As the 2017-2018 ECO AmeriCorps cohort wraps up their year of service, I’d like to highlight two volunteer efforts that exemplify their dedication, tenacity, and commitment to stewardship. The first was in late June, when 20 ECO AmeriCorps members headed up to Lake Carmi State Park for an overnight camping trip and service project – planting trees along Marsh Brook, the largest tributary of Lake Carmi.
Members split into several smaller teams, planting sugar maple, red maple, elm, green ash, grey birch, and various shrubs. In all, they planted 228 trees along Marsh Brook during that hot June afternoon. Once established, these trees and shrubs will help keep nutrients like phosphorus out of the brook (and Lake Carmi) and improve wildlife habitat along it.
The second volunteer effort occurred in conjunction with Clean Water Week. Last Wednesday, fifteen ECO AmeriCorps members, along with Department of Environmental Conservation and Forests, Parks, and Recreation staff, pulled 1,127 pounds of the aquatic invasive species water chestnut (~5,545 rosettes) from Black Creek Marsh, which flows into St. Albans Bay.
Water chestnut is an annual aquatic plant that can form dense monocultures, choking out beneficial native plant species, reducing oxygen levels, negatively altering the recreation potential of the invaded waterbody, and reducing shoreline property values. Water levels were low, which meant members had to paddle (and wade) through feet of muck to reach much of the water chestnut.
ECO AmeriCorps members are not foreign to this type of strenuous work – they are a crew committed to stewarding Vermont’s land and water, whatever it takes. We are grateful for their tremendous efforts over the past 11 months.
Their service term ends tomorrow, but a new cohort will start in September to continue advancing the State of Vermont’s conservation efforts.