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Celebrating AmeriCorps Week

Chances are good that you’ve been on a trail that was worked on by an AmeriCorps crew. They go out for weeks at a time, often to very remote places in the backcountry. They handle all aspects of maintaining a trail: fixing the tread, rock work, trimming back vegetation and employing elaborate methods of getting water to properly drain off the trail. After they are done, the trail offers a better experience, is safer and more sustainable.

Photo credit: California Conservation Corps

Fixing an eroded piece of trail

Rock Crib Wall

March 5 - 11 is AmeriCorps Week and we’d like to give thanks to all who have tirelessly worked our trails so that the public can safely enjoy them! AmeriCorps mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. Formed in 1994 to address social needs, AmeriCorps workers offer their services for ten months to a year and receive an education stipend and living allowance. Corps Members have to be between ages 18 - 24, but there is no upper age limit for Team Leaders. Some AmeriCorps Members serve more than one term of service.

AZCC Crew

There are many ways to serve in Americorps to help the environment: build and maintain trails on public lands, wildland firefighting and disaster services, habitat restoration and invasive species removal and promoting youth services.

Texas Flooding 2015 Disaster Relief

Team Leader Isaiah Kortright shares his experience with AmeriCorps:

"April 13, 2015 marks the day I became part of an entire culture that I previously had no idea existed. I was attracted by a bullet point on a recruitment flyer that read: “Your crew will be your family” and applied the same day. What I found was an entire organization that prides itself in the human connections made through hard work, a culture of learning, and service to our public lands and those affected by natural disaster.

I’ve had the privilege of seeing how instantly quantifiable and gratifying our trail work, and efforts to assist people in disaster areas, is through a simple exchange of gratitude. The service I have participated in has brought me direction and broadened my perspective on what it means to take action and find my place among thousands of others who give day in and day out for a cause. Service."

Hiking into the work site

Crew member Corrie Desilets: "When I accepted my service with AZCC I had no idea what I’d be doing other than the blanket term of ”trail work”. Now I know how to build drains, deberm, create full bench, and other work associated with trails. I can’t imagine doing anything else at this point in my life and have actually grown to love this work more than I thought.

I hope to continue to serve as long as I can because of my love for service itself, and my love for the outdoors, hard work, and interacting with the public. What could be better?"

Here’s a short video about the work that AmeriCorps does, for more information about the program, visit https://www.nationalservice.gov/.
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