AmeriCorps: Why Do You Care About the Environment?

By Ted Randich, Huron Pines AmeriCorps Member

Hello! My name is Ted and I’m the newest blog poster (and Land Steward) here at Little Forks. I come to Little Forks through the Huron Pines AmeriCorps program, which provides service members to more than a dozen organizations and government offices in Michigan.

Coming to Little Forks and Michigan has been quite the experience– there are so many new people to meet and places to learn about. There are times when everything seems different, and that can be disorienting. I always find reassurance, however, in knowing that I have something extremely important in common with folks here at Little Forks. Even you, no matter who you are out there reading this post, most likely share this tenet: we care about the environment!

So it makes sense to begin my introduction with our commonality: why I care about the health of our planet. For me it began growing up in Newington, Connecticut, a suburb of Hartford. My childhood was spent building boats with my friends on Piper Brook (turns out all you need is plywood and caulk…lots of caulk), going for hikes on the Metacomet Trail with my dad (or “forced marches” as my brother and I affectionately called them), and making a yearly pilgrimage with my mom and cousins to Nickerson State Park on the Cape.

I went to college at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and spent the spring and summer of my junior year thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail (yes I got credit and yes I received a stipend for the project. Clark is amazing!). What blew me away on the hike (besides the endless panoramic views) was that the 2,000+ miles of trail I walked was on unbroken conservation land. I spent an extra year at school digging deeper into conservation, writing a research paper about land management strategies in Worcester.

Through all of these experiences I have developed an affinity for our natural world that extends beyond the science of biodiversity or carbon sequestration. For me, the objective need for good stewardship of our Earth has lined up with a deep personal relationship. I’m pretty sure that those two ingredients combine to make something called passion!

Anyways, I arrive here in Midland, ready to learn the ins and outs of Michigan (c’s that sound like w’s? Driving 72 mph is slow?), and pursue my passion with a year of service at Little Forks! I’ll finish by asking you the question I’ve asked myself in this post: why do you care about the environment, and why do you support Little Forks?

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