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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday, July 14, 2004


ERC relocates its office

Move expected to improve community involvement

Express Staff Writer

The Environmental Resource Center based in Ketchum recently moved its offices to a new location at 650 North Main St., between the Clarion Inn and the Rustic Moose. This new location is much more visible, accessible and will better enable the ERC to serve the community, ERC Development Director Vanessa Fry said.

The ERC’s previous location was designed for energy efficiency and to meet the needs of the environmental organizations it housed. The building changed ownership over a year ago. The former building’s owner and ERC founder, Thomas Hormel, who now lives in California was a longtime supporter of the ERC’s efforts to strengthen understanding, deepen awareness and promote sustainability through community-wide education, awareness and involvement. As such, the ERC has been one of the premier environmental organization in the Wood River Valley for over 10 years.

Hormel’s foundation, the Global Environmental Project Institute, was also located in the energy efficient building and was the primary benefactor of the ERC over the past decade. The foundation has since changed its philanthropic focus and 2004 marks the last year of support for the ERC and the last organization in the valley receiving GEPI support. Therefore, expect the ERC to begin appealing to the community to help bridge the $20,000 shortcoming later this year.

"It’s a fairly big chunk of money we’ll loose," ERC Executive Director Craig Berry said. "But it’s not a reflection of the work we’re doing but of the grant. We knew it was going to happen years ago. We’re very thankful for the support Hormel has given us over the years."

President of the ERC’s Board of Directors Kingsley Murphy said the board was excited by the move. "The ERC’s new site puts the organization in a better location to work directly with the community and continue building on its now long list of achievements," he said.

Since receiving its nonprofit status in 1993, the ERC has visibly grown in membership and community outreach. Currently there are 700 individual and family members and reaches more than 6,000 people annually through 165 different programs.

Some of the ERC’s accomplishments include increasing recycling in the Wood River Valley by 6.2 percent; slashing the waste produced at the valley’s summer events by 46 percent, and bringing plastic bottle recycling back to the valley.

It arranged for Ketchum’s first recycling drop-off center in five years and focuses 82 percent of each dollar spent directly on its service to the community.

The organization also launched the county’s first noxious weed control program using bugs instead of pesticides and local students to combat this threat, and created the Circle of Environmental Excellence and Leadership—a sustainable business forum with Wood River Rideshare—that encourages sustainable business practices. Since 2002, the ERC mobilized 663 volunteers to clean up over 41,000 pounds of litter, 226 tires, 21 appliances, and 38 car batteries during Clean Sweep Day in Sun Valley, Ketchum, Hailey and Bellevue.

As well, the ERC created an Environmental Education Outreach, and works with over 100 local businesses, nonprofit organizations and community groups to promote environmental awareness, education and participation. It also runs a weekly environmental column, Earthbeat, in the Idaho Mountain Express that informs the community about different environmental tips.

The ERC offers events and programs for children and adults with hands-on and compelling learning opportunities such as the ERC beaver walks, bugs & butterfly walks, river romps, peak of the month hikes and much more.


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