ECO Ambassadors are notable alumni of the ECO AmeriCorps program who believe in our mission and role in striving toward a better Vermont. An ECO ambassador is one who found both joy and success during their time serving. They make it a priority to aide current members in their positions and bolster the continuation of positive experience in and after ECO.
ECO AmeriCorps 2018-2019
Catie Bartone received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering with a concentration in Water Resources and a minor in Environmental Studies in 2016. Catie worked for a few small environmental engineering firms in New York and Vermont before finding ECO AmeriCorps in 2018.
Catie served as an ECO AmeriCorps member during the 2018-2019 service year as the Assistant Water Quality Program Coordinator for the Franklin Watershed Committee and the Northwest Regional Planning Commission. Catie worked on water quality challenges in Lake Carmi, Vermont’s “Lake in Crisis”. Catie served on a high-profile aeration bid committee to select an $1.2M aeration system fit to assist the lake in combatting the widespread cyanobacteria blooms during the summers. EverBlue Lakes, a small firm in Michigan, was selected to implement this aeration system, one of the largest aeration systems in the country to date.
Catie witnessed community conflict, resolution, and collaboration between state agency partners and community members throughout her year with ECO AmeriCorps.
Catie was inspired by her time at ECO AmeriCorps to work for the Department of Environmental Conservation to continue this collaborative work between state agency partners and the community.
Catie took on a role with the Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division in August 2019 to implement the most stringent standard of lead in drinking water in schools and childcares in the country, Act 66 of 2019. Catie serves as an environmental analyst under the Compliance and Support Services Section, as well as the technical assistance provider for the remediation of lead in schools and childcares program, in addition to serving as a liaison between the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, the Vermont Department of Health, and the Vermont Department of Education. Catie is also active within the Department’s Environmental Justice Team, serving on the team as well as on the Internal Engagement Committee.
Catie credits ECO AmeriCorps for giving her a perspective outside of her strict STEM background, furthering her career and network, providing resources for her to succeed, and pushing her outside her comfort zone into infinite growth, and wants to return the favor and further the mission of ECO AmeriCorps as an ambassador.
Christopher A. Gaynor, PSM - aka “Gaynor”
ECO AmeriCorps 2018-2019
Gaynor is a former Vermont-based ECO AmeriCorp member, continuing to serve as an environmental and social justice advocate for New England and the Northeast. By being involved in grassroots organizing, he focused on bringing awareness to the parallels between community and global issues. Being of Jamaican and European ancestry, he finds that the lens of a mixed-race experience enhances his appreciation for diverse cultural perspectives. Unable to neatly fall into any given category, he prides himself in being able to integrate through emotional, human connection.
Gaynor received his undergraduate degree in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from the University of Florida. With this technical expertise and a desire to further understand the interconnections of nature to our rapidly growing society, Gaynor applied and was selected to serve in Tanzania as a Crop Extension Volunteer in the Peace Corps. He had the privilege to live in a rural village and appreciate the value of relationship with the land. He came to recognize that as climate change causes more extreme conditions, unsupported individuals will be displaced, isolated, and even radicalized; forced to seek unconventional measures to be seen or heard on whatever available platform. It was while serving in the Peace Corps that Gaynor came to fully appreciate the value of community.
These experiences motivated Gaynor to pursue a Master's in Sustainable Development and Climate Change at Antioch University New England, where he once co-led the Citizen Climate Lobby Chapter, promoting carbon pricing and a just transition within the energy sector. Gaynor continued to participate in the local communities of Southeastern Vermont as an AmeriCorps member, serving as a Water Quality Planning Associate and a Restorative Justice Diversionary Panelist. It was through this time with AmeriCorps that Gaynor started to bring those lived experiences and values into a space where he was able to grow in continuing to understand the interconnected workings of community, people, and the environment. After living in both communities abroad and domestic – serving communities of varying affluence – in becoming an AmeriCorps member, he started to question what underlying conditions led to the disenfranchisement of communities and what part we truly play in implementing effective, positive change.
Contact: email@example.com / (c:) (954) 851-3770