The Environmental Center Welcomes AmeriCorps NCCC Team

You may start to notice some new faces around The Environmental Center this spring! We’re proud to be sponsoring a team of nine AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) members over the next two months.

The AmeriCorps team is in Bend to assist primarily with The Bend Energy Challenge, in addition to other Environmental Center conservation, sustainability, and stewardship initiatives.

AmeriCorps NCCC is a full-time, team-based residential program for men and women ages 18-24. Teams work in partnership with non-profits, local municipalities, government, national and state parks, Indian tribes, and schools to complete service projects throughout communities across the United States. Service projects, typically lasting six to eight weeks, address critical needs related to natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development. Prior to arriving in Bend, our team of nine served in Tacoma, WA doing environmental work including invasive species removal, steam restoration, and working in community gardens.

20150402_154616Each member has a unique background and skill set – and collectively, they will be a tremendous asset to our organization this spring. “They will be experts on The Bend Energy Challenge in no time, and will be reaching out to our community to spread awareness, gather pledges, and ultimately help us win the $5 million,” said Lindsey Hardy, Project Director for The Bend Energy Challenge. “We look forward to sharing the Bend community with this AmeriCorps team, and we’re excited to extend our reach and visibility through their hard work.”

As a sponsor, The Environmental Center requested the assistance of AmeriCorps by submitting a project application to the Pacific campus. We worked with this campus to complete the application, develop a comprehensive work plan, and prepare for the arrival of AmeriCorps members in Bend. The team hit the ground running this week with lots of hands-on training, including a mock energy audit with Green Savers, a presentation on solar from Sunlight Solar, a tour of the Learning Garden, and a trip to Salem for the Oregon Green Schools Summit.

“Our team is very excited to be working with The Environmental Center. The staff has been so welcoming and has taken a huge interest in getting to know us,” said Zach Zacchero, the team’s Media Representative. “We’re really looking forward to making an impact on Bend and educating people about saving energy.”

Outside of work, the team is excited to get to know the community and to spend a lot of time outside doing activities such as whitewater rafting, caving, and hiking.

If you see the AmeriCorps team at an upcoming event be sure to say hello!