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#IamACE | Jendrik Hohn

Jendrik Hohn, and International Volunteer with ACE California, working on the Ventana Wilderness Alliance Silver Peak Wilderness Trails Project.

[ACE] Can you tell me about your background?

[JH] I’m 19 and I’m from Germany. I’ve been with ACE for 2 months. I graduated from high school last year in a small city near Bremen.

How did you find ACE?

On the Internet. There were many different opportunities that I learned about—volunteer work, au pair, work and travel, things like that. I finally found this volunteer opportunity in America: ACE!

What interested you in this position?

I didn’t want to be away from home for too long, and this program allowed me to do a 3-month program. I wanted to do something in nature, and something that was totally different from what I’ve been doing so far. It’s free, and I can do something that’s sustainable.

Can you tell me about a highlight and a challenge so far?

My highlight was Yosemite National Park. I went there on my off days with other people from ACE. I also really like this project we’re on now, there’s a great view, you can go into the ocean every day after work, it’s really cool.

The whole program has been challenging. You’re in a different country with foreign people. You have to adapt, speak the other language the whole time. I think this whole thing has been a challenge for me, but I’m glad I’ve done it.

Do you think this position has helped you prepare for the future?

Yeah, of course. I feel like I am more open-minded towards other people. Some people I would have never spoken with in Germany for example. You get more independent and flexible.

What do you think sets ACE apart from other organizations?

Everything is nice to each other. I didn’t expect that. I got to know about 40 people now, and everyone’s so nice. The work is fun although it’s hard. Nice people, nice work, what else do you want!

Do you have any advice for someone thinking about joining ACE or looking to get into conservation?

I recommend it to everyone who wants to try it, even people who are afraid of doing something alone. It’s good because you’ve got a lot of time and fresh air to think about everything. You can hear opinions of other people about what they want to do in the future and you can compare views.

Horseshoe Ranch Volunteer Service Project

Earlier in February, several ACE Corps members participated in a Volunteer Service Project (VSP) at Horseshoe Ranch Pond, part of a 200-acre ranch of expansive desert grassland transected by streams and riparian habitats that is managed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

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During the project, the Corps members installed a total of 700 feet of protective fencing.

“The crew was absolutely amazing and so efficient,” said Sharon Lashway, an Arizona Game and Fish Aquatic Wildlife Specialist who worked closely with the crew during the VSP. “Their help cut our work load down!” Corps members are required to complete either one or two VSPs depending on the length of their service term.

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ACE EPIC Volunteer Service Projects

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
Miami, FL.

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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.

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Pennington Creek Park Clean Up
Tishomingo, OK

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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.

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ACE in the news!

On Thursday, Feb. 19, ACE was involved in a trail maintenance and improvement project organized by Southwest Utah National Conservation Lands Friends (SUNCLF) at the Halfway Wash Trail in Paradise Canyon. The project was a collaboration of the Dixie Mountain Bike Trail Association, Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Paradise Canyon Homeowners Association.

According to the BLM, the Paradise Canyon trail system had an estimated 21,288 visitors between October 2013 and September 2014. The system connects with the network of trails north of Paradise Canyon, including Paradise Rim, Turtle Wall, Chuckwalla, and Beck Hill. You can read the full story in the Southern Utah Independent.

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