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Apr 24, 2017 04:09PM

The Quad Cities Earth Coalition: New focus, new name, same passion

By Lindsay Hocker
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Attendees of the Quad Cities Earth Week Fair in 2012 sort litter from recycling at the Waste Commission of Scott County’s booth. The former Quad Cities Earth Week Coalition that hosted the event has rebranded itself as the Quad Cities Earth Coalition, and has revamped its mission.
The Quad Cities Earth Coalition is on a mission to help the environment as the community's go-to resource for stewardship opportunities and information.

Formerly called the Quad Cities Earth Week Coalition, the group transitioned and re-branded for a year-round focus, which included re-launching the website, qcearth.org, on Valentine's Day.

"It seemed fitting with our newly redefined purpose and re-branding — demonstrating our love for the earth and our natural resources year-round, not just one week a year," says coalition chair Robbin Dunn, who also is with the City of Davenport Public Works.

Group officers also include representatives from the Bi-State Regional Commission and Rock Island County Waste Management Agency (vice chair Laura Berkley; Rock Island County Soil & Water Conservation District (secretary Sarah Fitzgerald); and City of Davenport Parks and Recreation (treasurer Ryan Merritt).

The Coalition's mission is to help citizens understand their responsibility in creating a sustainable environment through environmental education and activities.

Its website is packed with information, including resources on energy, water, agriculture and food; contact information for organizations with volunteer opportunities; membership information and a calendar of activities going on throughout the area, from cleanups to educational events.

The group originally was developed in 2003 "to align and network environmental resources to educate the community about individual impact on the environment and sustainable choices," according to a news release.

The organization used to put together the Quad City Earth Week Fair. Dunn says at first, it was effective in raising awareness of environmental issues, but over the years, members found it less and less effective in connecting the community to experiences that make a difference for the environment.

"With our new purpose and website, we don't have to be confined to sharing these resources on a few days a year, rather we can share them year round," Dunn says. People are busier now than ever before, she says, and some might have missed out on the opportunity to attend the fair because of their schedules.

The purpose of the coalition now is to actively pursue, promote and provide resources relating to environmental stewardship; awareness of environmental issues; best management practices; and understanding of personal responsibility in creating a sustainable environment.

"Now, accessing information, resources and opportunities from multiple agencies is at the fingertips of those who are interested right from the comfort from home, school or work," Dunn says. "When individuals are ready to learn more or have a little extra time to take action on things they have been thinking about, it's all right there at our one-stop, regional environmental resource shop."

Dunn says that during the last decade, there has been an increasing number of resources with a growing focus on local resources and sustainability, versus previous concerns on the broader topic of caring about — and for — the Earth. These changes have helped people take action.

"With growth, we know more, too," including "how to be better stewards of our resources. Whether simple or complex, solutions are out there," she says. "It often all comes down to ensuring an informed citizenry who care enough to make a difference through the choices they make and the actions they take."

To become a member of the Quad Cities Earth Coalition, individuals and organizations must support the coalition's mission and complete a membership application.

Dunn says there are many local fun, enriching, hands-on learning experiences and opportunities that sustain our natural resources, and participating in them offers a great way to meet people while having fun.

While environmental problems can seem daunting, Dunn encourages people to jump in and get involved in whatever capacity they can, because even small actions make a positive difference for the environment.

"Don't be afraid to start small or simply, or if you only have time to make simple changes or take simple actions such as picking up a piece of litter," she says. "Feel pride no matter how big or small your contribution; collectively, all actions and environmentally positive choices do make a difference."
Lindsay Hocker is an occasional Radish contributor.

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