successful implementation of Universal Recycling in Vermont.
Where do members serve?
ECO AmeriCorps partners with local municipalities, conservation districts, solid waste management districts, and non-profit organizations on current efforts to monitor water quality, implement projects, provide outreach and education, and plan future interventions. Activities upstream could carry the most impact. Service sites provide office space, access to office equipment, regular supervision, and have flexibility around ECO Vermont training and retreat days. Service sites pay a cash match of $6,500 for a full-time member.
What kinds of projects do members do?
Water Quality projects include:
- building green infrastructure
- restoring ecosystems
- outreach and education to farmers and other Vermonters
- project planning
Universal Recycling projects include:
- outreach and education to residents, businesses, facilities and haulers about Universal Recycling requirements and how to recycle right, save money by not wasting food, donate quality food for people in need, and how to compost
- data collection and surveys
If your town needs help accomplishing a conservation or ecosystem restoration project, we want to hear from you!
Can I be a member?
Yes! Check out our Prospective Members page for more information.
We are looking for independent self-starters who are passionate about the environment. All are welcome to apply, but priority may be given to those with degrees in the natural or agricultural sciences, environmental studies, engineering, or government/policy, or who possess skills demonstrated in project coordination, volunteer management, communications, and/or mapping.
If I am mid-career or retired, could I still apply to be a member?
Yes. ECO AmeriCorps is not restricted to just young college graduates and provides valuable training opportunities and experiences for all its members.
Are you only focusing on Lake Champlain?
No. We recognize that there are serious impacts to many different bodies of water, not just Lake Champlain. If you are interested in finding out more about being a service site, please contact us.
This is an exciting time for water quality! For more information about becoming a host site, applying to be a member or general questions about the program, please contact: