Several years ago we started working with AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) Pacific Region, which is based at McClellan Park in Sacramento. The first year, we weren’t sure how it would work having a team of young adults working on our preserves for several weeks at a time, because we’d never tried anything like that before.
It turns out – it is probably one of the BEST things we’ve ever done for our Stewardship Team.
We recently said farewell to the Blue 2 team, who had been working with us for the previous eight weeks. And work they did! During their stay with us, they made significant improvements on 10 of our preserves. Some of their major accomplishments include:
- Removed brush, blackberry, French broom, star thistle, and thinned trees to reduce the risk of fire on FIVE PLT preserves.
- Cleaned and weeded the community garden at Auburn School Park Preserve.
- Picked up and removed nearly 250 pounds of trash from the bottom of the canyon at our recently acquired Bailey North Fork Preserve.
- Planted willow stakes, trees and shrubs in restoration areas on THREE PLT preserves, plus caged some of the plants they planted as well as other plants already in the ground.
- Removed excess caging supplies and planting materials from TWO preserves.
- Improved trails on FOUR preserves, including installing 10 sign posts and adding seven trail ramps.
- Constructed one burrowing owl nest and did repairs on another nest, plus adding fencing around the nests to keep the cows away.
- Inspected and repaired fencing on TWO preserves.
- Assisted in the office with mailings and calling to thank donors.
Plus, they still had time to make a couple funny videos, enjoy a day at Lake Tahoe, and engage in other activities in the area. We also learned that the team really valued their stay with us, so much that they nominated us for a special award! Even if PLT isn’t selected for the award, we are touched and honored that the Blue 2 team felt they learned so much that they wanted to nominate us. In fact, several team members told us we were their favorite sponsor – which is a huge compliment considering the project they did before us was in Hawaii! At our farewell luncheon, we received a special card from them signed by all the Blue 2 team members.
Team member Ward wrote: “You guys are a true inspiration to me and the team! You were low-stress, high-awesome, and generally the complete package. We will miss you, keep in touch!
From Team Captain Lindsey: “PLT – You are amazing! We had such an awesome experience getting to know you and working with you. I hear “this has been the best yet” pretty frequently. Stay in touch!
And from team member Shameka: “Thank you all for everything that you have done for our team. You all are easily the best sponsors in my opinion. It wasn’t just about the work. You incorporated so much service learning and helped us see how the work we did was meaningful. I felt like I’ve grown so much this round. Thank you for helping me to do so. I hope to see you at graduation and I’d like to keep in touch. I’ll miss you. Jim and Justin – you rock!
So what is AmeriCorps NCCC? From their website:
“AmeriCorps is often referred to as ‘the domestic Peace Corps’. Both agencies are committed to service, and both offer challenging and rewarding full-time opportunities. Peace Corps assignments are all overseas, and AmeriCorps members serve only in the US. While Peace Corps Volunteers serve for two years, a stint in AmeriCorps usually lasts 10 months to one year. AmeriCorps is a national network of hundreds of programs throughout the U.S. Two of these programs are managed nationally: AmeriCorps VISTA and AmeriCorps NCCC. The other programs are under the general heading of AmeriCorps, and they are found in local and national organizations throughout the US.”
Organizations, like us, apply to be a “sponsor” to host an AmeriCorps team, and there is an application process similar to applying for a grant. More information about the process and the programs they offer can be found on their website at http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs
THANK YOU to Blue 2 and all the other teams that have helped us over the past several years. You are the ones who ROCK!!!