Green Tour Volunteer Spotlight: Kerie Raymond

Our annual Green Tour highlights innovation in sustainable design while still demonstrating how everyday people can save energy at home and at work. Kerie Raymond, a naturopathic Doctor at Hawthorne Healing Arts Center, has volunteered during this event for the past five years! Kerie has personal interests that align with the Green Tour, including energy efficiency and reducing her carbon footprint. Kerie has seen the event grow beyond residential homes and new construction to more businesses and retrofits, and enjoys seeing guests learn what they can apply to their homes.

While volunteering, Kerie reflected on gaining a lot of time with different people, including builders, home and business owners, and community members. Kerie appreciates the opportunity to increase her knowledge and to be able to spread her experiences beyond the Green Tour to inspire Central Oregonians to make a change under their own roofs.

“The Green Tour is a part of the environmental influence that makes Bend, Bend,” Kerie shared.

Green Tour volunteers greet guests as they arrive at each home of the Tour, help collect information, and answer questions. Whether you’re brand new or have worked in the energy efficiency industry for decades, it’s a great way to build your network and learn what steps people in our community are taking to save energy and go solar. This year, we’re excited to showcase residential retrofits, commercial sites, irrigation systems, and electric vehicles.

Everyone is encouraged to volunteer, even if you’re completely new to energy efficiency, although most volunteers join to share their personal interests. Sign up for your shift here!

Outdoor School Days Conclude and Interns Shine!

Our Outdoor School Days program is possible with sponsorship from The Children’s Forest of Central Oregon. Over the course of 15 days, we saw 17 schools from Bend-La Pine, Redmond, and Prineville in grades K-5, which translates to over 1,100 students! Outdoor Days are experiential based hands-on learning, playing, and exploring in nature. Some students experienced the beautiful landscape of Smith Rock on the hotter days of early May, others enjoyed the rushing waters and open green spaces at Tumalo State Park, and the final four groups of students explored the wonderful learning spaces at Skyliner Lodge. Although the rains have been a downer on many of our Central Oregon planned adventures, we were lucky enough to have only one truly wet day, and even so, students had a ball splashing around and finding new ways to stay dry.

Thank you to The Children’s Forest of Central Oregon and our interns for making our Outdoor School Days happen. Teacher feedback is a great way to measure our effectiveness and their insight is always beneficial. Some said:

“Our favorite part was that our kids were learning outside!”

“We enjoyed the hands on activities for the kids. Appropriate information for kindergarten. Fun and friendly staff. Well organized. Patient staff with 5 & 6 year olds.”

“A great balance of direct instruction and games. I appreciated the staff’s flexibility with students that have behavior challenges and rolling with it!”

We couldn’t have put on these Outdoor School Days without our fabulous interns, though. They truly made learning special and unique and came with high spirits on a daily basis. Thanks to Ellysa, Hill, and Sherry, our outdoor days were fun and engaging!

Here is a bit more about all three of them as they wrap up working with us for the spring:

Hill Mannis is new to Bend and has a background working at a summer camp in New York. His presence truly made students feel welcome and his fun-loving attitude made it easy for students to connect with nature and with one another. Students enjoyed playing games, learning new vocabulary, and having one-on-one conversations with Hill. He engaged so many students in various ways, which is a wonderful natural trait!

Sherry Sellars has volunteered with The Environmental Center’s youth education programs before and truly loves being able to use her experience in outdoor education and providing students a fun, safe, and engaging learning environment. You can catch Sherry singing songs, teaching movements and dances, and incorporating funny words to her lessons in order for students to learn and explore!

Ellysa Lindenmaier is an OSU Student in the Nature, Eco, Adventure Tourism Program. She is a native Bendite and has a passion for being outdoors and a deep knowledge of our natural areas. Ellysa is an expert at connecting learning with games and hands-on activities so students loved all the tricks up her sleeve. She’s a natural fit for teaching students in the outdoors and leaves every day with a smile and a funny story!

