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Iowa State University Extension

New ISU Extension specialist helps Fairfield ‘go green’

Scott Timm

Monteverde, Costa Rica, and Fairfield, Iowa, really aren’t that different, according to Scott Timm. Both places have a bicultural feel and a strong interest in sustainability. Knowing he could think globally and act locally from any location, Timm, the former director of an environmentally focused Costa Rican school, came to Iowa. He’s the new ISU Extension program specialist who is helping move Fairfield’s Go Green strategic plan from concept to reality.

A Minnesota native with Iowa family ties, Timm was looking to return to the United States when friends in Costa Rica told him to check out Fairfield. A Google search led him to the city’s Web site and a job description that seemed a perfect fit.

Timm was introduced to Fairfield at a Beach Boys concert on Labor Day—not a typical first day on the job, but then, it’s not a typical job, and Fairfield, home to the Maharishi University of Management and known as progressive, isn’t a typical community.

“I’ve jumped into my dream job,” Timm said, as he described his new position encouraging and facilitating community sustainability programs — initially in Fairfield but expanding to southeast Iowa. Timm’s position is funded primarily by an Iowa Power Fund Grant that the city received from the Iowa Office of Energy Independence. Additional support comes from private contributions, Fairfield and ISU Extension.

“There’s a real strong buzz in town, in Extension and at ISU on sustainability,” he said, and that’s what appeals to him about carrying out the goals of the Go Green plan. “It already has the buy-in from all the key people in town. It’s a broad plan with lofty goals, but people are excited about rolling up their sleeves and getting to work.”

Those lofty goals include creating and maintaining the sustainability culture; creating jobs, wealth and opportunities for investment with sustainable development; and achieving sustainable community design, public policy and infrastructure. It’s his job to bring people together to get the work done.

“How can we change attitudes and behaviors across the board? Everybody agrees that needs to happen … to make Fairfield a sustainable place,” he said.

Timm is based at the ISU Extension Jefferson County Office in Fairfield. The Go Green strategic plan is available from the city of Fairfield’s Web site.

This article appeared in December 2009 -- From Jack Payne Newsletter