ECOSS is powered by a group of talented individuals working to bring sustainable solutions to all and making our world a cleaner and healthier place.
We are thankful for every person on our team and we’d like to shine the spotlight on the people behind ECOSS and the work we do. Instead of asking our staff for cliff notes of their life story, we asked them five questions (think “Inside the Actor’s Studio”).
First up, Courtney Maheras, Administrative Associate aka “Jill of All Trades”.
In one sentence, describe your work at ECOSS.
I work on Accounts Payable & Receivable, coordinate supplies, and generally help with whatever needs doing around the office.
What is your favorite noise or sound?
Ice cracking beneath my shoes in the winter!
What is your least favorite noise or sound?
Steely Dan. (Sorry, I understand that answer might be controversial.)
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A really good homemade chicken pot pie.
Do you have a sustainable solution you practice daily?
At our house, we’ve replaced clean-up sprays like 409 or bleach spray with a mixture of biodegradable castile soap, vinegar, and water. We’ve also switched from disposable cleaning wipes to rags saturated in castile soap and water. It’s much cheaper, we’re not exposing our skin to so many chemicals, and there’s nothing to throw away!
There’s only one place this weekend (August 15th and 16th) where you can watch traditional Filipino and Cambodian dancing, dragon boat races and Mexican wrestling-at the Water Festival in South Park! The festival is part of Duwamish Revealed, a summer long celebration of the Duwamish River.
ECOSS collaborated with Las Promotoras and the University of Washington Khmer Students to put together two colorful days of performance, art, food and activities showcasing the Latin America and Southeast Asia cultures.
The Water Festival is from 12-8 on Saturday and 12-6 on Sunday at Duwamish Waterway Park (7900 10th Ave S). For a complete schedule of events, visit:
If you’re feeling adventurous, paddle your way to the festival via boat or pedal your way on Sunday with the Cascade Bicycle Club. Join them for a leisurely ride from Jack Block Park to the festival. Along the way, you’ll stop and visit some of the other Duwamish Revealed art installations. Click here for more information about the ride.
The Water Festival is a one-time only weekend festival NOT to be missed, it will be a splash!
After 15 years at ECOSS and eight years at the helm, our Executive Director Kevin Burrell is leaving ECOSS to take on a
new adventure as Deputy Director of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development. As Kevin expressed the transition, “After a wonderful and inspired ride in the non-profit sector, I’ve decided to step down from my post at ECOSS and throw myself into public service. I leave with a warm heart, a lifetime of delightful memories, and confidence that the Board and staff will continue to do amazing things.”
The feeling is mutual—all the best, Kevin!
Board Chair Matt Woltman summed up Kevin’s contribution to ECOSS in his letter to ECOSS supporters:
Dear Friends of ECOSS,
It is with mixed emotions that I share the news that, after 15 years of dedicated service, our illustrious Executive Director, Kevin Burrell, is leaving ECOSS to take on a new adventure with the City of Seattle. Kevin’s new position will be Deputy Director at the Office of Economic Development, where he will be working to help support Seattle’s thriving businesses and grow economic opportunities within the Seattle area.
Many of you have worked with Kevin over the years, consulted with him on stormwater or other issues at your business, attended a workshop he organized, or negotiated contract details for one or more of your projects. At ECOSS since 2001, he started as a staff member with a strong geology background conducting outreach to businesses. Over time the work that he spearheaded expanded and so did his role with ECOSS—to Deputy Director under Charlie Cunniff, and eventually to Executive Director eight years ago. As ED he launched new programs and grew the organization’s staff base to 30 full and part time employees that speak 17 languages.
In addition to Kevin’s significant achievements with delivery of programs and growing the organization’s support, Kevin has also contributed the most in terms of putting his heart and soul into building the organization, pursuing the mission of ECOSS, being a catalyst in the community of South Park, and treating others with grace and respect—even under pressure. His diplomatic and public relation skills are legendary and will serve him well in the public sector.
As Board Chair, I have had the pleasure of working with Kevin for over 5 years and have been delighted and inspired by his work, vision and commitment to the organization. We are all very pleased that Kevin will put his talents to work in public service, and wish him well in his new adventures at the City of Seattle.We also want to thank him for his many years of dedication and commitment to ECOSS, and for building bridges with diverse businesses and communities. He leaves a solid foundation of talented staff, dedicated board, and well-established, comprehensive programs at ECOSS to carry on the mission.
Moving forward, the ECOSS Board and staff have started the significant task of finding a new ED for the organization. We have appointed Elizabeth Loudon as Interim ED until such time that a new ED is selected for ECOSS. Please direct future communications or questions to Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 767-0432 ext 1010.
