New AmeriCorps program to focus on environment | SierraSun.com

New AmeriCorps program to focus on environment

Kara Fox
Sierra Sun

The first Sierra-wide AmeriCorps program will begin in January, with a call currently out to fill positions at 18 organizations in the Tahoe Basin and beyond.

The South Shore-based Sierra Nevada Alliance will manage the new Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership, made possible by a three-year grant from the California Service Corps. This AmeriCorps program will focus on ecological monitoring, habitat restoration and environmental education with 27 positions available.

“It’s a great experience for someone who wants to get training on conservation,” said Joan Clayburgh, Sierra Nevada Alliance executive director and project director of the new program. “It’s a real medley of skills and technical information they will get. It’s a great stepping-stone.”

Heather Segale, education and outreach coordinator for the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, said AmeriCorps volunteers will become education program assistants for the center and help with tours, curriculum, teaching and research.

“It’s the perfect position for someone right out of college,” Segale said.

Segale said another bonus for working at the research center is that the volunteers will get free housing in Tahoe City.

Christine McMarrow, executive director of the Sierra Watershed Education Partnership, said her organization’s first employee was an AmeriCorps volunteer. She said it is important for organizations like SWEP to tap into what AmeriCorps offers.

“It is a big help,” McMarrow said. “We are really looking for enthusiastic, energetic young individuals.”

McMarrow said the AmeriCorps members will work in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District to help develop curriculum and with the Truckee Tahoe Regional Education Coalition.

Jennifer Smith, program coordinator for the Tahoe-Baikal Institute, said an AmeriCorps volunteer will help the non-profit with alumni relations and preparing logistics for their summer program.

“We’re so excited for this opportunity. One more person in the office will be an incredible help,” Smith said. “The past year it was everything I could do to get the logistics done.”

The other AmeriCorps program in the Tahoe Basin is focused on Nevada-based organizations, according to Aimee Lafayette, AmeriCorps program director for the Parasol Community Foundation in Incline Village.

“It’s a great way to get to know the community,” said Lafayette, who was an AmeriCorps volunteer last year for Tahoe Women’s Services. “It’s an awesome opportunity to learn skills and acquire contacts and put yourself in the community.”

Clayburgh said applicants should have a passion for the environment or conservation, be good with the public and have a high school diploma or equivalent. Applicants should apply as soon as they are interested as the application deadline is Jan. 15, Clayburgh said. For an application or more information, call (530)542-4546 or visit http://www.sierranevadaalliance.org.