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Where Are They Now? Alumni Highlight: Jessica Klutts

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Jessica is an Environmental Program Analyst at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Jessica served in the Conservation Apprentice Academy as the Traverse County Conservation Apprentice in the Summer and Fall of 2016.

The Conservation Apprentice Academy was a program from 2011 to 2018 that placed AmeriCorps members in Apprenticeships at Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs). Conservation Corps now places AmeriCorps members at Soil and Water Conservation Districts through the Individual Placements Program.

What kind of work did you do when you were in the Corps?

Land conservation projects with the SWCD in Traverse County, including planting trees and native grasses, mowing for maintenance, county fair presentations, public meetings about the buffer law, and consulting with landowners for CRP (Conservation Reserve Program).

Were there any particularly memorable or challenging experiences during your time in the Corps?

I learned how to drive a tractor and got really good at loading, backing, and pulling a trailer!

What was the most personally meaningful part of your experience with Conservation Corps?

The people I got to work with at the SWCD office. Their dedication to public service is something I carry with me today.

How did the experience shape your career/life?

It made me aware of real life challenges with implementing conservation practices and environmental regulations in general. It led me to pursue more field work opportunities since it was one of my favorite aspects of the position.

What advice would you offer to a current member serving in Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa?

Try to gain as many skills as you can while you’re around the professionals in your assignment, and ask a ton of questions about their careers. It will help you realize the possibilities of a career in the conservation field. Also, really get out and experience the area you’re assigned to in your free time. Go to local fairs, festivals, celebrations, and sights. It will make the whole experience more memorable.

What did you do immediately after your time in the Corps?

Worked in the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory as a molecular scientist.

Where are you now?

Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Program Analyst.

What kind of work do you do?

Air quality monitoring for the state of Missouri. We maintain an air monitoring network across the state by calibrating, checking, and repairing equipment that collects data on air quality and pollutants.

Thank you for sharing your experience Jessica!

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