Tag Archives: Cumberland River Compact

Cheers to the outgoing 2019-2020 AmeriCorps members!

It is hard to believe August is nearly halfway over, which means it’s time to say goodbye to the 2019-2020 HON AmeriCorps cohort. For the past year, the HON AmeriCorps program engaged 19 civic-minded individuals in a yearlong term of service at local nonprofits. They received skills training, professional development, and networking opportunities, while building programmatic capacity at the agencies they supported. 

Between the devastating March 3 tornado and the communitywide impacts of COVID-19, this has been a challenging year. These AmeriCorps members have proven to be creative, resilient, and impactful in the face of these challenges, and they stepped up to lead in a time of crisis in our community.  

Please join us in wishing them well and read on to learn more about their most memorable experiences and teachable moments, and how the nonprofiteers at the organizations where they served feel about them. We could not be more grateful for this group, and they will all be dearly missed!  

Let’s hear from the leaders at the agencies where they served  

Ellen Barker, Community Partner Engagement Leader at Hands On Nashville

“Ellen has been a true joy to serve alongside for the past year. Every aspect of our operation she’s been involved with has been improved. I cannot image the last year with her as part of the team. Her spirit and willingness to learn will be dearly missed.” — Drew Himsworth (Community Partner Coordinator, Hands On Nashville) 

Paige Dawson, Sustainability Outreach Coordinator at Tennessee Environmental Council

“Paige’s infinite positivity and incredible work ethic will certainly be missed here! Oh, and let’s not forget all the entertaining animal rescue stories … A compassionate spirit, that one.  Incredibly quick learning and efficient.” – Julia Weber (Program Manager, Tennessee Environmental Council)   

Mary Eaton, Volunteer Outreach Leader at Hands On Nashville

“When the tornado hit in March, HON was inundated with emails and social media messages from people wanting to help and looking for access to services. Mary helped our team navigate and respond to thousands of inquiries, all while working a second job. She brings levity and humor to everything she does, and we’re so excited to see what her future holds!” — Lindsey Turner (Director of Communications, Hands On Nashville) 

Hayley Elliott, Volunteer Project Leader at Hands On Nashville 

“Hayley is a wonderful team member — always up for a challenge (hello, chainsaw!), ready to pitch in and work wherever needed, warm, funny, dedicated, and thoughtful about how she carries out her responsibilities. We’ll miss her terribly. She’s going to be a great success in the field of nonprofit management, and anyone who works with her will be fortunate to have her!” – Karin Weaver (Corporate Project Manager, Hands On Nashville) 

Samantha Estes, Citizen Science and Volunteer Restoration Project Coordinator at Harpeth Conservancy

“Samantha has been a pleasure to work with during her time at Harpeth Conservancy. Her passion and work ethic helped us develop a well-rounded volunteer engagement program and communication strategy.” — Ryan W. Jackwood, Director of Watershed Science & Restoration

Katin Liphart, Watershed Education and Renewal Coordinator at Richland Creek Watershed Alliance

“All programs outcomes and outputs have close to doubled with Katin on our team. She brought skills, commitment, team work, dedication and enthusiasm the position.” — Monette Rebecca (Richland Creek Watershed Alliance)

Ezra Schley, Sustainability Outreach Coordinator at Tennessee Environmental Council

“Ezra is one of the hardest working individuals we’ve ever gotten the pleasure of working with. He maneuvered through these trying times with grace and confidence.” — Julia Weber (Program Manager, Tennessee Environmental Council) 

Alex Stark, Environmental Education Coordinator at Cumberland River Compact

“Through her service term with the Cumberland River Compact’s education programs, Alex taught over 1,300 students across our region about the value of our water resources and inspired the future water stewards. Her contagious enthusiasm, creativity, and can-do attitude were an important asset to us in these changing times and she will be missed next year. Thank you, Alex!”  — Catherine Price (Education & Outreach Manager, Cumberland River Compact) 

 Matt Trotsky, Stream Restoration Coordinator at Cumberland River Compact

“Matt’s can-do attitude was a welcome addition to our AmeriCorps team. His willingness to jump in and help was always a welcome sight during the past year!” — Gray Perry (Program Manager, Clean Streams) 

Dylan Vines, Urban Tree Coordinator at Cumberland River Compact

“Dylan is a hard worker who takes initiative, and everyone who had the opportunity to work with him — staff, community volunteers, and more — enjoyed his easy-going nature and professionalism.” — Meg Morgan (Campaign Manager, Root Nashville) 

Let’s hear from the members themselves 

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Meriweather Bean, Community, Education & Outreach Coordinator at Harpeth Conservancy

“My favorite memory was seeing our Fall Wild & Scenic Film Festival come to fruition. This was really my first major responsibility in my service year and a great learning experience in event organizing, but also organizing with community partners. It was very rewarding to see it become a success and gave me confidence continuing through my service year.” 

