Member Stories

Eco Rangers as told by David Rittenhouse

Interviewee: David Rittenhouse (Pictured in top right photo)AmeriCorps Youth Crew Leader Youth Outdoors/Eco Rangers Read More

Little Fork Blood Drive

“So you guys are here for the Little Fork blood drive.” Andrew, our project host, said as he led us back to his office to go over river maps with us. “The bugs are really bad at this time of year, and the Little Fork is about as remote as anything.”  Read More

Snakes and Buckthorn in Southeastern Minnesota

Lately my crew has been given the task of pulling garlic mustard. Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is from the mustard family (Brassicaceae) which is related to cabbage, horseradish, broccoli, ect. You can tell it is the right plant because when you rub its leaves between your fingers it smells like garlic. Garlic Mustard is an invasive species that is detrimental to the species richness of the area because it out competes all of the native plants. Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources have made great strides in removing garlic mustard by manually pulling in the spring and spraying them in the fall. They are easy to spot in the fall because they stay green after most things turn brown. Read More

Rain Garden Installation: Conservation Corps St. Paul Crew Edition

It took three full days of trial and error, ingenuity, and plain ol’ hard work to turn a soggy patch of sod into a mud pit that is just beginning to look like it could someday become a rain garden. On projects like this, it is simply amazing what a positive attitude and encouraging environment can provide. Sure, try that crazy but plausible idea. If I let you throw a mud ball at me, can I throw one at you?  Bob is covered in mud and has to run to the airport for a flight directly from work.  Bob forgot a change of clothes. Read More

Conserving Through Generations: A Home Away From Home

The original Civilian Conservation Corps represented more than just a job or a way to gain skills for future employment. For most enrollees, my grandfather included, it was a home away from home, a mini sub-culture of 18-25 year old boys who became co-workers, comrades, and family. The camps the enrollees lived in were similar to modern day military bases. Pictured here is a schematic of camp labeling all the buildings which used to stand there. Everything enrollees could want or need was offered in camp. They ate together, slept in the same barracks, and learned together in the schoolhouse. If they were sick they saw the camp doctor, if they needed cigarettes or snacks outside of meal times they were bought at the Camp Canteen. Read More

Summer Youth Corps Crew Training Begins

The Summer Youth Corps is made up of 137 youth, 26 AmeriCorps crew leaders, two swampers, two cooks and five head staff members. 30 percent of the Summer Youth Corps youth crew members and crew leaders are deaf and hard-of-hearing. Summer Youth Corps travels to various locations across Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota to manage natural resources and learn about ecology, Minnesota’s history and American Sign Language. Summer Youth Corps youth crew members come from diverse geographic locations, and this diversity of the program is what makes the summer unforgettable. Crew members also walk away with one of the greatest experiences of their lives. Read More