Welcome to a roundup of recent volunteer service projects organized and conducted by our ACE EPIC members. Over the summer ACE EPIC members logged volunteer hours from Arizona to Florida, and many places in-between. Below we feature the details of three of these volunteer service projects:
Restoration at Grand Canyon South Rim Lodges
Grand Canyon Village, AZ.
Despite finicky weather conditions, AmeriCorps member and ACE intern Jennifer Reeder and 10 volunteers logged 160 hours over the course of two days in Mid-August 2015. The original plan was to pull invasive plants and then sow native plant seeds in the restoration areas around two lodges in the South Rim (Thunderbird and Kachina Lodges) over the course of two days. Before the project took place however, Jennifer coordinated with the Grand Canyon Native Plant Nursery knowing the weather conditions were not in favor of working outdoors for two days. A volunteer commented that although things didn’t go as planned, it was still a favorite volunteer event, “Weeding, seeding, transplanting… so much variety in our activities!” Thanks to Jennifer’s problem solving skills, she ended up providing them more experience than originally planned. Reeder also encouraged creativity in her volunteers while they sowed the seeds, she said “They started making shapes: snakes, polka dots, common park petroglyphs!” The aesthetics of the park have been creatively enhanced thanks to Reeder and her team of volunteers.
Invasive Reptile Presentation at Camp Manatee
In early July 2015, Molly Conway, an AmeriCorps member and ACE intern, gave an informative invasive reptile presentation to a group of young campers at Camp Manatee. Around 60 kids, aged from 6 to 14 years old listened intently about the reasons why invasive reptiles thrive in South Florida, and the negative consequences they have on the Everglades. In order to keep the kids engaged, Molly was able to bring a live Argentine Tegu and a juvenile Burmese Python. The up close encounter gave the kids an opportunity to see physical traits up close, like the Tegu’s long sharp claws that are used to dig up native turtle eggs. This was an important presentation, because it demonstrated that although small juvenile reptiles can seem to be appropriate pets, they grow to be very large and end up becoming another addition to the multitude of invasive species in Florida.
Pennington Creek Park Clean Up
On September 26th, 2015 Ben Shamblin and Brent Wilkins, AmeriCorps members and ACE interns coordinated a volunteer project for removing trash and debris that was washed into Pennington Creek Park after recent floods. A crew of local inmates also participated in painting over graffiti and weeding problem areas around the trails. After the participation of 31 volunteers, an inmate crew, and a 4-hour window for cleanup, the collaboration had the park looking spotless just in time for the National Chickasaw Festival that was held in Pennington Creek Park on October 2-3.