North Aurora resident Clair Ryan is Kane County’s new recycling coordinator, bringing with her a passion for the environment and her community.
Ryan officially began her position last month, following the departure of longtime Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland. Ryan said she is looking forward to making an impact for her fellow residents.
“As a citizen of Kane County, I have long been passionate about seeking to reduce my own family’s environmental footprint,” Ryan said. “I am really thrilled for the opportunity to work on such an important issue and to be able to provide service to my neighbors.”
Ryan previously worked as coordinator for the Midwest Invasive Plant Network, where she engaged in all aspects of the organization’s mission of reducing the impact of invasive plants in the Midwest.
One of her major initiatives there was securing funding for and administering a regional partnership project to increase awareness and create a clearinghouse of information on the impact and management of woody invasive species like common buckthorn and bush honeysuckles, both of which are widespread in Kane County.
She worked closely with the organization’s volunteer board to plan her work. She also worked with partner organizations to develop and host a biannual professional conference.
“In my past work as an environmental program coordinator for various non-profit organizations, I’ve learned to be adaptable and to work successfully with people from different backgrounds and perspectives,” Ryan said. “I’m looking forward to reaching out to our municipalities to see how we can continue to best support them in recycling and to hopefully expand curbside composting options in the county.”
Kane County Division of Environmental and Water Resources Director Jodie Wollnik thanked Jarland for her leadership the past decade, saying she established a solid foundation for Ryan to build upon.
“Jennifer Jarland has been a fixture in Kane County recycling for over a decade,” Wollnik said. “Her involvement on state and local boards placed Kane County on the map as a leader in the field and we wish her the best in her future endeavors.
“With the current challenges around recycling contamination and markets for recycled materials, along with the county’s sustainability and water quality goals, the Kane County Environmental and Water Resources Division is extremely excited to welcome Ms. Clair Ryan to the team.
“With her extensive knowledge as an environmental project coordinator and background, Ms. Ryan will be an integral member of the team as the recycling industry pivots towards reusing and repurposing goals as well the county’s implementation of sustainability projects and water quality goals critical in the coming decade.”
Ryan has a bachelor of science degree in Natural Resources from Cornell University and two master’s degrees in Environmental Science and Public Affairs from Indiana University in Bloomington, with a concentration in water resources management.
In addition to Ryan, current staff member Courtney Meyer will begin a new role as the department’s communication and outreach administrator for recycling and sustainability.
SOURCE: Kane County Government news release