A mentor, by definition, is an experienced and trusted advisor. ECO Mentors serve a critical support role in members' service. They are volunteers who are ECO Alumni or predominantly employed at the Agency of Natural Resources and conservation themed non-profits throughout the state. Mentors help fill a very important role in service experiences. They provide networking and professional development guidance. Mentors are encouraged to augment the support provided by ECO Program Staff and Service Site Supervisors.
Meet some of our ECO Mentors:
Anne Bijur- Environmental Analyst, VT DEC Waste Management and Prevention Division
I majored in European studies in college but spent a lot of time working for the Outdoor Education Program and probably should have switched my major. After a stint as a ski instructor and elementary school teacher, I found my way to UVM and received an MS in Natural Resource Planning. I then worked for Shelburne Farms on different education for sustainability projects before moving to AllEarth Renewables to promote solar energy installations. I now work with a team to implement Vermont’s waste reduction, recycling, and composting initiatives. Always an educator, I am responsible for outreach about the Universal Recycling law with businesses, schools, and the general public. My focus areas are communications, media relations, food waste reduction and food donation. I love that my work helps to preserve the environment for this and future generations.
Elle O’Casey – Director of Communications and Outreach, VT Agency of Natural Resources
I found my way to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources by following my curiosity. Growing up next to a national park and surrounded by miles of state lands, I wanted to figure out ways the government could work with the public on land management issues in a more constructive way. I spent time during my undergrad and masters programs in California and Oregon studying federal land management policies. While in Thailand with the Peace Corps, I developed an interest in community-based land management after working with villagers on community forestry projects. When I returned to the US, I got an internship (which turned into a job) with the National Park Service in Vermont to develop and launch public outreach campaigns about America’s 100+ urban national parks. Today, I help ANR staff communicate science and environmental policies with Vermonters.
Emma Stuhl - Environmental Analyst, VT DEC Solid Waste Program’s Materials Management Section
I studied history and environmental science as an undergraduate and earned my Masters of Science from the University of Vermont’s Field Naturalist Program. I spent the four years in between schooling as an environmental and outdoor educator (and farmed a bit). I've also worked as an ecologist/data manager, special educator, researcher, and outfitter. In my current role, I work on outreach, communications, and analysis projects that aim to reduce and better manage Vermont’s waste. I love getting people excited to be more sustainable on personal and societal levels and connecting with a wide range of audiences.
Catie Bartone- Water Treatment Engineer, Weston & Sampson Engineers
I graduated from UVM in May of 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering. Upon graduation, I moved to NYC to work at a few environmental consulting firms for a year, then decided to move back up to Vermont in 2017 when I accepted a position at a small environmental engineering firm in Williston. I'm a 2018-2019 ECO AmeriCorps alum and served in a dual role with the Franklin Watershed Committee and the Northwest Regional Planning Commission as an Assistant Water Quality Program Coordinator. Upon completion of my service term, I accepted a position with the Vermont DEC’s Drinking Water & Groundwater Protection Division, where I worked for nearly 3 years, starting as the Lead in Schools & Childcares Drinking Water Program Coordinator, and then moving to the Division’s Engineering & Water Resources Section where I was a Division Engineer. During my time with the DEC, I was involved with DEC’s Environmental Justice Team and DEC’s Pulse Team, both of which I am very passionate about. Now, I work as a Water Treatment Engineer with Weston & Sampson Engineers. Once an ECO, always an ECO!
Focus areas: Drinking Water (Distribution, Treatment & Design), Wastewater (Industrial Pre-Treatment), Stormwater (Treatment & Design)
Maddie Cotter- Natural Resources Board Technician
I love living in Vermont! I moved here to go to college, and graduated from UVM in 2015. I joined ECO that fall and served two full terms, one with DEC and one with the Intervale Center. I enjoy cooking, baking, reading, hiking, and enjoying all Vermont has to offer.
Focus areas: Environmental regulation/permitting; Land Use development; water quality
Emily Markstein- Arborist and Founder of "No Hot Creek Mine"
I served with ECO AmeriCorps in 2016-2017 at the Montpelier Parks Department and then in 2017-2018 with the Intervale Conservation Nursery. After AmeriCorps, I have taken a more non- traditional route in the Environmental Field. I became an Assistant Arborist with the city of Burlington and then moved to a ski town in California where I still work as an arborist. I created a volunteer based action group, "No Hot Creek Mine", to stop an open pit mining from going into our local community. My time in AmeriCorps was amazing and gave me the skills to be able to start my own organization.
Focus areas: Arboriculture, Forestry, Climate Action