By Donna Kemp Spangler
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) attracts employees who have a strong desire to improve Utah’s environment. So it’s no surprise to find a culture at DEQ where employees promote sustainability practices and participate in community cleanups at work and at home.
Every day is Earth Day at DEQ.
Earth Day, in many ways, planted the seed for our blogs. In 2015, we launched our first blog series with the “12 Days of Earth Day,” featuring daily blogs from employees who are the “boots on the ground” working to improve the lives of Utahns. Since then, we’ve been highlighting what we do each week with blogs that use a personal approach to explain the issues and our regulatory roles. It’s also another means to reach people on social media.
Why? It’s part of DEQ’s mission, vision and values.
The Utah Legislature defined our mission in Utah Code 25 years ago. According to Alan Matheson, executive director, DEQ’s mission statement boils several statutory provisions into a succinct statement of our role as a regulatory agency that protects our environment in a way that balances society’s many needs.
Our vision reflects the fundamental need that clean air, land and water are essential for human health, our economy, and our quality of life.
DEQ values exceptional service: We solve problems, actively engage stakeholders, and are professional, responsive, and fair.
DEQ values its employees: Every day, DEQ employees walk into our offices determined to accomplish our mission. They come from different backgrounds and see the world in different ways, but they share a love for Utah and commitment to service and excellence.
DEQ values public’s trust and credibility: We earn the public’s trust through science-based solutions and accurate, reliable information accessible to the public.
DEQ values continuous improvement: We are accountable for taxpayer dollars, and look for more effective and efficient ways of doing business.
In the spirit of Earth Day, on Friday, April 21, DEQ is joining with Salt Lake City to spruce up its community garden at the Sorensen Unity Center. DEQ employees will plant flowers, weed gardens, spread bark, and connect with other volunteers in the community.
Like me, many of us at DEQ love what we do. It’s challenging at times when constrained by the realities of a layer-cake of state and federal laws. But whether it’s writing a permit or overseeing a cleanup, our goal is to make the environment a better place for all of us. It’s not just a job—it’s a passion. For us, Earth Day is every day.
Earth Day is a great opportunity to participate in making Utah a better place to live. Share your activity, along with a photo, on Facebook or Twitter, and tag DEQ in your post (Utah Department of Environmental Quality) or tweet (@UtahDEQ).
I am the Communications Director for DEQ and a former reporter for the Deseret News. I write a monthly blog post. You can read my previous blog posts at deq.utah.gov/news. You can follow me on Twitter @deqdonna