Which Conservation Corps did you work for, what was your position and when did you serve?
I worked for the Conservation Corps in Minnesota (CCM) in 2012 as a crew leader.
What did you love about your conservation corps experience?
So many things! The skills, knowledge and passion about the outdoors I acquired after the summer with CCM. The community that is built and the lifelong friendships that are made.
What is your favorite memory?
My favorite memory is sleeping on the beach on the last night of our spike in Apostle Islands. After two long weeks of working on our projects, we agreed to bring our sleeping bags out to the beach to wake up to the most breathtaking sunrise.
What skills/what did you take away from your conservation corps experience?
I will always cherish my experiences at CCM. Most importantly, I was able to learn and practice numerous skills and knowledge in trail building, environmental stewardship, backcountry, leave no trace, etc. Also, working with CCM gave me the knowledge and skills to continue educating and advocating for Deaf people within the outdoor field. With this particular experience, it opened my eyes to the fact that the outdoors is not 100% accessible to Deaf and hard of hearing individuals.
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I got my BA in International Studies from Gallaudet in 2013. I’m currently enrolled into the Adventure Education MA program at Prescott College. I started the program in the fall of 2017 and I am hoping to graduate by fall of 2020!
Why do you love the outdoors and what outdoor-related jobs did you have after working with Conservation Corps?
I have been passionate about the outdoors since a young age, especially coming from a family that is involved with agriculture and the outdoors. The fact that approximately 90 percent of Maine is forested, which is the highest percentage of any state in the country. This really did contribute to my overall experience of playing in the woods of Maine. I’ve always lived in an area with at least 3 to 4 acres of property – and my parents always emphasized the importance of playing outdoors and making sure we got our hands and feet dirty from the dirt. To this day, my experience of living in the woods really do contribute to who I am today. I did not fully discover this passionate of mine until I worked for CCM in 2012. After this, I dived into the experiences of outdoor education. After this one particular experience with CCM, I continued finding ways of how to stay outdoors by working with Aspen Camp, AmeriCorps, small local farms and the Green Mountain Lions Camp.
Are you involved with the outdoors while being in the MAE program?
I have gone on many hiking and backpacking trips. As of right now, I am planning for a week-long backpacking trip for the end of May. I have already established a few different backpacking and hiking trips for the months of April and May as well as throughout the summer. I am looking forward to all the trips. I have also been taking up indoor rock climbing to improve my techniques and skills.
I have also worked with Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the past year in terms to providing outdoor education and nature-based education for their preschool program. Currently, I am working on designing an after-school program for the middle and high school programs. My goal is to start a few after school programs before the school year ends! I have also been working on planning one Deaf adult overnight hiking trip at one of the Maine huts in Bigelow Preserve. I am also looking forward to starting my position as an outdoor ambassador with CorpsThat! I look forward to spreading my passion and knowledge of the outdoors to the Deaf communities in the Northeast region.
Do you have any current/ongoing projects you’d like to share?
There is an ongoing dialogue on how to create a diverse and inclusive outdoor education programs throughout the nation, and I am searching for ways to be a part of the dialogue. For my master’s thesis project, I am looking for ways to develop an Outdoor Education program for the Deaf population either from scratch or the possibility of working collaboratively with an outdoor education program that has already been established.
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