Diversity of Service

By Ben Linthicum on May 15, 2017.

It is hard to believe that eight months have already gone by. Over this term I've had the pleasure of contributing to a Firewise program (helping to remove combustible forest materials from around people’s homes in the forest), treated hemlocks for the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, was trained in Wilderness First Aid and much more. And those don't even count things I’ve done in service to my host site, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.

One of my favorite service days was spent working in the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden in honor of National Volunteer Week. The garden has 70 rental plots, each of which donate 10% of their grown veggies to the community. Aside from these rental plots the garden also produces and donates around 4,000 pounds of produce each year. The Dr. John Wilson Community Garden works in partnership with Bounty & Soul - a grassroots, volunteer-run non-profit dedicated to creating a “health and wellness movement” in underserved communities in Buncombe County and distributes produce that is donated by local growers. Visit the ASAP website to learn more about this garden and how you can get involved: http://www.appalachiangrown.org/listing/show/314-dr-john-wilson-community-garden

On this service day, ACPC members split into two groups. One group helped with produce sorting, distribution and cleaning at a nearby garden market. The other group, which I assisted, stayed in the garden to help with tasks the garden manager had hoped to knock out for awhile. This group helped prepped potatoes for planting, another built a compost pile/bin, weeded several garden plots and took down a row of unused trestles to create more space for a new garden bed.

I am so grateful for all the wonderful service I have been able to contribute both at my host site and elsewhere. I’ll be sad to leave my position as the Land Stewardship and Volunteer Coordinator, and even more so to leave the amazing people I’ve worked beside. AmeriCorps Project Conserve is a great opportunity for someone looking to work at an environmental nonprofit in in Western North Carolina. Western North Carolina will always hold a special place in my heart and I’ll never forget my time in AmeriCorps Project Conserve.