July 27, 2017
The Environmental Careers & Opportunities (ECO) AmeriCorps program is finishing up its second year of guiding young people through 11-month placements in environmental service in Vermont. A federally funded program, ECO AmeriCorps is administered in the state through the Agency of Natural Resources and provides recent college grads the opportunity to learn new skills while receiving on-the-job training at government agencies and nonprofits throughout the state.
Beginning in September, participants are placed at government agencies and nonprofits dedicated to clean water and universal recycling. Through their months of service, ECO AmeriCorps members learn about potential careers in environmental conservation while gaining technical and field-based experience. This year's team of 24 members will complete their year of service on August 11. Of these, seven have already secured Vermont-based jobs that will commence after their term of service is complete.
Maddie Cotter served two years as an ECO AmeriCorps member. Her first year was spent doing outreach for DEC's Clean Water Initiative Program. She's currently completing a year serving with the Intervale nursery in Burlington growing and planting native Vermont trees and shrubs to help restore stream banks and regenerate forests. As part of her service, she has coordinated groups of volunteers to help plant hundreds of trees and fortify thousands of feet of stream banks.
"I've learned a lot about what I want to do in my career, and equally, areas that are less up my alley," said Cotter. "While I enjoyed my first year of ECO AmeriCorps training in policy and communications, the experience I've had at Intervale, where I get my hands in the soil and work directly with volunteers, has been even more rewarding."
Cotter has accepted a full-time position with Intervale starting at the end of her service time.
Lindsay Cotnoir is a native Vermonter who grew up in Newport and spent the year serving with the Orleans County Natural Resource Conservation District in her home town. She worked with farmers to help them create management plans to limit nutrient runoff into the state's waters. Cotnoir led several fun education events, including a 'Food and Water Relay Race' at the annual field day at a local dairy farm, and an event teaching third- and fourth-graders about the amount of water it takes to produce different foods.
"This was my first position out of college, so it was a great learning experience spending time in the professional environment of a nonprofit and seeing how they interfaced with partner groups," said Cotnoir. "It's been great getting to know Vermont's agricultural community, especially the farmers." Cotnoir will be staying on with the Conservation District in Newport.
"This program provides tremendous opportunities for motivated young people to receive the training and build the professional connections that will ultimately help them stay in Vermont as they embark on their careers," said Julie Moore, Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. "The ECO AmeriCorps members have been a tremendous asset to our agency and to our partner organizations while serving the people of Vermont We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors."
ECO AmeriCorps is a federally-funded program from the Corporation for National and Community Service through a grant from SerVermont, the Vermont Commission on National and Community Service. Members serve full-time commitments for 11 months and must complete at least 1,700 hours of service during that time to successfully complete the program.
Media Contact: Reuben Allen, 802-779-6054
Source: Agency of Natural Resources
Last Updated at: July 27, 2017 12:50:01