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Sustainability at EMCC

By Tracy Molina and Valeria Flores

At Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC), the sustainability team’s initiatives fall into two categories: president’s climate commitment to energy reduction, and sustainability tracking, assessment and rating analysis. The sustainability team frequently participates in student outreach and hosts educational events throughout the year.

Recently, its efforts have been focused on planning Campus Sustainability Day, a nationwide event under the theme of “Empowering Change on Campus and in The Community.” The event allows students and staff to educate themselves about sustainable options they can implement into their everyday lives.

It also participates in community events and projects, and partners with other community colleges to support the community. Collaboration with campus clubs and faculty helps amplify the efforts already being made by the team.

The sustainability team works closely with EMCC’s student Environmental Club to reach as many students as possible. The team is composed of various faculty members that can serve as advocates for sustainability. Nadine Scowden, who helped organize the sustainability team on the EMCC campus in 2008, and who has been the chair person ever since, said, “The team is always looking to encourage more participation in campus-wide sustainable efforts.”

On April 2014, for Earth Week, the sustainability team organized several events on campus that allowed students to learn about sustainability and animal habitats.

A presentation about birds of prey focused on birds that can be found in Arizona and the work of the Liberty Wildlife organization. Liberty Wildlife is a sanctuary that offers a home to birds that have been hurt in the wild. Many of the problems the birds face are manmade, like birds being electrocuted when flying into wires or getting run over by cars.

Once the birds are nursed back to health, they are set free. Liberty Wildlife takes in up to 4,000 injured animals a year. Sometimes, these animals are unable to return to the wild and instead are kept at the Liberty preserve.  These birds are then used for educational purposes, or become foster parents to other birds of the same species.

Sara Wyckoff has been volunteering for Liberty Wildlife for three and a half years. She first heard of this program at Arizona State University.

“If you don’t have a biology background, it is a great learning experience and it never hurts to find a volunteer job,” Wyckoff said.  She added, “You get to learn a lot about birds and how to train them.”

For more information on Liberty Wildlife, please visit
To find out more about EMCC’s sustainability team or how to get involved, please visit: