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Where are they now? CCMI Alumni Highlight: Douglas Todey

Douglas Todey currently works at the Dickinson County Conservation Board as a Roadside Vegetation Manager. Douglas served in 2016 and 2017 with the Iowa Field Crew Program in partnership with the Polk County Conservation Board. Read on to learn about his experience during and after the Corps.

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

Prescribed fire, seed collection, invasive species removal, backpack spraying, timber stand improvement, trail construction, volunteer events, disaster response to Harvey in 2017.

Were there any particularly memorable or challenging experiences?

Responding to Hurricane Harvey in Houston was a very memorable and challenging experience. It was a very long month with only 3 days off and working 10 hour days, but it was extremely rewarding being able to help the survivors get to the task of rebuilding.

What was the most personally meaningful part of the experience?

Being able to see all of the changes we were able to make in a two-year timespan. Since I worked with the Polk County Conservation Board for my two years, I was able to see all of the areas we impacted over time and how much better we made those project areas.

How did your experience shape your career/life?

It led me to figure out what I wanted in my career. Partnering with Polk County Conservation [as a Corpsmember] made me realize how much I like working at that local level and doing natural resource work. I’ve stayed in the county system and now have a really great job working for another county conservation board.

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

Use this opportunity to find out what you do and don’t like to do. If you can use this opportunity to figure out that you love this line of work, use your contacts that you’ve made to find another job in this field. If you realize at the end of the year that you don’t like this sort of work, that’s just fine too. You’ve still had a great experience and made great friends as well.

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

I found another position with the Dickinson County Conservation Board in northwest Iowa as a permanent part-time Natural Resource Technician. I was applying to other full-time positions with other county conservation boards and other AmeriCorps programs but was unsuccessful in those searches.

What is your current position?

I’m now the Roadside Vegetation Manager with the Dickinson County Conservation Board.

What kind of work do you do?

I’m in charge of managing the vegetation for all of the county managed roads in Dickinson County. I’m in charge of invasive species removal, brush and tree removal, and native prairie restoration. We are planting 3% of our roadsides back to native prairie every year. I’m also the county weed commissioner so I respond to weed complaints from the public as well as answer questions about weeds, native prairie restoration, and other natural resource topics.