By Hayley Leonard, TerraCorps Community Engagement Coordinator
For the past year, I’ve been serving in an AmeriCorps position at Wildlands Trust as the Community Engagement Coordinator. My AmeriCorps program is called TerraCorps and was created with the mission of preparing and mobilizing emerging leaders to help communities gain access to and conserve land. The program works by partnering with community-based land-focused groups across Massachusetts, who then interview and offer positions to applicants of the TerraCorps program. Members serve in one of four, 11-month full-time positions; Community Engagement Coordinator, Land Stewardship Coordinator, Regional Collaboration Coordinator, and Youth Engagement Coordinator. This past year there were 36 TerraCorps members serving in communities across the state.
During my year at Wildlands Trust, I have had the opportunity to work on a wide array of projects. One that I had a lot of fun with was co-developing a volunteer hike leader program alongside the Outreach and Education Manager. The program was designed to train volunteers on how to safely and effectively lead and sweep hikes while representing Wildlands Trust. We held our one-day training in March, and as a result, now have 8 volunteers leading hikes for Wildlands Trust.
I will be staying with TerraCorps and Wildlands Trust for another year and continue working on programming. Doing a second year will give me the chance to finish some projects that I had started during my first year, like developing tours of some of Wildlands Trust’s most popular preserves. In the next year, I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the communities that Wildlands Trust serves.