Hill in his natural teaching environment!
“I love working outdoors and introducing kids to the beauty of nature. I know what it’s like to be in a classroom all day teaching. The best part is teaching kids who normally don’t get a chance to get outside.” -Sherry








“After working with Outdoor School, I’ve discovered that I love teaching environmental education and providing children with opportunities to learn about the natural world. It’s inspiring to see how one day outside can spark students’ curiosity and compassion for the outdoors. I believe that through the connections I made with the students, I taught them as much as they taught me.”

Green Spotlight: Kersey Marion

With donor support, The Environmental Center accomplishes a lot with a relatively small team of staff, Board of Directors, and several amazing volunteers and interns. And we consider ourselves very lucky that Kersey Marion has committed so much time and energy to make our work possible! Kersey has helped out in several programs and continues to find new ways to lend a hand and stay connected to our work, whether she’s digging in our Learning Garden or organizing the Earth Day Parade. She has a positive attitude, unwavering enthusiasm, and a leadership presence that is both inspiring and appreciated here at TEC. Kersey creates space each week to check in with our team to see what can be done to make an impact around here. Right now, she is providing marketing support around our Energy Challenge program while Lindsey is on maternity leave. What a difference this makes!

We’re so impressed with Kersey’s participation in our local community – in addition to her role at Commute Options, she also serves on the Board of Oregon Green Schools and supports several other local organizations and events. We are very grateful to see Kersey not only involved in our mission, but as a deeply engaged community member who is making Central Oregon a better place to live, work, and play.

Thank you so much for all you do, Kersey! 

In her words…

Kersey and her pup, Glory.

The Environmental Center is where community and advocacy meet in beautiful harmony. It’s a place to learn about our living environment and how we can better support it. It brings people together to explore in the dirt and clean up our trash. Most of all, I volunteer with The Environmental Center because of the supportive and passionate staff. Being of service is a value I hold high and the people at TEC allow me to embrace that while making sure that I’m learning along the way. What they do for our community has endless importance and I am always happy to make their jobs a little easier.

Currently, I am the Walking School Bus and Volunteer Coordinator for Commute Options. The program provides a service to students in the Central Oregon region who have culture and infrastructure barriers, making it difficult for them to have access to walking to school. The Walking School Bus program employs adults to lead groups of students to and from school on planned routes. As the Volunteer Coordinator, I have the opportunity to work with community members who want to lend a hand.

If you were to share a lecture on one topic you’re passionate about, what would you discuss?

I would share the importance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion trainings for our community, both for our work and personal environments. No matter where you live, there are people from different socioeconomic classes, races, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations, to name a few. We need to do the work in order to gain the necessary skills to know that we are inviting everyone and implementing inclusive practices every day.

Where would you most like to go in the world that you haven’t visited yet?

My next travel adventure will hopefully be to Italy with my mom. She has lived in Florida her entire life and has always wanted to wander around the art museums and eat all of the delicious food in Italy. It would be such a privilege to be the one who accompanies her to her favorite place that she’s never been to.

What’s your favorite sustainable practice at home?

Composting! Turning our food scraps, yard clippings and cardboard boxes into nutrient filled soil for our garden is a blast. We have our own science experiment growing in our yard. For me, it’s a way to reconnect to the Earth and contribute to our food system. 

We need YOU to help our LED program a success

Calling all Energy Heroes in Redmond and Bend! 



You may have heard that we have some very exciting news for 2017 –we have our expanded our free LED light bulb installation program to serve Redmond and Tumalo!

We have already reached 2,400 homes in Bend and our goal is to reach another 600 homes in the next 6 months. To put that in perspective, that would help save another ~$60,000 annually in energy costs.

To reach 600 homes, we need 600 people to sign up for LEDs. That’s A LOT of people. Right now, our biggest obstacle is getting the word out and getting people to sign up. If our costs get too high to market this program, we may not be able to sustain it.

This is where YOU can play a vital role in helping people save energy—letting them know that this amazing opportunity exists. 

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