The ERC is a small, community-based non-profit with a big impact. Since 1993, the ERC has provided year-round, experiential outreach programs that educate and activate the community to become better stewards of the natural world. Focusing on five focus areas, as highlighted below, the ERC is committed to creating a healthier community and environment - the environment upon which our valley's health, well-being, and economy directly depend.
Youth Education: the ERC provides in-school and afterschool programs for all of our local public and private schools; overnight summer camps; and programs for community partners such as our local hunger coalition and public libraries. We reach children grades pre-k to 12th grade and most of our programs are offered free of charge.
In 2016, we conducted more than 40 youth-focused programs (10 more than last year!) and hired a full-time Program Director.
In 2017, we will create more opportunities for youth to participate in project and service-based learning. We will also incorporate two "counselor-in-training" positions at EcoCamp for local high school students.
Pesticide Action: this program is working to reduce the use of pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers in the Wood River Valley. The ERC, in collaboration with other non-profits, governmental agencies, schools, and businesses, built and maintains an insectary that houses Spotted Knapweed-eating insects; is involved in monitoring local weed populations and documenting the effects of various non-chemical weed controls; and advocates and provides free resources for the adoption of Integrated Pest Management practices.
In 2016, we co-hosted a spring weed workshop focused on chemical alternatives for noxious weed control and hired two interns to assist in maintaining the insectary and collecting and mapping data on the effects of non-chemical weed control throughout the valley.
In 2017, we will launch the ERC's "Green Landscaping Directory" and hire two summer interns to continue and build on 2016 summer work.
Recycling Outreach and Action: the ERC works with Blaine County’s recycling program, 5B Recycles, to facilitate recycling at large and small events; offers a collection site for some recyclables; and provides engaging outreach that educates the community about recycling practices and also how to reduce our overall waste.
In 2016, we facilitated and provided recycling bins to 40 community events (22 more than last year!) and partnered with the City of Ketchum and Blaine County on recycling initiatives.
In 2017, we will create volunteer teams to provide on-the-ground education on best recycling practices at events and replace old recycling bins and add new bins to better meet event needs.
PUP (Pick Up for the Planet): since 2005, the ERC, in collaboration with government agencies and other user groups, has been involved with dog waste pick up at trailheads throughout the valley. Our PUP program offers educational signage, dog waste bags, and bin servicing provided at no charge to the community, with the goal of lessening the aesthetic, environmental and health impacts of unattended dog waste at trailheads.
In 2016, we provided weekly maintenance and supplied free dog waste bags to 16 trailheads valley-wide and diverted 250 33-gallon bags of dog waste from trailheads (50 more bags than last year!).
In 2017, we will sponsor and replace old plastic PUP bins with new, efficient metal bins at six locations and conduct trailhead cleanup efforts and map unattended dog waste to identify areas of further need.
Connecting People to Nature: the ERC offers nature programs - such as winter tracking workshops, birding walks and book discussion courses – that help residents and visitors develop a deeper sense of place and provide a venue for conversation on important environmental issues.
In 2016, we conducted 40+ community outreach programs (20 more than last year!) and led a five-month Environmental Book Series program at The Community Library.
In 2017, we will conduct more varied programs and workshops that offer creative solutions to common challenges and expand the Environmental Book Series to include a Hailey location.