Alumni Name: Emily Modglin
Dates Served: May 2019 – August 2019 & January 2020 – March 2020
What role was Emily in: AmeriCorps Member
Location: Flagstaff, AZ
Q: What were you doing before ACE?
A: I was a student studying mechanical engineering at Oklahoma State University.
Q: How did you hear about ACE?
A: I had a good friend do Montana Conservation Corp the previous summer. I decided I wanted to do something outside and conservation focused for the upcoming summer. So I googled “conservation corp” and ACE was one of the first to pop up. I saw the branches in Utah and Arizona and immediately applied.
Q: Walk me through your time at ACE – What was your favorite aspect of being an ACE Crew member?
A: I loved all the people and the sense of community. From the moment I walked into housing, I felt welcomed and part of the group. I met all kinds of people from all over the country. Also I got to see so many different parts of the Southwest that I never would have, if I hadn’t done ACE. I loved waking up in my tent as the sun was coming up, or sitting around playing games and laughing after dinner. It was very rewarding to feel like the work you did made a difference, then getting to cook and laugh with your friends afterwards.
Q: What was it like living in Flagstaff, Arizona? Any favorite activities? Hikes? What did you do on your off days?
A: One of my favorite activities I did while in Flagstaff was hiking Mt. Humphreys. I actually did it as a solo hike during my last set of off days. On most off days, I hung around Flagstaff or went on trips with friends. A group of us drove to Zion for a weekend, and another time we went camping just outside the city. One of the best parts of living in Flagstaff is that nearly everything is in walking distance. You could wake up and nearly always find someone in the house who also wanted to just go walk around.
Q: Did you have a favorite project? Why?
A: I have a tie for my favorite projects. One being the Bark Beetle project on Mt. Graham in the Coronado National Forest. We got to camp in this beautiful meadow and save a species of squirrel only found in that area. It felt like we were making a very direct and important impact. My other favorite project was the two backcountry hitches I did in the Grand Canyon. We got to camp at Tip Off and worked all the way down to the river. Hiking up and down the canyon all day was hard work, but getting to camp halfway down in the Grand Canyon was one of a kind. We also got to install check steps using Juniper logs and rock drills.
Q: What was the culture of your ACE division? How do you feel you participated in that culture?
A: It felt like a community. We were all proud to be part of ACE and proud of the work we did. I felt like I participated by also being proud of what we did. We all wanted to leave our projects feeling like we made a difference and a positive impact on the area we worked in. Then we would all come back to housing and share the silly stories or jokes that had happened during hitch.
Q: In what ways did ACE shape your life personally and professionally?
A: I realized I wanted to be in a field that worked towards making the environment better and more sustainable. I also met some amazing people that I still talk to today. I learned a lot about working as a team. All the people I met had such different backgrounds and such a variety of knowledge.
Q: How long have you been an ACE Alumni? Where are you now?
A: I have been an ACE Alumni for about a month. I am currently living in Denver, Colorado working for a solar energy company in Boulder, Colorado as an operations center engineer.
Q: What are some of your favorite extracurricular activities?
A: I spend as much time as I can snowboarding. I also love a good hike or camping trip with friends. I actually have a backpacking trip planned for a rim to rim to rim hike of the Grand Canyon in June so I am super excited to hike through areas I did trail work in.
Q: What excites you most about becoming an ACE Alumni Ambassador?
A: I am super excited to educate people about ACE, especially those who may have not realized it was something they could do. I know I wished I had learned about ACE earlier. I want others to have the opportunity to travel parts of the country they may have not been to before, and get to do work that makes the world a better place.
Q: If a prospective ACE member were to ask you what the benefits of joining ACE are, what would you say?
A: I would tell them that they will learn so many things beyond just what conservation is.
They will get to meet so many people who have all kinds of different knowledge. You also learn of different careers and ways to incorporate conservation into your everyday life. Also, getting to camp in so many different places and live in a new place is always fun.