Chair, Board of Directors,
ECOSS’ resident brownfields expert, Emery Bayley, recently had the whole office abuzz with an unlikely new piece of office décor: a soup can full of dirt. This was not just any can of dirt, but a creative brownfields clean-up solution from collaborative art trio SuttonBeresCuller. Doubling as an art piece and accompanied by a fun video, the cans (which are available for purchase) are filled with contaminated dirt from the site of a former gas station in Georgetown. The cans both remove dirt from the site as part of remediation efforts and raise awareness about SuttonBeresCuller’s community-enhancing vision.
Across from Boeing Field, the station stored fuel for Boeing during World War II. The gas station went out of business in the 1970s. The site has subsequently been home to a dry cleaners and other businesses. Since 2008, SuttonBeresCuller has worked with ECOSS, the King County Brownfields Program, and the EPA to conduct environmental assessments of the site. In 2013, they formed the nonprofit Mini Mart City Park, which purchased the site for remediation. This innovative project—which ultimately will transform the site into a pocket park, public sculpture, and community center—“blurs the lines between public art, architecture, environmental activism and green design,” as SuttonBeresCuller put it. The goal is to provide not only provide public green space to the community, but a potential new model for small site brownfield remediation. Get your can of dirt today while supplies last!
By Kate Gibson
by Ariel Williams
Ariel is currently is serving as an AmeriCorps member at ECOSS. This event was part of her “Greening South Park” project. For more information, contact email@example.com or call 206-767-0432.
The holidays are always hectic: with family, friends, and of course all of the new things people have given you—or you have given yourself! With technology getting more and more advanced in short periods of time, it is sometimes difficult to find the right place to put that old TV or cell phone. That got me thinking. Maybe we should have an electronics recycling event after the holidays so people have a place to take their old “toys.”
It is important to keep electronics out of landfills and off street corners. As electronics break down they release chemicals that are toxic to our environment. These chemicals can leech into and contaminate our waterways, which can lead to big issues in the future. This includes unhealthy fish and unsafe waters, meaning we couldn’t eat the fish or drink the water. That is why it is key to know what goes where, especially when it comes to old electronics.
I partnered with InterConnection.org, a nonprofit that specializes in electronic recycling and is certified as an environmentally responsible electronic recycler.They take the newer electronics and refurbish them and then sell the electronics at a discounted price to low-income individuals, nonprofit organizations, and schools. Some of the refurbished items get sent to other countries so they can have access to newer technology. The items they are not able to refurbish are guaranteed to be recycled responsibly in the US.
The event was featured in the Seattle Times, West Seattle Blog, Seattle.gov, King County E-Cycle program and more!
When the day came, the E-Cycling event was a huge hit! In three hours, we collected 4,679 pounds of electronics—that’s over two tons! I am ecstatic about the success of the event and hope to partner with InterConnection.org again to help keep electronics out of landfills. Special thanks to InterConection.org for helping us create such a great free event, and thanks to all the volunteers that helped move the donations from people’s cars and trucks.
For more information about recycling electronics, visit:
E-Cycle Washington http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa/eproductrecycle/
King County Take It Back Network http://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/takeitback/index.asp
Hazardous Waste Information http://www.lhwmp.org/home/hhw/disposal-locations.aspx
ECOSS’ spill kit program will be reaching out into new areas of King, Kitsap, and Snohomish counties thanks to a grant awarded by the Puget Sound Partnership’s Stewardship Program.
This means that eligible businesses across the Central Puget Sound area can get free starter kits, training, and plans to be ready to respond to spills of oil or other chemicals on site, and prevent pollution of storm drains and local bodies of water.
ECOSS and Seattle Public Utilities jointly developed the spill kit incentive program in 2004. In the nine years of this successful program, ECOSS staff members have served hundreds of small businesses that didn’t necessarily know what should go down the drain, where their drain leads to, and best practices to prevent pollution.
“Our program has been successful because businesses trust us, and we know what they need,” said Kevin Burrell, ECOSS’ executive director. “This grant is seed funding to develop an on-going program through public/private partnerships where more cities can have on-the-ground support with ECOSS’ help.”
ECOSS is forming partnerships with cities to identify priority areas, provide services on-site, and customize information to specific businesses’ needs. Through ECOSS’ trained multicultural outreach team, services are available in nine languages.
The Puget Sound Partnership is investing approximately $281,000 in federal funds during the next two years, with a 50 percent match from other sources. Through this funding, ECOSS plans to reach 2,500 businesses in the next two years.
The Puget Sound Partnership, a state agency, is leading the recovery of Puget Sound, and coordinates the efforts of citizens, governments, tribes, scientists, and businesses. The Partnership’s Stewardship Program identifies and evaluates model programs in the region and works to expand them to larger geographic areas.
For more information on the Puget Sound Partnership, visit www.psp.wa.gov. For more on ECOSS stormwater program, visit www.ecoss.org/stormwater.html, or contact John Loyd or Ann Boyce at ECOSS at 206.767.0432.