WELLS – An AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps team is helping improve trail safety and restore the native ecosystem at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve.

The team began work June 6 and hopes to have operations wrapped up in Wells by June 22, according to Kay Sides of Americorps.

The AmeriCorps NCCC team of 10 workers is from the North Central Region campus in Vinton, Iowa. and s working on effective management of the Yankee Woodlot, a demonstration forest serving as a community resource for best practices in the management of small forested lots.

“I’m excited to be serving in Maine because I’ve never seen the Atlantic Ocean, and work with the sponsor is a potential career choice for me,” says Makayla Meirick of Minnesota. “The area that we’re in is beautiful and I’m excited to learn about the area, as well as the unique ecosystems we’re working with.”

While in Wells, the team is thinning stands of Poplar and Bigtooth Aspen with the removed trees replanted where a visual buffer between nearby modern homes and Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve property is needed.

“It is also assisting the reserve to upgrade and improve facilities, organize storage facilities, patch and level walkways, clear and widen trails, all with the goal of providing a safe and functional space,” Sides said.

Service work being performed by AmeriCorps NCCC will benefit the community by drawing in hikers and other tourists. This will boost the local economy by drawing people to local businesses, she said.

The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve focuses on education, conservation, and research. They’ve worked in the area since the 1980s and since then have been expanding knowledge of coasts and estuaries with emphasis on ensuring healthy ecosystems. The organization is dedicated to researching and sharing the knowledge found in their research to help educate the public, as well as taking steps themselves to promote a healthy environment, and encourage those they educate to do the same.

“AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps and its FEMA Corps unit engages up to 2,800 young Americans in a full-time, 10-month commitment to service each year,” Sides said. “AmeriCorps NCCC members address critical needs related to natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, and urban and rural development; while FEMA Corps members are solely dedicated to disaster preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery work.”

The programs are administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service through its AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs and leads the nation’s volunteering and service efforts, she said.

For more information, visit NationalService.gov.

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