Don’t worry I still have seven weeks left of my service term, but the Huron Pines AmeriCorps member celebration was last Friday up in the Upper Manistee Headwaters Preserve.  All 20+ members and their supervisors were in attendance for the celebration.  The purpose of this event was to recognize our service in helping conserve Michigan’s natural resources. Sarah Topp the Huron Pines AmeriCorps Program Coordinator put on the event in appreciation to all the members and supervisors.

The day started off with snacks and cider (yum) as we all gathered under the pop-up tent on the Upper Manistee Headwaters Preserve. The property used to belong to the boy scouts but was recently up for grabs in the market. The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy (GTRLC) bought the 1288-acre property and is currently working on restoring/remodeling it. The preserve is going to be open to the public to recreate.  David Foote with GTRLC explained that this preserve has rich ecosystems and habitats for both terrestrial and aquatic species. Grass Lake sits on the property and is unique in the fact that there are no invasive species residing in the water. Biologists said that the lake is very healthy and full of natives.

After the introductions, we were given time to explore the preserve by either hiking, fishing or paddling the lake. I chose to hike along the lake and in doing so got to see more of the property and a pair of loons on the lake. After our free time, we gathered back under the tent and ate a super delicious BBQ meal. After lunch was the award ceremony. It was kicked off by a 20-minute video that highlighted each member’s service with their host site and supervisors. I talked about my involvement and impact with MUCC and Shaun shared a nice picture and stated his thanks to the program. Listening to every member listing the impacts they were able to make within their service term was mind-blowing.

All across the state, HPA members served 38+ hours a week to make a difference in Michigan’s natural resources. After the video, Senator Greg Peters’ representative spoke on behalf of the senator and gave us his thanks by handing out certificates of special senatorial recognition. We also received our certificate of national service from the Corporation for National & Community Service.

Thank you for the recognition, Huron Pines AmeriCorps, and thank you MUCC and Shaun Mckeon for giving me this opportunity to grow.

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