This week March 7th-March 13th, is National AmeriCorps Week!
I began my service with the Huron Pines AmeriCorps (HPA) program in February of 2020. I applied for my first service term because I wanted to learn more about environmental issues here in Michigan and participate in hands-on work that benefits the forests, grasslands, waterways, and other wild places that I love to explore in my home state.
My service term has taken me to many different corners of Michigan, from planting native wildflowers in the Southeast, native mast-producing trees in Kalkaska and cleaning up trash from creeks in the Upper Peninsula; I have gotten to work with passionate individuals who are determined in their efforts to leave the natural resources of Michigan in good shape for future generations. I am constantly impressed by my HPA colleagues that serve across Michigan with host sites that include the Department of Natural Resources, regional land conservancies, federal agencies, and various conservation non-profits.
Serving through a global pandemic has certainly had its challenges, and AmeriCorps members all across Michigan have had to adjust their usual routine to honor the AmeriCorps pledge “to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier” and “bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.” This year I am serving as the LeaderCorps member for the HPA program, and in this role, I have gotten to learn more about the many AmeriCorps programs here in Michigan.
Last year alone, around 7,400 individuals completed a term of service here in Michigan. For those unfamiliar with the reach of AmeriCorps as a National branch of service, “AmeriCorps engages 270,000 Americans each year in sustained, results-driven service through our AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors programs. These dedicated citizens help communities impacted by COVID-19, ensure students stay on track to graduate, combat hunger and homelessness, respond to natural disasters, fight the opioid epidemic, help seniors live independently, support veterans and military families, and much more.” To learn more about the incredible impact of AmeriCorps service in Michigan, please follow this link.
The intent behind National AmeriCorps Week is to celebrate and highlight the impact of AmeriCorps service members. I am certainly very grateful to have met many amazing members within the HPA program as well as across the state, committed to serving and bettering their community. I look forward to the rest of my service term, getting out into the field with upcoming habitat projects and getting things done!