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Partner Showcase: National Park of American Samoa

Ricky Misa'alefua plays the role of ricky the Crab as the 'turtle' students of Olosega Elementary School dash from their nest to the ocean. This game aims to demonstrate the benefits of synchronized hatching and predetor swarming.

Ricky Misa’alefua plays the role of ricky the Crab as the ‘turtle’ students of Olosega Elementary School dash from their nest to the ocean. This game aims to demonstrate the benefits of synchronized hatching and predetor swarming.

ACE is proud to serve as a convergence of cultures, where American youth and their international counterparts contribute equally to important restoration projects. When the National Park of American Samoa (NPSA) asked ACE staff to visit the US territory to help develop an American Samoan corps creating jobs and promoting economic self-sufficiency for local village youth, we were honored and excited. The resulting partnership, launched in October of 2011, engaged 25 American Samoan youth who were trained under the mentorship of NPSA biologists and deployed in NPSA’s longstanding efforts to purge American Samoa’s verdant native paleotropic rainforests from the ravenous invasion of exotic Tamaligi and Red Seed Trees. ACE’s American Samoan corps members accomplished 21,000 hours of restoration work during 2012 alone.

DNA testing is conducted to increase the understanding of the population structure of the sea turtles, and how the sea turtles of the Ofu region fit into that structure

DNA testing is conducted to increase the understanding of the population structure of the sea turtles, and how the sea turtles of the Ofu region fit into that structure

Since then this partnership with the NPSA has continued to flourish. ACE has more recently been involved in further efforts to eradicate the Tamaligi trees, and also in a project which aims to mitigate further decline of the endangered Green and Hawksbill sea turtle populations in the Ofu region of the park. The sea turtle project is featured in our winter edition of ACEbook which can be read here.

The common theme of all the projects in which ACE is involved in on American Samoa is the recruitment, training, and continued mentoring of local American Samoan youth. Through ACE’s partnership with NPSA, unemployed local youth are converted into conservationalists, working to protect their native environment. To this day ACE is honored to be a partner of the NPSA, and to be involved in efforts to conserve American Samoa.

For more information about NPSA and their valuable contribution to conservation on American Samoa, please visit their social media outlets on Facebook, Instagram, the blog sphere, and the NPS website.

Installation of informational billboards such of these play a vital role in educating the public about the scarcity of native sea turtle populations

Installation of informational billboards such of these play a vital role in educating the public about the scarcity of native sea turtle populations

8 things you didn’t know about…

…AmeriCorps.

Next week, March 9 – 13 2015, is AmeriCorps Week, a time when the commitment of AmeriCorps members and alums, and the extraordinary impact AmeriCorps makes across our nation every day, is highlighted and recongized.

With AmeriCorps Week just a few days away we thought it was time for an education on AC. So here were present ‘8 things you did not know about AmeriCorps’. Thanks to Ben Pohl, our AmeriCorps Program Supervisor in Salt Lake City, for sharing his knowledge and experience of the AmeriCorps program!

  1. You can join AmeriCorps Alums BEFORE you finish up your program and reap the benefits of the group such as networking with 10s of thousands of AmeriCorps members, receive free online tax prep, and utilizes their free online resources. Click here to find out more and join!
  2. AmeriCorps was formed with a bipartisan effort from former Republican President George Bush Senior and former Democratic President Bill Clinton.
  3. There are over 75,000 AmeriCorps members each year and more than 900,000 thousand AmeriCorps members have contributed over 1.2 billion service hours
  4. AmeriCorps serve on projects in the issue areas of environmental stewardship, disaster services, economic opportunity, education, healthy futures, and veterans and military families.
  5. Some schools will match your Eli Segal education award! Click here to see a list of schools that will match your award. Contact the school directly for more details.
  6. If you’ve ever wanted to learn a new specialized skill, your Ed award can help pay for the classes towards your new hobby. Alums have previously used their ed award towards specialized classes, such as photography, EMT training, and even SCUBA certification. With all of these options, make sure to check with your education institution or student loan companies to see if they accept the Ed award as a form of payment.
  7. You can wait to use your education award until 7 years. If it is cutting is close to the 7 years you can apply for an extension!
  8. The Eli Segal Education award can be transferred to your spouse or children. Click here to find out more information.

If you know of additional little-known facts of the AmeriCorps program please feel free to share them in the comments below.

Partner Showcase: Pacific Crest Trail Association

American Conservation Experience has become a national leader within the corps movement due to the amazing partnerships we have forged. Over the coming months we will proudly showcase our partners, and help spread the word about their organizations and the work they do. This week is dedicated to to the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA), the Pacific Crest Trail’s champion and steward.

Corps members on the PCT. Courtesy of Andrew Fish.

Corps members on the PCT. Courtesy of Andrew Fish.

The PCTA is a non-profit singularly focused on the preservation, protection, and promotion of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), the long distance trail that travels between the US-Mexico and US-Canadian borders, traversing the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Stewardship of the PCT is no small feat: The PCT is 2,663 miles long with a cumulative elevation change of 402,880ft, or to put it another way, 80 miles!

View from the PCT. Courtesy of Andrew Fish.

View from the PCT. Courtesy of Andrew Fish.

ACE is into it’s 3rd year of partnership with the PCTA. The partnership is particularly noteworthy for several reasons.

First is the far-reaching geographical and temporal extent of the project. For up to 26 weeks of the year, an ACE crew works on sections of the PCTA from southern California, right up into Washington. Projects are scheduled so work is completed at the lower elevations during the winter months, and the higher elevations during the summer. In 2015 we will have 2 crews working on the trail, for 26 and 14 weeks.

Second is the level of partnership and engagement involved in each project. Along its course, the PCTA travels through public and private land. Therefore on any project there is the interest of a land management agency, such as the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management, or land owner. Furthermore, the PCTA provides a trail advisor to work alongside the ACE crew on each project. And finally, there are often some PCTA volunteers who join the ACE crew for up to 9 days at a time. This makes for a very positive experience for all involved.

ACE Crew at work on the PCT. Courtesy of Andrew Fish

ACE Crew at work on the PCT. Courtesy of Andrew Fish

This post features some pictures of a recent ACE crew at work on the PCT. Photos are courtesy of Andrew Fish, a Technical Advisor for the PCTA, who worked alongside the crew. The photos are also featured in a post that Andrew recently wrote about life as a professional trail builder which is well worth a read. For more information about the PCTA head on over to their site.

PCTA, thanks for the great work that you do preserving, protecting, and promoting one of America’s national treasures, and thank you for partnering with ACE!

ACE at work on the PCT. Courtesy of Andrew Fish

ACE at work on the PCT. Courtesy of Andrew Fish