Eleven months ago a group of 18 individuals came to Vermont to participate in the inaugural year of the Environmental and Career Opportunities, ECO, AmeriCorps program. This service corps was created by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation with a grant from the Corporation of National and Community Service to help implement strategies to protect and improve water quality around the state. Throughout their service term, members served with local municipalities, conservation districts, non-profits, and state agencies.
The first ECO AmeriCorps members. Front row from left to right: Michelle Graziosi, Jimmy Young, Travis Hart, Julia Gulka, Skylar Francis, Julianne Lovergine, Diana Jaramillo, Katy Gimma, Madeline Cotter, Jim Armbruster, Andrew Nguyen, Elizabeth Gribkoff. Back row from left to right: Chelsea Roston, Chris Yurek, Brittan Faville, Zack Simpson, Bea Smith, Joe Bondi, Grant Taylor.
Over the course of the year members led 700 volunteers in a variety of projects including, tree plantings, river clean-ups, and educational events. ECO members and coordinated volunteers helped to improve 414 acres of public land and 25.3 miles of Vermont’s rivers and streams. As a group the ECO AmeriCorps members served over 30,000 hours in the state of Vermont. The learn more about the ECO AmeriCorps program, check out the website.
ECO AmeriCorps members Brittan and Grant explain how river erosion impacts the surrounding landscape using the stream table.
The program continues next year with a new group of people who are dedicated to making a difference in their community and the environment.
ECO member Michelle carries bags of leaves to place around newly planted trees to give them food and protection while they get established.
On Earth Day, AmeriCorps members and Congressman Welch removed tires from a stream in Williamstown, VT. The tires will be reused as a barrier for grazing pigs on a local farm.
ECO members get a taste of winter in Vermont at the career development training in January.
Members participate in a team-building activity. You lower the hula hoop as a group with each person having one finger touching the hoop. It is harder than it looks.
A group of ECO members visited the statehouse as part of Mayor’s Day of Recognition for National Service.
ECO members and local volunteers take a break after planting trees near the LaPlatte River.