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Time to say goodbye

by Caroline Fazzio, central district crew leader/ AmeriCorps member

As the year comes to a close, so too do the many service terms of Corps members all over the Midwest. While some rest in the assurance of returning for another term, others look ahead to futures beyond the Conservation Corps. As for myself, after over two years, I am hanging up my Corps hat/helmet and saying goodbye to the Conservation Corps. My future contains many question marks, but I’ll certainly carry my experiences in the Corps forward into that unknown. Looking back, my service with the Corps has been anything but conventional (two IP positions, one disaster response, a part-term on two different field crews, a full-term as a crew leader during an experimental crew restructuring, etc). To commemorate this experience, and because pictures are worth a thousand words (or so the saying goes, I think), here is a simple collage of photos from all my service terms. Thanks for the memories Conservation Corps!

The best before and after photos I could find. Removing invasive oriental bittersweet.
Photo credit: Missy Anderson, Three Rivers Parks District

Saving trees by building fire lines around them in preparation for a prescribed burn.

Crew member chainsaw training. Very snowy, very exciting.

Installing temporary roof tarps on wind-damaged homes in Florida after Hurricane Irma. Part of CCMI disaster response.

Ice-coated prairie grasses during a tour of a DNR Scientific and Natural Area.

Transitioning seasons—fall colored leaves resting on the edge of a lake beginning to freeze over with the winter cold.

The coming of spring to Tettegouche State Park. Captured during an IP retreat.

Recently planted trees. This year my crew helped Three Rivers Forestry plant over 9,000 trees for reforestation efforts.

One of the many beautiful days working outside with the Corps. Not everyone’s “office” is a cubicle, and ours have better views.

I rarely take selfies, but when I was handed an underwater camera and told to swim around taking photos, I couldn’t resist. For context, this was during a scuba search for invasive zebra mussels.

Sometimes shenanigans happen and forts are built.

Conducting a prescribed burn to prepare a site for planting. Here I’m using a drip torch to ignite a fire line.

Winter prairie at Lake Rebecca Park Reserve, part of the Three Rivers Parks District.

Hand removing invasive starry stonewort while working with the DNR’s aquatic invasive species team.

All in a day’s work.