Dave Eckert has been a strong advocate for water-related issues since 1990. A volunteer with the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition since 2007, he has been the Water Action Team leader since the team’s founding in 2009. Dave and the Water Action Team were the recipients of the first Benton County Environmental Award in 2013.
Dave, what in your background led you to be interested in volunteering with the Sustainability Coalition?
In addition to being married to Annette Mills for close to 4 decades, it was my 18 years of volunteering with the Village Preservation and Improvement Society in Falls Church, Virginia. There I honed my skills and experience working on the urban environment regeneration through planting native plants, regenerating life to our urban creeks and creating events to help people improve the biodiversity and sustainability of our built environment. It was there that I also learned how to help the community recognize and take action to engage and empower the minority ethnic population into the community decision-making process.
When and why did you decide to volunteer with the Coalition?
I already had close to two decades of experience in community advocacy and action for urban water issues and I thought I could apply that experience well in Corvallis. The water issues in urban Virginia are essentially similar to those in Corvallis. The transition was easy.
What do you feel is the impact of your volunteer work on the community?
There is now a much greater awareness in the community that we have existing urban streams that have the capacity to support life. The community is also much more aware of the locations of our buried creeks and the impacts they can have on buildings and properties. There is also a much greater understanding of the impacts of local, native plants in our yards and on public lands. And there are more native plant communities now growing in Corvallis than there were 10 years ago. Finally, there is greater understanding and use of rainwater harvesting, greywater recycling and raingardens to conserve our precious treated tapwater and reduce the discharge into our local creeks and rivers.
What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your volunteer work?
I want to have the government and the general public place the regeneration of life and healthy waters as a top priority; have our parks, public areas and private yards filled with the native plants that belong and self-sustain in the Mid-Willamette Valley; and to have every property (especially government/school properties) develop rainwater harvesting, greywater re-use and bioremediation raingardens to allow us to have a sustainable water supply for our children.
Is there a special project or event that comes to mind when you think of your work with the Coalition?
The Three Waters Project at the South Co-op is the most visible project that I have managed for the Coalition and it may have had the most influence on the most people. Prior to that, there was no local place that people could go to see examples of rainwater harvesting, rain-gardens, greywater re-use, permeable pavers and living walls.
What has been the most fulfilling aspect of your work with the Coalition?
The strong support network the Coalition supplies for well-developed projects and programs tops the list.
Thank you, Dave, for your many contributions to the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and to the community!
Volunteer Spotlight recognizes the contributions of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition’s longstanding volunteer leaders. There are many ways you can help. Learn more about our projects and events, see our current volunteer opportunities and sign up to volunteer!