ACE in the Hole

An ACE volunteer works on a mountain side

This could be me–or you!

I have found something that combines my passion for conservation with the opportunity to make a difference in my country…now if only I got paid for it!

American Conservation Experience, or ACE, is a conservation program through AmeriCorps that trains volunteers to, according to their official site, “undertake practical environmental restoration projects in America’s national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other public lands.”

Starting in mid-May, I will be travelling to Flagstaff, AZ to work in either Flagstaff or in Hurricane, Utah for three months and will be doing an internship that entails hard labor conservation work.  I will have to adjust from my cozy life as a Winona State English major, where the most adventure I seem to have these days is translating Shakespeare into an English that I can actually understand, to living, breathing, and being outside 24/7.

According to ACE’s website, “ACE is grounded in the philosophy that cooperative labor on meaningful conservation projects fosters cross-cultural understanding and operates on the belief that challenging volunteer service unites people of all backgrounds in common cause.”

Their goal is to take public wildlife areas throughout the United States and put people to work on them in order to create bonds and life skills. I will have the opportunity to work with people from around the world and create networks with others that are passionate about non-profits and conservation.

AmeriCorps has loads of programs with different purposes and directions for the large variety of people in America.

According to AmeriCorp’s main website, “AmeriCorps engages more than 80,000 Americans in intensive service each year at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country,” and, “Members have contributed more than 1 billion hours in service across America while tackling pressing problems and mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve.”

​If you want to get involved with either of these programs or learn more information, see: http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps and http://usaconservation.org/.

–Sami Schwanke

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