Twenty-eight AmeriCorps members are scattered throughout the Sierra Nevada with the role of restoring and monitoring Sierra watersheds, educating Sierra residents and visitors about environmental issues, and managing volunteers for local watershed programs. This program is called the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership, a conservation network that orchestrates the placement of AmeriCorps members each year at different host sites throughout the range for their 1,700-hour term of service.
Two of these AmeriCorps members are located in the Carson River Watershed with the Alpine Watershed Group and River Wranglers.
“AmeriCorps members are the bread and butter of small nonprofits like ours. They are integral parts of both the organization and the community,” said Gavin Feiger, AWG Watershed coordinator.
AmeriCorps member Aly Cheney is a Colorado native and Connecticut College graduate. She serves as AWG’s restoration and monitoring coordinator.
Sarah Muskin, hailing from New England and a Vassar College graduate, is the education and outreach coordinator for AWG and River Wranglers.
Alpine Watershed Group is a collaborative stakeholder group working to protect and enhance Alpine County’s headwaters. Cheney and Muskin are critical in helping coordinate AWG’s major events like Earth Day, Markleeville Creek Day, and the Alpine Aspen Festival. They also help with citizen monitoring programs, and provide classroom and field education opportunities for the local schools.
River Wranglers is a watershed education organization inspiring youth through hands-on learning to explore, conserve, and understand the importance of the Carson River Watershed and beyond. Muskin expands the River Wranglers team in order to increase classroom visits throughout the watershed, and facilitate programming such as Trout-in-the-Classroom and Carson River Work Days.
Cheney and Muskin are integral parts of these small non-profits. The SNAP program, in large part, allows both AWG and River Wranglers to function as they do, and have a larger reach than they would without their AmeriCorps Volunteers.
The first full week of March is AmeriCorps week, a time to acknowledge the work AmeriCorps volunteers do nationwide. AmeriCorps engages more than 80,000 Americans in intensive service each year at 21,600 unique sites including nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. The various AmeriCorps programs engage young adults in their communities and country. It has helped over 1 million people finance higher education. AmeriCorps members have opportunities to serve all over the country and these two young women have chosen to serve our community through their work on protecting the Carson River Watershed.
Help celebrate AmeriCorps’s 23rd Anniversary by engaging with the AmeriCorps members in your community.
For information on the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership, Alpine Watershed Group, or River Wranglers, go to http://sierranevadaalliance.com/programs/sierra-nevada-americorps-partnership/; www.alpinewatershedgroup.org; or www.riverwranglers.org.