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Meet Imagine Grinnell: Chris Bair

Get to know the staff and board of Imagine Grinnell! This week, we are featuring Chris Bair, a board member of Imagine Grinnell. Chris Bair will be leaving the board when his term ends in July 2016. Thanks so much for your service, Chris!


Years with Imagine Grinnell:  9 years


Are you a Grinnell Native?  Where did you grow up, and how long have you lived in Grinnell?

I am not a Grinnell Native.  I grew up on the SE Coast of Florida (Stuart).  I came to Grinnell in 1992 to attend Grinnell College and have lived here ever since.


What is your educational background?

I majored in Biology at Grinnell College.


What is your favorite thing about Grinnell?

It is a small town with many amenities typically unavailable in a town this size, including a great library, after school art camp, gymnastics, dance, sports, bike trails, etc.  I am always horrified at how much time friends and family spend transporting their kids to activities in larger cities.  In Grinnell, I can pick my daughter up at Art Camp, return books to the library, go home to change into dance clothes and have her to the studio in 15 minutes.


What attracted you to working with Imagine Grinnell?

Originally it was Imagine Grinnell’s programming focused on the environment.  When I first joined the Imagine Grinnell board, they were working quite a bit with energy efficiency, recycling, and some prairie efforts.  Now, with a young child, I am even more appreciative of all the “quality of life” projects Imagine Grinnell is involved in beyond just the environmental activities.


Tell us a little about your career.

After graduating from Grinnell College, I worked for a number of different environmental organizations focusing mainly on water quality and ecological restoration.  In 2006, I was able to come back and work for my alma mater and focus on campus environmental efforts, which was a dream come true.  I am currently the Environmental and Safety Manager for Grinnell College.  This means I get to be involved in most of the sustainability related projects on campus as well as working with occupational safety.  At a small college, one needs to be willing to wear different hats.


What is your favorite part of working with Imagine Grinnell?

I really enjoy working with a board and staff that really are dedicated to making life in Grinnell better. The board is very hands on!


If you could improve any one thing about Grinnell, what would you change and why?

I truly wish the water quality in Arbor Lake was significantly better.  A lot of effort has been spent on improving the lake and it is much better than a decade ago, but when it was first created, there was a large boathouse and it was a great swimming hole.


Any memorable moments from your time with Imagine Grinnell?

There are many, but several of the workdays spent building the natural playground at Summer Street Park are the most memorable.  There were a lot of volunteer hours spent bringing a great new play opportunity to Grinnell kids.


If asked “why should I become a member of Imagine Grinnell?” what would you tell them?

If you value Grinnell’s quality of life and want to continue to make strides towards further improvement, a membership in Imagine Grinnell is money well spent.