Iowa schools go green with new AmeriCorps program

The Winneshiek Energy District welcomes Carmen Finken from the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education to the monthly Energy Breakfast program scheduled for Tuesday, August 21. Finken oversees Sustainable Schools AmeriCorps, a new program that serves as a resource and catalyst to help Iowa school districts save energy, save money and engage students in building a more sustainable future.

She will present the program at the August breakfast, beginning at 7:30 a.m. at T-Bock’s Underground, downtown Decorah. Register to attend at

Sustainable Schools AmeriCorps works to reduce district-wide energy costs and assist teachers and staff in implementing environmental project-based learning initiatives by placing two AmeriCorps members in Iowa school districts to support the efficiency of facilities and integrate sustainability education into student experiences. In 2017-2018, the program supported AmeriCorps members serving as Sustainability Coordinators for five school districts including Waverly-Shell Rock, Dubuque Community, Holy Family Catholic Schools, Davis County and South Tama County. Finken will share examples of the impacts and initiatives of 2017-18 members and discuss the outlook for this program’s potential to support environmental initiatives in Iowa communities.

Sustainable Schools AmeriCorps is a program within the Green Iowa AmeriCorps program and based out of the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Environmental Education. The Green Iowa program also supports members across the state working as Land and Water Stewards and on Energy and Community teams. The Winneshiek Energy District will host a Green Iowa AmeriCorps Energy and Community team this fall for the ninth consecutive year. These teams perform over 100 home energy assessments each year, saving the average homeowner $100 annually on their utility bills, and contribute time and talent to innumerable events and partner organizations.

Energy Breakfasts are open to the public and are a program of the Winneshiek Energy District. Breakfasts occur every third Tuesday of the month. Those who wish to eat breakfast must register by Thursday, August 16 at or by calling Kristin at 563-382-4207, ext. 4. Attendees at large can register by Monday, August 20.

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