More Than Service to Trails and Parks

January 28, 2020
News
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

Title

More Than Service to Trails and Parks

Body

What’s it like to serve as an AmeriCorps member in the Trail Conference Conservation Corps (TCCC)?

It’s giving your time—full-time, for six months—to protect the environment and the public’s ability to safely enjoy it. That’s not an easy gig. But for some of our members, it’s not only an incredibly rewarding experience—it’s life-changing. Here are a few of their stories from the 2019 season:

Stephen Sullivan, Trail Steward

To be honest, I originally saw my season with the TCCC as an opportunity to burn time until the next semester of college started. I was entirely wrong. The first few days alone showed me just how special the program and the people in it are. When working at Breakneck Ridge and Bear Mountain, I saw firsthand just how necessary the early intervention of Trail Stewards is to keep the parks safe and fun for those visiting. When in the Catskills, I learned how diverse the hikers in those mountains could be. And when trail building and maintaining with Andy Garrison, Long Path Trail Chair, I learned how much effort truly goes into trail construction and rehabilitation, and saw the indefatigable devotion the Trail Conference volunteers have towards their mission. And of course, my fellow Corps members showed a level of camaraderie, support, and love for one another that I had only seen before in the military. I had started out as an outsider to the world of conservation, and by the end of the program, I found myself ready to redirect my life towards it. Opportunities and paths I never would have imagined before have become my goals for the future. I found more than I was looking for, and I’m forever grateful to this program for that.

Heather Platt, Aquatic Invasives

AmeriCorps positions are fulfilling for the soul. The chance to experience enriching positions in communities of need fills you with excitement and the feeling of being needed. The environmental stewardship positions available through AmeriCorps allow everyone—whether you enjoy public communication or manual labor—to get out into the public and pull their weight. There is happiness to be found outdoors, and there is fulfillment is being part of a larger community. Heather just started a new job as an ecological restoration project assistant at the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation. Congrats!

Kasia Ozimek, Trail Crew

I graduated in December 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and art but didn’t know which field to pursue a job. So, I searched for a temporary position to help me figure out what my next big career step would be, and I thought trail work would be perfect. This experience has allowed me to see the hard work and dedication it takes to maintain and build sustainable trails. Learning various techniques from field managers Erik Mickelson and Ben Sugar built my confidence on the trail, allowing me to make decisions without awaiting their approval. Working with volunteers helped me realize that teaching is one of my passions. I will now continue a career path in education. Overall, I am grateful for all the experiences and friendships I have made throughout the term, and I can’t wait to come back and volunteer in my spare time!

Thank you to our 2019 Conservation Corps members for their service to parks and trails.
Whether you're looking to gather work experience or launch a new career path in conservation and stewardship,

Know the New Hiking How-tos