I’m back for another term with Conservation Corps! I was happy to accept a crew lead position in Rochester, MN. This is a pretty big change from working in the North District based out of Duluth in 2021. I will miss being up north by the big lake, but there are many things that I am looking forward to this term serving in the South District.
This year I am truly excited to be a crew leader. I had a wonderful crew leader last year (thanks for an amazing year, Amina Kovacevic), and I hope to provide the same experience for crew members I serve alongside this year. Crew leading is also going to challenge me in new ways. Even though I may regret saying this down the road, I look forward to working through those challenges and learning from them. I also have had a few extra training sessions this year that I did not have in my crew member term last year. These training sessions include wilderness first aid, Chemical Applicators Licensing, leadership, and justice and equality training. I look forward to using these training sessions this year to help me and my crew overcome obstacles that come our way.
I am also looking forward to working in a new area. The different landscapes and ecosystems of southern Minnesota will provide new experiences and some new projects. From what I have heard, this area has the most diversity of reptiles and amphibians in all of Minnesota. Apparently, there are even native rattlesnakes in certain areas (although I plan to avoid them if I can). I also am looking forward to working in the bluffs and prairies that southern Minnesota is known for. From what I understand, many of the projects that I will be a part of will be very similar to ones I have done in the past (invasive species management, prairie restoration, trail maintenance). But there are a few new project opportunities I hope to take part in – like prescribed burns and some wildlife management activities.
Lastly, I am excited to work and collaborate with a variety of people. A few folks I knew from last term and others are new to the corps. I may also work with some of the same project hosts or wildland firefighters from my last term, but I will most likely be meeting a whole bunch of new conservation professionals. I have so much to learn from all of these individuals. I am stoked to have them be a part of my Conservation Corps experience.
So, here’s to another year! I look forward to sharing my experiences with you!