Lexi Bolinski, Volunteer Project Leader at Hands On Nashville

“Serving alongside fellow AmeriCorps members and staff at Hands On Nashville during tornado cleanup efforts was by far the most memorable and life-changing moment of this year of service. Being able to assist those impacted by the disaster while learning from the talented staff at HON was an experience unlike any other.” 

Amber Lopatine, Urban Forest Strategic Initiatives Coordinator at Nashville Tree Foundation

“The most rewarding part of my service year was helping with the tornado relief efforts. It was really impactful to see so many people come together during this time and lend a hand in whatever way they could.”

Jasmine Lucas, Communications & Community Engagement Coordinator at Plant the Seed

“I’ve learned about a variety of stages nonprofits can operate out of. Rolling with the punches is a MUST when serving with nonprofits, but it is quite rewarding in the end when everyone takes on the punches and powers through together. You see the resilience of community through nonprofits.” 

Ben Piñon, Disaster Response Coordinator at Hands On Nashville*

Ben speaks on his favorite memory: “During the tornado response as I was walking the streets directing volunteers, I got a call from a guy offering his assistance including some heavy machinery he had. When he said he was from Maryland all of a sudden, I was speechless. He said hello a couple of times thinking the call had dropped. I told him I was just at a loss for words, touched that people wanted to come help from so far away.” 

*Ben also served with Plant the Seed but transitioned to HON when schools closed in the spring as a result of COVID-19.

Lily Sronkoski, Garden Programming and Partnerships Coordinator at Plant the Seed

“I thought I was adaptable before this year, but I was wrong. I truly learned how to be adaptable this year.” 

Jessa Tremblay, Programming and Partnerships Coordinator at Plant the Seed

Jessa speaks highly of her time serving over the course of the year: “Kids are hilarious. The things they say to you are so bizarre, but so wonderful. It was absolutely wonderful getting to know my students over time and I always went to work grateful that I was getting to teach them and get to know them better.” 

Haley Tucker, Citizen Science & Restoration Coordinator at Harpeth Conservancy

When asked what new skills she learned: “Website building/design, volunteer organization, science/restoration, etc., all of which can be carried into future jobs.” 

A day on, not a day off: Spend your MLK Day helping others

This year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 20 marks the 25th anniversary of the day of service that celebrates the civil rights leader’s life and legacy. Observed each year on the third Monday in January as “a day on, not a day off,” MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

Below we’ve rounded up a list of MLK Day service projects led by HON AmeriCorps members. (To view a full list of HON’s January opportunities, click here.)

If you serve on MLK Day, we want to know! Share your stories on social media using the hashtags #MLKDay and #DayON25.

Pick up litter to keep waterways clean
Richland Creek Watershed Alliance
Minimum age: 18, or 12 with an adult
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20

Collect your free, reusable #grabthelitter bag and volunteer with Richland Creek Watershed Alliance (RCWA) and pick up litter along the Richland Creek Greenway or in your local neighborhood. Learn how to prevent litter from washing into local streams, creeks, and rivers, and reuse your #grabthelitter bag to continue volunteering all year long.

Assemble furniture for McGruder Family Resource Center
Hands On Nashville
Minimum age: 18
When: 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, Jan. 20

Build lounge and rocking chairs, side tables, and storage units to help McGruder Family Resource Center spruce up their patio and computer lab areas. These items will allow for easy organization of supplies and offer families that frequent McGruder comfortable places to relax and work. Volunteers should wear closed-toe shoes and dress comfortably.

Plant a tree and beautify an assisted living center
Cumberland River Compact
Minimum age: 18 or 1 with an adult
When: 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, Jan. 20

Get ready to get a little dirty and plant some trees with the Cumberland River Compact. Gloves, tools and snacks will be provided. Volunteers are asked to wear closed-toe shoes and bring reusable water bottles.

Round up and recycle with Oak Hill residents
Tennessee Environmental Council
Minimum age: 18 or 12 with an adult
When: 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20

Help educate and assist residents of Oak Hill in recycling at The Tennessee Environmental Council’s recycle round up. Residents will learn about their community’s recycling policies and help residents sort their hard-to-recycle materials (like computers, clothes, and phones.) Volunteers will monitor the recycling and composting stations, and help participants unload recyclables from their vehicles.

Provide shade and filter pollution by planting trees
Nashville Tree Foundation
Minimum age: 16 or 6 with an adult
When: 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18

Trees are being planted at three different Metro Nashville Public School locations in East Nashville. (See the separate registration pages in the link above!) This event is an annual, family-friendly tree planting with the Nashville Tree Foundation. These trees make Nashville a greener community by creating an oxygen-rich environment, and reducing flooding by absorbing great amounts of ground water.

