Butterflies, Buffers, and Bioswales: a Year in Stormwater

Article Author: 
Cassandra Davis, CAC AmeriCorps Alum 2016-2017

butterfly

On an early morning in May, I donned my monarch butterfly cloak with feathered antenna and headed out to talk to 900 excited raindrops about how wetlands improve water quality by removing pollutants.  Water Palooza was a station at WaterFest, a water quality festival for hundreds of students at Ijams Nature Center, where students pretended to be raindrops as they picked up metaphorical pollutants from urban, agricultural, residential and industrial stations. I was a wetland butterfly at the final station where the “raindrops” cleaned off their sediment, toxins, bacteria and trash. WaterFest was one of the many educational events during my term I will fondly look back on.  A year ago this would have been an anxiety inducing event for me. I wasn’t exactly a social butterfly before my AmeriCorps term. Being a Knox County AmeriCorps member has given me the confidence to pursue my career and personal goals.

 

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Small Access with Huge Impacts

Article Author: 
Deidra Rogers, CAC AmeriCorps VISTA Member 2017-2018

Since the start of my AmeriCorps VISTA journey, I have had an eager heart to serve and be of service to those who are in need.  What better way to do this than by assisting with making a difference in the life of a community helping individuals with their search for local jobs, or better yet, a career.

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Alternative Farmers’ Market Currencies & Local Businesses

Article Author: 
Sally Buice, CAC AmeriCorps VISTA Member 2017-2018

I’m spending this year serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Nourish Knoxville, a nonprofit organization working in the East Tennessee region to cultivate and support relationships between farmers, artisanal producers, and the community through outreach, education, and advocacy, and to build healthy communities through connections to local food. Nourish Knoxville runs three farmers’ markets throughout the year, so we spend a lot of our time working with small business owners who sell their products at our markets.

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Bridging Together Passion and Purpose

Article Author: 
Christine Doka, CAC AmeriCorps Member & VISTA Leader 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 in collaboration with Nicole Fernandez, CAC AmeriCorps VISTA member 2017-2018.

For over twenty years, CAC AmeriCorps has recruited groups of people to spend a year of their life in service to East Tennessee. In the past, CAC has hosted a robust State/National Environmental Corps. This year, twelve AmeriCorps VISTAs, or Volunteers in Service to America, were added to the mix. VISTA as a program has been around since 1965, engaging Americans of all ages in working with non-profits and government organizations to alleviate poverty; CAC’s VISTA members focus on creating healthy futures and economic opportunity.  VISTAs are different from State/National members in that they work behind the scenes building capacity for organizations by recruiting volunteers, securing donations and funding, and creating projects that help the organizations they support better serve the community.

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Expect the Unexpected with National Service

Article Author:
Lauren Parker, CAC AmeriCorps Member 2015-2016 ; 2016-2017

I wish I could say that my introduction to AmeriCorps was born from a burning desire to improve my community and engage in environmental service. It was the result of a hasty post-graduation job search as I knew my laboratory technician job at UT had an imminent expiration date.

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As a symbol, I can be incorruptible, everlasting.

Article Author:
Jason Scott, CAC AmeriCorps Program Director & AmeriCorps*NCCC Alum, 2006

After spending some time with Weasel the farm cat on a rainy Thursday morning in April, I had the opportunity to sit down with Adam Caraco, a 2008-2009 alum of CAC AmeriCorps and the Assistant Urban Agriculture Director of CAC Beardsley Community Farm in a barn filled with a variety of used, but obviously maintained farm and labor apparatuses.

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Dirty Hands, Clear Mind

Article Author:

Kellie Hill,  CAC AmeriCorps Member 2016-2017

CAC AmeriCorps has given me the opportunity to move to a city in which I never thought I’d live, and serve a community that has grown so close to my heart. I am incredibly grateful for the way that CAC AmeriCorps allows me to connect with a site so specific to my interests and passions, and the direction that it has given me as a recent college graduate. Because of my first service term in Knoxville, Tennessee at CAC Beardsley Community Farm, I have grown as a person and felt connections in ways that are irreplaceable. During my senior year of university as a geography student, I had many goals and ambitions for what I wanted to do with my focus in humanities. It is intimidating to enter the “real world” without much work experience in one’s field, and I feel that AmeriCorps is a great way for young adults to ask questions and gain insightful experiences.

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Searching for Certainty

Article Author:

Kevin Ridder, CAC AmeriCorps Member 2016-2017

Before I kick this post off, let me ask you my all-time least favorite question: where do you see yourself in five years?

If you think you know, congratulations! If you are now filled with a raw, seething hatred, you’re not alone. I couldn’t even tell you what I’m doing for dinner tonight.

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