Why I Chose AmeriCorps Service
By Mary Birchem
After graduating from the University of Washington Tacoma in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, I didn’t know where my professional life would take me. I have always loved exploring the outdoors; the smells, the sounds, but I wanted to do something more. I wanted to bring people the same sense of curiosity that I have for the outdoors and provide opportunities to give back to nature. After my seasonal job ended at Camp Sealth as an environmental educator, I decided to apply with AmeriCorps.
I chose to serve because I want to be a catalyst for change in my community. I want to be proud about where I live and instill the same feeling in others. Serving as an AmeriCorps member at Capitol Land Trust has given me the chance to be a leader in my community and develop my professional skills. Building incredible community ties is something I will never forget. I enjoy hosting volunteer events because I get to see people from all walks of life and share knowledge about something I love. I get to give people the opportunity not only to go places they normally would not or could not, but also the chance to give back and connect with their community.
My AmeriCorps term with Capitol Land Trust runs from September 1, 2016 – July 15, 2017. So far, I have worked with 137 individual volunteers to restore almost 21 acres of Capitol Land Trust property. Stewardship volunteers have dedicated almost 700 hours of time with Capitol Land Trust since September! My favorite thing so far has been seeing first time volunteers return and working with youth.
After my AmeriCorps service term with Capitol Land Trust, I plan on continuing down the path of environmental education and community organization. I feel that I’ve found my sense of place and community. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered with me, partnered with me on projects, and supported me in any other way!