Every week in the climate, science, social justice, and environmental spaces is as diverse as Uproot’s membership. Field Notes, our week-in-the-life blog posts, are snapshots of the varied experiences that make our community so vibrant.
Name: Iris M. Crawford
Location: New York City
Job description: Senior Communications Advisor, US EPA
Years of experience: 5, which includes journalism and communications
Social media handles: IG/Threads:@iris.m_crawford
One word to describe your week: Insightful
A Week in the Life
Mondays tend to have a lot of meetings. An important one is attending the Senior Staff meeting to understand what all of the program offices and divisions — Air and Radiation, Water, Superfund, and Emergency Management, among others — are currently working on. It’s also an opportunity to learn about what is coming down the pipeline from Headquarters in DC and to start thinking about what press releases, communication strategies, and other events will be happening that week and beyond.
I usually start my Tuesdays with early morning yoga. Myself and a few other colleagues are in the midst of planning two regional events. So, my Tuesdays can often look like figuring out all the pieces from both the EPA side and the community side. My role also involves working closely with the Public Affairs Office, and each week (when time permits), I will attend their social media meetings, which help me think from an outside perspective. I ask myself: what is the most relevant information that community-based organizations, everyday people, and other agencies need to know about EPA Region 2, and what is the best way to present that information? When time permits, I will also grab boba with a colleague, as that’s a good focus treat.
Today, I am coordinating a number of community pre-meetings to understand what their needs are and how the EPA would best be able to serve them. A big push under the BIL/IRA legislation is technical assistance, which will help communities write grant proposals, navigate federal systems, and understand grant management. In true journalistic fashion, I am, of course, always thinking about stories and pitches. For example, a few weeks ago, I was in the Caribbean to sit in on a few meetings with government officials and understand the environmental needs of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Croix. Traveling and attending events such as these help to reveal stories. Part of my role is to help build the storytelling capacity of Region 2. As I am still new in my role, I have just started to put together story pitches and speak with our various program office directors to get a deeper understanding of the work that is currently being advanced. This is also a day where I learn about upcoming events. Of course, if there is something BIL/IRA related, I would make plans to be there.
I start my Thursday with early morning yoga. Thursdays are also when my office (Office of the Regional Administrator) gets to report what we are working on. Today, I’ll be working on communications related to the IRA Community Change Grant Program, which directly funds environmental and climate justice activities and projects. While waiting on word from Headquarters, I’ll be looking through EPA resources to understand who in Region 2 needs to know about the program and the best way for them to engage.
Fridays are, thankfully, my lighter day of the week where I get to catch up on things! The federal office is usually pretty quiet, so most people (including myself) work from home.
Saturday and Sunday:
My weekends are usually the time to unplug and work on personal projects. These are the days I get to take long walks with my dog, do a day trip, or attend a show. Saturdays are for farmer’s market runs, thrifting, cooking yummy experimental meals, and sleeping in. Sundays are for spending time with my dad and movie nights with my girls on the West Coast.
From the Wild:
What do you never leave home without?
My hand sanitizer, lip balm, gum/cough drops, perfume and a book.
Hobby you keep thinking about but haven’t picked up yet?
Rollerskating. It’s a love/hate, on-and-off-again relationship.
Audiobook, ebook, hardback, or paperback?
Hardcover, because I’m a bougie-book-reader.
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