RALEIGH -- Twenty AmeriCorps members will be joining the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to improve education and outreach efforts, thanks to a $256,956 federal grant received by the N.C. Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service in Governor Pat McCrory’s Office.
“Many North Carolina communities stand to benefit from the service projects we can accomplish with the help of these AmeriCorps members,” said John Skvarla, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “This program will enable DENR to more effectively reach our customers, empower these future leaders, and give them a greater sense of the value of public service.”
The 20 people joining DENR this fall are part of the Mountains to the Sea AmeriCorps Program, which is administered by DENR’s Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs.
The program will place the AmeriCorps members in nine North Carolina counties to increase environmental literacy and natural resource stewardship among communities in rural and underserved areas. The AmeriCorps members will perform many duties, including organizing and conducting public workshops on fish habitat issues for the Division of Marine Fisheries, presenting programs on wetlands for the Division of Water Resources, and maintaining trails and removing invasive exotic plants in state parks.
The AmeriCorps members also will work with the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina’s three state-operated aquariums, the divisions of Air Quality, Coastal Management and Environmental Assistance and Customer Service. Members also will work with the department’s Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program and the Office of Conservation, Planning and Community Affairs.
AmeriCorps is a domestic version of the Peace Corps. More than 5,000 AmeriCorps members have served in North Carolina since the program began in the early 1990s.