Super Hero on Staff!

Congratulations to ECOSS Community Outreach Associate, Sophorn Sim. She’s a finalist for Sustainable Seattle’s Sustainability Hero Award.

We are thrilled Sophorn’s commitment and energy to building resilient immigrant communities through environmental education and experiences are being recognized. Click to read more about her work.

This year’s award focuses on an individual who has built bridges or forged alliances with underrepresented members of our community.

The winner will be revealed on March 3rd at the Sustainability Leadership Awards Dinner and Fundraiser.

A Healthy Environment Speaks All Languages

Sophorn Sim’s living room was packed. Children sprawled out on the rug and every couch cushion and chair was filled as the group faced the projector screen. It read: “How many of you recycle more since the last presentation?” Sophorn translated in Cambodian, and more than half the room raised their hands.

Source: A Healthy Environment Speaks All Languages

ECOSS meets people where they are, in their language and sometimes in a staff member’s living room. Cecilia Garza with Social Venture Partners went inside the multicultural world of ECOSS outreach and shows how our staff is bridging knowledge and cultural gaps.




Your Support Bridges Gaps

Do you know the human impact your support of ECOSS has?

Allan arrived here after living in a plastic hut in a refugee camp in Nepal from the age of 2 to 18. He and his family, and thousands of others, were driven from Bhutan after the country implemented a “One Nation, One People” policy in the 1990s.


Generous donations made it possible for ECOSS to hire Allan. He helped design the New Arrivals program so we could better understand the refugee community’s interest in the environment, engage them on real issues and encourage them to experience, connect with, and enjoy their new home in Washington.

Your donations fuel outreach for other immigrant communities and promote environmental awareness and responsibility.

There’s never been a more urgent time to reach out and connect with other people – to help bridge gaps in language, culture, knowledge and experience –that is what ECOSS does best.

Thank you for your generosity and joining our work to connect with people and create a healthier environment for us all.


As Seen on TV!

Watch ECOSS’ Frances Kuo “making it rain” on KOMO News.

Frances used our watershed model to show how easily polluted runoff enters our lakes, rivers and Puget Sound. Rain gardens and cisterns are effective solutions to this pollution (and prevents flooding) by helping to filter and slow the flow of this runoff.

ECOSS is partnered with the RainWise rebate program that helps eligible homeowners pay for a beautiful rain garden or cistern on their property.


Building Environmental Equity

Ever moved to a new city and experienced how disorienting it can be?  Now imagine you’re in a new country with a new language and everything is different.

ECOSS’ New Arrivals Program helps immigrants and refugees bridge the knowledge and cultural gaps they face in their new home.

Bhutanese New Arrivals participants spoke with ECOSS’ Allan Kafley about seeing the source of their drinking water on a Cedar River Watershed tour.

By hiring within the communities we serve, we reach people in their own language,and in a culturally relevant way to introduce them to healthy fishing practices, water quality issues and how to be good stewards.

This program is generously supported by the Satterberg Foundation.

Summer Socializing

ECOSS hosted a summer social back in June at Pyramid Alehouse and Brewery.

There was a lot of talent and history in the room, including business members who’ve partnered with ECOSS since the early days and all three of our executive directors.

Current ECOSS Executive Director with the two former EDs

The ECOSS Executive Directors (from left to right): Kevin Burrell, second ED, Cluny McCaffrey, current ED & Charlie Cunniff, founding ED

Get social with us by signing up for our newsletter, making a donation or learning more about us.


GiveBIG 2016 was a great success for ECOSS. Through your generosity, we are thrilled to report:



  • We increased our 2016 GiveBIG donors     by 300%
  • Our donations tripled over last year’s GiveBIG
  • Together, we raised $4,545 dollars



The total amount will grow with the stretch donation from The Seattle Foundation and matching funds from donor employers including Anchor QEA and Boeing.

We greatly appreciate everyone who donated and helped us reach crush our goals. Together, we are helping communities and businesses make sustainable choices through needed tools and services.

We can’t do our work without you and appreciate your support. If you missed GiveBIG, it’s never too late to give.

New ECOSS Leadership

In case you missed our exciting news, we have a new executive director. Cluny McCaffrey is only the third executive director in our 23-year history and she recognizes the impact of her predecessors.


“Stepping into the role of ECOSS executive director, I am aware of the big shoes I have to fill,” said McCaffrey after sitting down with Charlie Cunniff, ECOSS’ first executive director and one of our founders (pictured above with Cluny).

There aren’t many people who don’t know (and love) Charlie. He built a solid foundation for this organization, which was then carried forward by Kevin Burrell. Kevin’s leadership further strengthened and expanded our services to diverse communities and businesses.

Today, as we look toward ECOSS’ future, the staff and board are committed to growing ECOSS, building and strengthening our programs, expanding our outreach into multicultural communities and engaging more people in our mission’s work.

Inside ECOSS: Courtney Maheras

ECOSS is powered by a group of talented individuals working to bring sustainable solutions to all and making our world a cleaner and healthier place.

We are thankful for every person on our team and we’d like to shine the spotlight on the people behind ECOSS and the work we do. Instead of asking our staff for cliff notes of their life story, we asked them five questions (think “Inside the Actor’s Studio”).

First up, Courtney Maheras, Administrative Associate aka “Jill of All Trades”.

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In one sentence, describe your work at ECOSS.

I work on Accounts Payable & Receivable, coordinate supplies, and generally help with whatever needs doing around the office.

What is your favorite noise or sound?  

 Ice cracking beneath my shoes in the winter!

What is your least favorite noise or sound? 

Steely Dan.  (Sorry, I understand that answer might be controversial.)

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?  

A really good homemade chicken pot pie.

Do you have a sustainable solution you practice daily? 

At our house, we’ve replaced clean-up sprays like 409 or bleach spray with a mixture of biodegradable castile soap, vinegar, and water.  We’ve also switched from disposable cleaning wipes to rags saturated in castile soap and water.  It’s much cheaper, we’re not exposing our skin to so many chemicals, and there’s nothing to throw away! 

Water Festival splashes down in South Park this weekend!

There’s only one place this weekend (August 15th and 16th) where you can watch traditional Filipino and Cambodian dancing, dragon boat races and Mexican wrestling-at the Water Festival in South Park! The festival is part of Duwamish Revealed, a summer long celebration of the Duwamish River.

ECOSS collaborated with Las Promotoras and the University of Washington Khmer Students to put together two colorful days of performance, art, food and activities showcasing the Latin America and Southeast Asia cultures.

The Water Festival is from 12-8 on Saturday and 12-6 on Sunday at Duwamish Waterway Park (7900 10th Ave S). For a complete schedule of events, visit:

If you’re feeling adventurous, paddle your way to the festival via boat or pedal your way on Sunday with the Cascade Bicycle Club. Join them for a leisurely ride from Jack Block Park to the festival. Along the way, you’ll stop and visit some of the other Duwamish Revealed art installations. Click here for more information about the ride.

The Water Festival is a one-time only weekend festival NOT to be missed, it will be a splash!