Donate needed items for young adults experiencing homelessness
Hands On Nashville
Minimum age: 18 or 1 with an adult
When: Ongoing though Jan. 17

It only takes a few minutes, but donating electronics, art supplies, personal care items, bottled water, and gift cards can have a big impact for those served by Nashville Launch Pad. Items can be donated at the Hands On Nashville office, 37 Peabody St., before Jan. 18. Read the full list of requested items here.

 

 

AmeriCorps Member Spotlights: Chandler Kucera, Georgia Caplen, and Ross Miller

It’s day two of AmeriCorps Week! To celebrate, we’re highlighting members of the HON AmeriCorps program, who are completing yearlong terms of service at nonprofit agencies across Nashville.

Today we feature three members serving with Cumberland River Compact, whose mission is to enhance the health and enjoyment of the Cumberland River and its tributaries through education, collaboration, and action.

Chandler Watering Trees

Chandler Kucera

Urban Tree Project Coordinator

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding?

Being able to plant numerous trees across Davidson County has been extremely rewarding. Actually being able to see your accomplishments and the progress that each tree is making is a great feeling. Also knowing that this may inspire others to help change their communities is very rewarding as well.

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?

I was drawn to AmeriCorps because it is a great opportunity to be a catalyst for change in your community. It is more focused on helping others rather than serving yourself, and that has been a nice change of pace from my previous experience.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term?

My plan is to look for a job that has a similar goal to the AmeriCorps program. I want to continue to help make change in my community and the environment, and will eventually go on to graduate school so I can learn more about my specific field and have an even larger impact.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering?

When not serving I love to be outside: Biking, hiking, kayaking, and swimming are some of my favorite activities. I love music, both playing and listening, as well as reading. I also enjoy spending time with family and friends as much as possible.

 

georgia tabling

Georgia Caplen

Rivive! Nashville Project Coordinator

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding? 

I recently collaborated with Patagonia Nashville and local artist Bryce McCloud for their new store’s grand opening weekend. I helped Bryce collect inspiration and materials for an art canvas focused on local environmental awareness that will be displayed in the store’s front entrance window for the next few months. It was rewarding and intriguing for me to plan a project with a company like Patagonia. I have always been inspired by their sustainability- and environmental-awareness initiatives. This opportunity was particularly rewarding because this specific art project helped inspire local customers to think about Nashville’s waterways with a new perspective.

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps? 

I was drawn to serve with AmeriCorps after seeing the direct impact service projects can have within a community. I spent my senior spring break with the nonprofit North Carolina Coastal Federation and, after engaging with the staff and the current AmeriCorps stationed there, I felt that serving as an AmeriCorps was a promising and positive next step after graduation.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term? 

After my service term, my plan is to find an internship related to coastal conservation or environmental planning to gain experience within the environmental field and then attend graduate school in the following years.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering? 

When I am not serving with my nonprofit, you can find me exploring a new hiking destination in Tennessee and the surrounding areas! In the new year, I began the 52 Hike Challenge, where every week I set out to find a new hiking adventure and then share my experiences on my personal hiking blog.

 

ross

Ross Miller

Urban Streams Coordinator

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding? 

We have a series of volunteer cleanups planned around the state throughout April and the first two Saturdays of May. Preparing for what surely will be one of the most difficult and successful projects the Compact has undertaken is an incredible learning experience for me.

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps? 

My passion for the outdoors led me to serve with the Compact, which is driven to enhance the lives of millions of Tennessee residents and to keep this area beautiful.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term? 

To take the next step for a career in environmentalism, preferably following a path regarding climate action.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering? 

Getting to know and explore Nashville and the surrounding area.

 

 

 

Mayor Announces City’s First Green Alley Project

Volunteers Needed to Plant Rain Gardens to Help Restore, Sustain the Health of Flood-Impacted Waterways.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Karl Dean announced today that Nashville is undertaking its first Green Alley, a project where volunteers will plant rain gardens along alleyways to help restore and sustain the health of waterways that were damaged with debris and erosion during historic flooding in May, 2010. The project also makes alleyways more walkable and safe.

Renderings created by Landscape Solutions — LandscapeTN.com
Renderings created by Landscape Solutions — LandscapeTN.com

The project will take place in The Nations, which was one of the neighborhoods heavily impacted by the May 2010 flood, and will be completely free to participating households. Partners for Nashville’s first Green Alley Project include the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods and Impact Nashville, Hands On Nashville, Cumberland River Compact and Metro Water Services. Continue reading Mayor Announces City’s First Green Alley Project