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With 80% of the U.S. population currently residing in urban communities, the challenge to ensure our natural resources are conserved and valued by the American people has become complex. To ensure that we nurture a new conservation constituency, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service must promote strategies to engage these audiences in meaningful, collaborative ways that build sustainable, broad-based support for the their mission. This increased focus on urban Refuges will shape the future of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in the years to come.
To check out the initiative and its standards of excellence visit: http://www.fws.gov/urban/index.php
Emily Long is currently serving as the annual Education and Restoration Specialist AmeriCorps member for the Friends of RNWR at the Refuge, coordinating volunteers and habitat restoration projects and leading nature hikes for school field trips. A native of Virginia, Emily grew up along the Appalachian Trail and recreated in as many ways as possible in the Blue Ridge countryside. After acquiring a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University she was looking for a place to land with greater environmental resources. A backpacking trip on the John Muir Trail in California quickly set things in motion and she soon found herself in the Pacific Northwest. She joined the AmeriCorps program to broaden her knowledge of the area and to gain a more well-rounded experience in the environmental field. Emily began her service at the Refuge October 1, 2014, and will serve 1,700 hours over 10.5 months.
In exchange for their full time commitment, AmeriCorps members receive a monthly living stipend and an education award upon successful completion of their service term The Refuge and the Friends of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge (Friends) are in their sixth year of sponsoring a full-time annual AmeriCorps position at the Refuge. In the past three years the AmeriCorps position of Education and Restoration Specialist has been provided through an agreement with the Washington Service Corps in Olympia with matching funding provided by the Friends and the Refuge. The Washington Service Corps is affiliated with the national AmeriCorps program and is administered by the Washington State Employment Security Department. The AmeriCorps individual placement program in Washington is available to youth members from 18-25 years of age.
AmeriCorps members typically remain actively engaged in their communities long after their service is complete. An AmeriCorps study found that AmeriCorps alums are more attached to their communities, aware of community challenges, and significantly more likely to go into public service careers. An example of this at the Refuge is a previous Ridgefield AmeriCorps member . who is now working as the Plankhouse Coordinator following her service in 2011-2012.
For more information visit: (http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps) and. (http://www.esd.wa.gov/washingtonservicecorps/ql-about-us.php)
See what is being seen at the refuge this week at Sightings
The Friends of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting educational programs, increasing public awareness and protecting and enhancing the natural and cultural resources of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Get more information. Become a member or renew your membership NOW.