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Ecology Center

Organization Location

Ann Arbor, Michigan


  • Tracey Easthope, Consultant
  • Michael Garfield, Director
  • Erica Bertram, Communications Director

Description of the Fellow’s Role

The Rackham Engagement Fellow will serve as a historian for the Ecology Center, including researching, writing, interviewing subjects and editing material for a website to support a major year-long celebration of the organization’s 50 years in the community. Founded after the first Earth Day  in 1970, the history of the Ecology Center mirrors the history of the modern environmental movement.

We are conceiving of our 50th anniversary as an opportunity for the organization to be forward looking, advance our mission, and project us into the next half century by deepening our engagement in the communities where we work, acknowledging and engaging partners, donors, and contributors, and expanding our activist and donor base.

By celebrating our history, we mean to share our values, inspire our members and the community, educate our current staff and board, instill a sense of identity and purpose, bind us together, draw lessons from past victories and challenges, put adversity into context, see our organization as part of a still unfolding story and part of something larger, and make us stronger and more grounded for the next 50 years.

History students at the University of Michigan have been working on this project for   a year, in conjunction with a larger project that’s researching the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, helping to develop the foundation of a website that includes photos, videos, interviews, and stories of the organization’s key activities, all in the context of broader social movements. The Rackham Fellow would continue this work, and support plans to hold commemorative events in 2020 that are still under development.

Time commitment and stipend (ex, schedule and payment)

  • 3 days per week, May – August (14 weeks)
  • Stipend: $5,880

About the Ecology Center

Founded in 1970, the Ecology Center is organized for one purpose—to develop innovative solutions for healthy people and a healthy planet. Among its accomplishments, the Ecology Center established Michigan’s first recycling program; led a statewide campaign that closed all of Michigan’s 157 medical waste incinerators; led organizing efforts that created the Midwest’s largest locally-funded land preservation programs; created the country’s premier source of information about toxic chemicals in consumer products; and much more.

We believe that the central question of our time is how human beings are going to thrive in the world without destroying the earth’s ability to sustain us. In the face of enormous environmental challenges, virtually all sectors of our society are now scrambling to create solutions, and the Ecology Center plays a critical role in advancing the best models.

To do that, we do the following:

  • We educate consumers to help keep their families healthy and safe.
  • We push corporations to use clean energy, make safe products, and provide healthy food.
  • We provide people with innovative services that promote healthy people and a healthy planet.
  • We work with policymakers to establish laws that protect communities and the environment.

Today, the Ecology Center runs campaigns and programs in four areas— Climate Action and Clean Energy; Safer Chemicals and a Healthy Environment; Sustainable Food and a Healthy Environment; Recycling and Zero Waste.

Visit the Ecology Center Website