Category Archives: Alumni Spotlight

Strong Presence of Successful MCC Alumni at Unity College Environmental Career Fair

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MCC Training Coordinator Amie Daniels with Alumni Jackie Stratton now of Coastal Mountain Land Trust

The Maine Conservation Corps (MCC), an AmeriCorps program through the Maine Commission for Community Service, housed in the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry was thrilled to connect with an abundance of MCC Alumni who identified as students, teachers, community organization and nonprofit leaders at the Unity College Environmental Career Fair.

As an AmeriCorps initiative, MCC is part of a nation-wide effort to bring volunteerism and positive impact to communities throughout the US. When taking on a term of service, dedicated individuals who are 18 and older dedicate anywhere from 300-1700 hours of volunteer capacity to identified areas of need. Once someone begins their term of service, the ever expanding network of Alumni continues to grow and make valuable connections.

This network of past members was ever-present on Unity’s campus, as current MCC Training Coordinator, Amie Daniels, met with dozens of  MCC alumni having served as recent as 2016 all the way back through 1998. “We had set up our table of information and were excited to be present with so many Environmental enthusiasts and organizations around us.” Daniels remarked, “Further than that, we were thrilled to discover that the table right next to us was actually being represented by MCC alumni, Jackie Stratton, who had served as an Environmental Educator just a few years back.” Stratton is now the Stewardship Project Manager for the Coastal Mountains Land Trust and relates her acquired skills, efforts and successes of her current position to have stemmed from her service with MCC. Continue reading Strong Presence of Successful MCC Alumni at Unity College Environmental Career Fair

Staying Connected: An Ever Expanding Alumni

Maine Conservation Corps, an AmeriCorps initiative, is part of a nation-wide effort to bring volunteerism and positive impact to communities throughout the US. When taking on a Term of Service, dedicated individuals who are 18+ dedicate anywhere from 300-1700 hours of volunteer capacity to identified areas of need. Once someone begins their Term of Service, the ever expanding network of Alumni continues to make valuable connections and grow.

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While serving, the Alumni network is available and teeming with interest to get involved in current opportunities. Directly after completing your term, the Alumni network offers support and guidance for translating acquired skills into your next steps toward an applicable career. Lingering over the many years after your term of service, you have an open invitation to continue to be involved with palpable, positive change as a member of the AmeriCorps Alumni.

We encourage you, share your insights, your volunteerism, your interest in making a continuous pledge to be involved. Your part as an Alumni is bright with connectivity, possibility and is available to you, always. Continue reading Staying Connected: An Ever Expanding Alumni

Alumni Spotlight: Lucien Langlois

We love hearing from our Alumni! For this blog post we are putting a spotlight on MCC Alum Lucien Langlois! He was an AmeriCorps Environmental Steward in 2015 and served a 900hr term of service (May to November) at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in Augusta. Lucien is now working at the DEP as an Environmental Specialist II!

How has your experience with the Maine Conservation Corps helped your career?

As an environmental steward, I gained insight into state agencies and made contacts in various fields. After my term with MCC was finished, I had more clear objectives for my career goals. I use skills that I learned at my host site in my current job.

What is your favorite memory from your time with MCC?

My favorite MCC event was the volunteer event that Portland DEP Environmental Steward Ling Rao coordinated. Environmental stewards and trail team members from MCC, DEP staff, and the public came together to help clean Bear Brook. We had a huge mountain of tires at the end of the day. At my host site I got to work with Leon Tsomides and Tom Danielson, which was always fun and a great learning experience. Thanks to Leon and Tom I was involved in many educational events throughout my term. Bug Maine-ia was my favorite event. We helped elementary age children identify aquatic insects and learn about stream ecology.

What is the most important skill or lesson you learned during your time with MCC?

I wasn’t exactly sure what I should after college. MCC gave me an opportunity to expand my skills in volunteer management, work with people in the environmental field, and grow as an individual, while having fun along the way. I’d like to thank MCC staff Krista, Deidrah, Sara and Jo for all their time and support!

Alumni Spotlight: Susan Pienta

Right now in Queensbury, New York, a group of students is studying the impermeable surfaces, water sheds, erosion, and storm water features of their campus. Soon they will be preparing presentations for the local soil and water conservation district, creating proposals for how to manage erosion and storm water issues on the grounds. Leading these students is their Earth and Environmental Sciences Teacher Susan Pienta. Susan has a Master’s Degree in education and is an AmeriCorps alumna who has served with the California Conservation Corps and Maine Conservation Corps.

Susan served with the California Conservation Corps as a part of the Watershed Stewards Program. After she heard about the Maine Program, she travelled here to serve with the Portland DEP office. Serving here brought her closer to family and allowed her to continue working on watershed issues.

Susan Pienta2.pngHer mentor was Wendy Garland of the Maine DEP. Under Wendy’s tutelage, Susan helped to remove invasive plants and map the urban Trout Brook watershed. “We fought off multiflora rose and phragmites while overheating in neoprene waders with boots 3 sizes too big. It sounds miserable, but spending the summer outside, getting to intimately know a small urban watershed, and regularly laughing at our misfortunes made for a good time. “

Susan loved the service she was doing but decided that she missed working with children and went back to school for her Master’s in Education. Her time with AmeriCorps has helped to shape her career. “What I have learned as an AmeriCorps will make me a better teacher. I believe my experiences helped me earn a fellowship with the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping new science and math teachers across the U.S.”

For current and future Maine Conservation Corps and AmeriCorps members she offers this advice: Take advantage of the opportunities for adventure and friendships with the wonderful people that surround you. “I was part of trip organized by fellow MCC environmental educators to Katahdin. It was definitely one of my favorite weekends in Maine with a group of awesome people. I also got to know people at my placement site and made some great friendships AND found someone to bike with on lunch breaks. Maine is a beautiful state filled with beautiful people. Get to know the state and the people! Eat lots of gelato! Trek across Maine! ”