Today is the final day of my first term of service with Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) and the Huron Pines AmeriCorps program. Even though so much has occurred since I began my service, it is still hard to believe that ten months have passed since my first day. Back in February, like all other AmeriCorps members, I kicked off my service by taking the AmeriCorps pledge, “I will get things done for America – to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier. I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities. Faced with apathy, I will take action. Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground. Faced with adversity, I will persevere. I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond. I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.” Last Thursday, it seemed appropriate as the service term was finishing that I watched fellow members from across Michigan recite this pledge in the annual Michigan AmeriCorps celebration.
Throughout the past ten months, I have learned many new things from the MUCC field team. Practical and professional skills that have helped me jumpstart my career in natural resources. On my very first day of service, Morgan Jennings taught me how to age a deer by using its jawbone. Later during my service, Shaun Mckeon taught me all about waterfowl identification, specifically how to teach identification to school-age children. Emma Nehan taught me how to plan for every contingency when organizing volunteers, and Makhayla LaButte taught me how to correctly plant a tree. The other amazing individuals that make up MUCC’s communication, education and advocacy pillars all taught me how a non-profit organization stays hard at work and gets things done even in the face of adversity.
While many of the days of service saw me working from my home, I did have several days that were spent out in the field across the entire state. From planting wildflowers on public land near the Ohio border to removing trash from a watersjed in the Upper Peninsula, I have enjoyed every bit of conservation work that I this service term has presented me. There is still plenty more work to do, and that is why I am excited to announce that I will be returning to serve a second term as the Huron Pines AmeriCorps Member for MUCC in 2021! I look forward to returning in January and getting back to serving and protecting Michigan’s natural resources!