Volunteer Highlight: Sue Waits

  1. What is your favorite thing about JONAH? 

I love that JONAH sees an issue in the community and collaborates with a wide variety of people and organizations to understand the problem and move towards a solution. The wide variety of people involved makes JONAH unique. 

2. How did you get involved? 

I was overwhelmed with seeing overflowing trash cans and needless single-use plastic waste, so I attended my first Environmental Task Force (ETF) meeting at UU. I remember Kathy Campbell attending and talking about the landfill expansion and her concern for the surrounding neighborhood. Our discussions continued and now it is 5 years later. Change has been slow but it is moving in the right direction. 

3. What have you been involved in? 

The ETF has been through many changes as COVID made organizing difficult for the first year of my involvement. After COVID, the hiring of an Eau Claire County Recycling and Sustainability Coordinator created a bigger environmental focus in the EC Community. In honor of Earth Week 2023, the ETF collaborated with EC County and Beaver Creek Reserve to host an Earth Week Open House at the Brewing Projekt. We had over 35 vendors and 300 attendees all talking about environmental issues such as water quality, reusables, energy conservation and pesticide free lawns. It was a great opportunity to work with many different environmental organizations. 

No Mow May was another big project that involved many different organizations. Jane Mohler lead a team that really got the word out and continues to host events about the need to rethink the traditional lawn. 

4. Why do you stay involved? 

Enthusiasm and ideas of others who work on environmental issues keeps me motivated. Lynn and volunteers inspire me when I get frustrated with the slow rate of change. 

5. What are you looking forward to? 

This year the library has selected “Natures Best Hope” by Douglas Tallamy as the One Book, One Community read. In his book, Tallamy challenges the reader to rethink the traditional lawn and focus on native landscapes that more successfully support wildlife habitat. I look forward to community discussions about this book and action toward pesticide free lawns. 

In addition, the Interfaith Green Teams continue to evolve. It is great to see so many people get involved to take action within their faith community. 

6. What are your Hobbies/Activities? 

My hobbies are centered around gardening, outdoors and family. I am involved with Eau Claire Master Gardeners and enjoy working and learning about gardening. My husband and I recently purchased a small camper and enjoy getting outdoors with our 2 dogs. The Lake Superior

Northshore is one of our favorite local spots. We have 3 boys who are all in graduate school and we enjoy visiting them and watching them pursue their interests. 

7. What local businesses do you like to support? 

I am a regular at Downtown Farmers Market 

I love to visit The Refillery which is a waste free store in downtown EC as well as The Juggery in Chippewa Falls.