Keeping It Green at Oakton

Your source for the most current sustainability news from Oakton Community College

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Forest Preserve District of Cook County: Wealth of Opportunities

Oakton Community College’s campus are set within and adjacent to Forest Preserves in the District of Cook County.  From the Skokie Lagoons to the Kloempken Prairie, there are opportunities to access many of the sites for each of our students and community members. The organization is an important part of our community and of the greater goals of conservation, land management, and environmental education. We are privileged to have such a large network of natural landscapes in our region which include old oak forests, prairies, riverine ecosystems, wetlands, and so much more. These ecosystems and habitats are central to our understanding and conservation of the region’s natural history….plus, they provide countless opportunities for FUN in nature! Aside from the preserves themselves–the FPDCC is home to Brookfield Zoo (Chicago Zoological Society) and the Chicago Botanic Garden. Both of which offer their own educational, internship and job opportunities (more to come on those in separate posts!). As a District, they are committed to sustainability in daily practices and operations–and the concept is paramount to success.

The FPDCC provides amazing ways to get yourself started on a career in the environment and offers WEALTH of opportunities for you to enjoy natural spaces, volunteer in different preserves and with special projects, take part in their alternative spring breakintern with their staff or become employed! The FPDCC is currently looking for FPCC_Deputy Director of Resource Management_v1. Take a look and see what skills, experience, education and other requirements you need for a position such as this one. Then, start building your own career path by identifying opportunities that mirror those requested. Who knows, maybe you can be part of the future leadership of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County! In the meantime, make sure to visit online and in person to start your connection to our local lands today!


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Solar Energy Professionals–Certificate Program

Interested in enhancing your education from Oakton with professional training in Solar Energy Installation? Prepare yourself for this growing field! Now that solar prices are dropping consistently and becoming more affordable for businesses and residents, we are going to need skilled professionals who can maintain and service the installations. Get a head start on your future career by signing up! 

“The SEI Solar Professionals Certificate Program (SPCP) goes beyond a “certification test prep” format of training and takes participants to a higher level of educational experience to truly prepare them for the solar industry and a career.

The SEI SPCP is a selective admissions program to help ensure the success of our students and provide a highly trained workforce for the solar industry. To determine a candidate’s likelihood of program completion, alignment of career goals, and overall good fit for this professional training program, we require a certificate program application to be completed by every student candidate. This is required for any certificate path and acceptance into the overall program. Multiple Certificates can be earned by adding courses to your original Certificate Path.”

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Wilderness Inquiry: Internships, Jobs & Minor in Outdoor Recreation

Wilderness Inquiry, based out of Minnesota, has a great mission:

Welcome Everyone to the Outdoors

You can help them to achieve it by building your own experiences. Check out their amazing internships, paid positions, and even an opportunity to Minor in Outdoor Recreation.
Continue reading

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Positions Available–Field Museum, Urban Conservation

Internship Supervisor, Science Action Center
The Internship Supervisor will facilitate the Ford Environmental Leadership Internship, a summer internship for nine Chicago Public School students. The Internship Supervisor will work one day a week from mid February through the end of May to plan activities and coordinate logistics for the internship. From June through August 21, 2015 the Internship Supervisor will work five days a week (M-F) to implement the Ford Environmental Leadership Internship.
Community Environmental Engagement Coordinator
The Community Environmental Engagement Coordinator will be responsible for coordinating local environmental engagement efforts that advance the quality of life on Chicago’s South Side through community based sustainability efforts aimed at building connections between people and nature. The Coordinator will serve as a liaison between Chicago’s Pilsen/Little Village and Bronzeville community organizations, the Chicago Park District, and The Field Museum, specifically drawing connections among partner priorities and resources to increase community engagement in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor.
Calumet Outreach Coordinator
The Calumet Outreach Coordinator will promote land stewardship in the Calumet region of Illinois and Indiana in order to increase resident engagement with public and private lands. In coordination with Calumet partners, work to expand the number of active stewardship sites and number of community members involved in land stewardship. The Outreach Coordinator will also support Calumet events and youth programs.

Visit the Careers Page for full information and details on applying:


Margaret Burke Lee Science and Health Careers Center IS OPEN!


We are thrilled to announce that the new Margaret Burke Lee Science and Health Careers Center is open for students! Despite the weather, the new building creates a warm and welcoming space for students and faculty.

This video walk through showcases the lovely spaces, but the addition of furniture, artwork and (of course) PEOPLE makes it so much more vibrant. The Lee Center is now home to classrooms for our Science and Health courses and includes biology, chemistry and physics labs, faculty offices, student lounge areas and a state of the art simulation hospital. Keep an eye out in spring as we install our educational displays that highlight many of the great sustainability features of this building (for which we are expecting LEED Gold Level certification!). Some of the features include:

  • Radiant heating using a closed looped system,
  • Light meters and occupancy sensors which help to control how much artificial light is being used,
  • Energy wheel system in our lab spaces that reduce the need for standard HVAC equipment,
  • Construction and décor made from repurposed and recycled materials,
  • Locally sourced building materials,
  • High-efficiency elevator
  • Outdoor classroom,
  • Native landscaping featuring prairie plants which will provide usable habitat for local wildlife,
  • Bioswales in our specially designed and newly resurfaced parking lot to help manage stormwater runoff and…
  • A 23.6 kW photovoltaic array to produce solar power for the building. The array has been producing power in the building for several months. Its real-time energy production and the building’s energy usage can be viewed at any time via our Dashboard.

We cannot wait for you to visit, enjoy the natural light and beautiful views of the Des Plaines campus…and take a class or two!

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Institute of Environmental Sustainability–Internship in Urban Agriculture

Loyola University’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability is offering a paid internship in Urban Ecology! Apply by January 16.