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For the ninth year, Huron Pines AmeriCorps members are focusing their hearts, hands and talents on solving the toughest challenges in Michigan communities and for Great Lakes natural resources. Huron Pines AmeriCorps members are college graduates who apply to be placed with grassroots nonprofits and agencies all over Michigan. Through service they learn new professional skills, develop high-impact community programs and engage hundreds of volunteers in hands-on, feet-wet conservation projects.

These projects have stabilized eroding streambanks, replanted young jack pine forest, pushed back noxious invasive plants, improved wildlife habitat and expanded access to recreation in many ways and locations across our beautiful state. In addition to these on-the-ground impacts, Huron Pines AmeriCorps members also connect with thousands of K-12 students each year to provide environmental education programming to Michigan’s youngest citizens.

“A member’s impact at their host site has an amazing ripple effect,” explains Huron Pines AmeriCorps Coordinator Jennie Jandron. “Not only does it benefit our host site organizations directly by infusing them with fresh ideas and the ability to accomplish more, but it also provides high-quality training and professional development opportunities for the members themselves. This means that we have energetic and talented college graduates equipped with the knowledge to go on serving communities across Michigan, even after their service ends.”

Huron Pines Executive Director Brad Jensen adds, “We’re so proud that the Huron Pines AmeriCorps program is putting boots on the ground all over the state each year to tackle Michigan’s most important environmental challenges, and to leave a legacy of healthier lands and waterways for the public good. Investing in high-quality natural resources is so important in a state like Michigan, where public lands are our number one asset and lead to the great, up-north quality of life we all enjoy.”

In 2016, the Huron Pines AmeriCorps program is putting even more boots on the ground than ever—23 pairs, to be exact—making it the program’s biggest year yet! Members, who  began service on January 7, are placed around Michigan with host sites in Gaylord, Traverse City, Grayling, Alpena, Marquette, Gladwin, Oscoda, Petoskey, Lake City and Midland.

Gabriella Jukkala, a Huron Pines AmeriCorps member serving with Michigan DNR’s Gladwin office, explains, “I am excited for the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills I have gained from my previous employment to conserving the wild places, plants, and animals of Michigan that inspired my career.”

As the organization coordinating the program, Huron Pines recruits members to serve 10-month, full-time terms of community service—an average of 40 hours each week from January through early November. Huron Pines AmeriCorps is a program of Huron Pines and is supported in part by the Corporation for National and Community Service, Michigan Community Service Commission, Huron Pines and contributions from host sites. Huron Pines is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and an equal opportunity provider.

2016 Huron Pines AmeriCorps host sites:

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