As the old saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” Today is my final day as the Huron Pines AmeriCorps (HPA) member serving with Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC). I began twenty-two months ago at the end of January, in 2020, and in that time, I’ve learned a great deal about how natural resources are protected and managed here in Michigan.
Serving with MUCC, I’ve had the chance to participate in many different habitat restoration projects. These projects have included removing invasive species, planting native trees and wildflowers, building brush piles for small game and removing trash from rivers and forests across Michigan.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on these projects and especially getting to work with the passionate folks that give up their weekends and drive hundreds of miles to get out and volunteer with MUCC. The On-The-Ground(OTG) and On-The-Water(OTW) projects have taken me out of MUCC’s headquarters in Lansing to do projects all across Michigan. From planting trees in the Escanaba River State Forest to planting wildflowers in Monroe county at the Petersburg State Game Area, I’ve been fortunate to have served and explored many areas of Michigan that I had never been to before.
It has been a great experience, and I’m particularly grateful that I’ve been able to go through it with my fellow Huron Pines AmeriCorps members. At the beginning of each service term AmeriCorps members take the following 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.”
Many challenges currently face Michigan’s natural resources and our planet. However, as I prepare to end my time with HPA and MUCC, I am comforted knowing that the work needed to address those challenges will continue, and there are more people every day that are stepping up and getting involved to do hands-on conservation work.
I look forward to finding my next adventure and continuing to spread the word about conservation and stewardship. I must thank all of my colleagues and folks in the conservation world that have supported me during this experience. Especially to my mentors on the MUCC staff, Shaun McKeon and Makhayla LaButte, who have taught me a great deal about natural resources and what it takes to be professional in the field of conservation.
The Huron Pines AmeriCorps program will continue in 2022 and the next member with MUCC will hit the ground running in January to get folks out in the field and get things done.
“The greatest danger to our future is apathy”- Jane Goodall