Get to know our staff below and who is truly behind Green Iowa AmeriCorps.
MEET OUR TEAM
Ashley Craft, CNP | Program Director
Ashley has been with Green Iowa and served as the Program Director since 2010. Her role mainly focuses on large scale program funding projects, grants, member training, and future planning of GIA.
One of Ashley's favorite memories is the 10 Year Anniversary, "To see members and alumni, program partners, and staff all come together to celebrate what a decade of service to Iowa has been felt really incredible. It was a great representation of how far the program has come and the impact it has made." Another gratifying part of Green Iowa for Ashley is seeing members transition into professional careers within this sector. Those moments always make her feel like Green Iowa is making a difference that is exponential.
Ashley became involved with AmeriCorps through serving as a VISTA and VISTA leader in Wyoming and Texas. She wanted to bring her take-a-ways back to her Iowa roots and make that same impact at home. The opportunity for this program to evolve, grow, and work alongside incredible staff has kept Ashley in Iowa for the last 9 years. She believes her role with Green Iowa truly is a dream job.
Carmen Finken | Sustainable Schools Program Manager
As the Sustainable Schools Program Director, Carmen works closely with members who are serving in the Sustainable Schools branch, as well as interested K-12 Iowa School Districts who are enthusiastic about adopting more environmentally-friendly, sustainable practices.
Her favorite experience with GIA was the ability to work with kids one-on-one and see their passions and interests in environmental stewardship grow. Throughout her time as a member, young children were very responsive to connecting with the outdoors and protecting our natural environment. Carmen wanted to follow that passion by placing AmeriCorps members directly into school districts. She is "so thankful to be able to offer this service to districts here in Iowa, as well as people who are passionate about environmental education."
Carmen first got involved with Green Iowa as a member over 5 years ago, and has states that "it was meant to be."
Lauren Johnson | Land & Water Stewards Program Manager
Lauren is the most recent addition to the Green Iowa team and is excited for her role with this organization. She is the Land & Water Stewards Program Manager, but also focuses on member experience and program evaluation. Regarding her role, Lauren has "loved being a resource for members and encouraging them in their service, professional development, and contributions to their team, host site, and local community."
So far, Lauren's favorite memory with Green Iowa has been the GIA 10-Year Anniversary. This was incredibly couraging for her to see the scope of the program and the impact Green Iowa has made in such a short amount of time.
Lauren heard about Green Iowa's program while studying her undergrad at the University of Northern Iowa. Carmen, the SS Program Director, told Lauren about AmeriCorps while serving as a member with GIA. After that, Lauren ran into other staff around campus and reconnected with them when her other AmeriCorps term was done. Lauren says that "it's been a joy ever since" stepping into her role in July.
Hannah Luce | GIA Program Assistant
Hannah is an undergraduate student at the University of Northern Iowa studying Leisure, Youth, and Human Services. As an assistant, Hannah helps around the office with whatever our program staff needs. Her role ranges from maintaining social media presence, organizing member paperwork, aiding with orientations or retreats, and compiling summer steward logistics.
She first became involved with Green Iowa AmeriCorps by serving as a Land and Water Steward at the Center for Energy and Environmental Education in the summer of 2019. During her service term, Hannah's favorite memory was planning the 10-Year Anniversary and seeing the impact of the event on members, agencies, and communities across the state.
She loves coming to work every day "being surrounded by strong, passionate, encouraging women who are invested in our Earth, our members, and our community."