As my service term as a Huron Pines AmeriCorps member with Little Forks Conservancy ends, I’ve been thinking about all that I have accomplished. Overall, it’s hard to sum up all of the great experiences I have had in my 10 months in the Midland area. From kayaking down the Cedar River to meeting Joey Chestnut to learning to fly fish and restoring habitat for the endangered Michigan Monkey Flower, and even having a live TV interview with WNEM, I can say I did it all, or a whole heck of a lot at least.
I also got to participate in vernal pool monitoring, something I had not been familiar with before. It was so exciting to have an entire community suddenly revealed to me that I had no clue existed. I loved collecting data and getting into the vernal pools. I saw fairy shrimp for the first time while hearing wood frogs and discovering salamander egg masses. It is the most scientific I have felt while simultaneously feeling like a child playing in a giant puddle.
Another part of my service was planning the biannual MiCorps Stream Sampling events and the Cedar River Cleanup. Getting to engage community members as citizen scientists and seeing the results of their work was extremely gratifying. However, some of my favorite parts were simply meeting volunteers while exchanging stories about how our love for nature grew.
My service with Little Forks Conservancy will always mean a lot to me. I was able to gain invaluable skills and experience in the conservation world, but I also met even better people. It simply would not be the same without the amazing staff who supported me and the welcoming board who made me feel right at home. Not to mention the volunteers that made me realize the importance of passion and the need for volunteering in our communities. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and I know anyone who decides to spend time with Little Forks, whether it be a hike at one of the preserves or as a volunteer, will share that sentiment.