Category Archives: Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer Spotlight: Father-Daughter Team

We would like to spotlight Paul St. Pierre for his volunteer efforts with our Field Team! Paul’s daughter Autumn is a MCC Field Team member, and Paul decided to spend Fathers Day with Autumn’s team in the Moosehead Lake Region. The team had nothing but great things to say about him! He even brought food to share, which is always appreciated!

Here is what Paul had to say about his experience:

What was your favorite part about volunteering with our Field Team? There were so many things that I got to see, learn and be involved in.  If I were to pick my favorite it would be how all th1e people are so different, in so many ways, yet they functioned as one unit.  Each having their own tasks, yet helping others when they saw it was needed.

What project were you helping with?  I had the opportunity to assist Autumn with building a retaining wall.  Many, many tasks were involved in completing this project.  From finding the correct sized and shaped rocks, to locating mineral soil and transporting it back to the trail with the use of just some hand tools and some old dirt bags.  The duty of crushing the rocks with a mash hammer was by far the most time consuming part of building the retaining wall which gave me a greater appreciation for the many trails I have hiked in the State of Maine. I also had the opportunity to remove large rocks from the path and clear the corridor by pulling stumps with the team.

Why do you think the work MCC does is important?  Maine has many beauties and MCC is allowing more people to be able to explore and see what our great state has to offer.  Not only the work that MCC does with the trails is important but the team building and broadening the minds of the team members/volunteers will make our state a better place.  The experience provides members with life lessons that otherwise might never be learned.

How do you feel about Autumn serving in AmeriCorps with MCC?  I could not be more proud, this is a great organization and I think Autumn is great for AmeriCorps with MCC.  The skills that she is learning this summer will help her for the rest of her life and will be shared for generations.  She has built quite a fan base among our friends and family, always questioning how she is doing, how far they have made it on their trail and always wanting to know more about MCC.

Thank you Paul for all of your help! We appreciate your support, and couldn’t be happier to have Autumn on our team!



Volunteer Spotlight: Coastal Studies for Girls

This past April, students from the Coastal Studies for Girls, took a trip to Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge to volunteer with the Maine Conservation Corps AmeriCorps Environmental Stewards, Katelyn Buttler and Emily Greene.

They were working at Skillings field in Scarborough which Rachel Carson NWR is using as habitat for New England Cottontails. It turned out to be a very VERY rainy, muddy, and cold day…but that didn’t stop these motivated girls! Katelyn and Emily were extremely impressed by their positive attitudes and determination as they worked through less than desirable conditions. We would like to feature the students of Coastal Studies for Girls in this Volunteer Spotlight!

We reached out to the Coastal Studies for Girls to see what they had to say about the experience:

Angie Blumberg:

What did you do at Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge? We planted live stakes of willow trees.

What was favorite part about volunteering at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge? My favorite part was having the people in charge be so passionate about what they think is important and really welcoming us to help them.

What was the biggest challenge and how did you overcome it? It was raining and cold and super muddy but to make the time go by we joked around and sang songs.

Why do you think it is important to protect our natural environment? It is important to protect our natural environment so that we don’t lose more and more animals.

Betsy Eames:

What did you do at Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge? We planted live stakes in ditches which we dug as well.

What was favorite part about volunteering at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge? How nice and encouraging the three people were who organized the project.

What was the biggest challenge and how did you overcome it? Staying motivated through the rain. My friends and I decided to sing really loudly.

Why do you think it is important to protect our natural environment? I think many people are unaware of their impact which causes them to leave a negative impact on our natural environment. Our natural environment is crucial for life and happiness and it is something that we need to help because too many people have damaged it.

Coastal Studies for Girls(CSG) is a science and leadership semester school for tenth grade girls. The school brings girls from around the country to the coast of Maine for the fall or spring term of their sophomore year of high school. CSG promotes girls’ aspirations in the sciences, and encourages them to create strong communities and a connected world. For more information, visit their website.

Big shout our to our Environmental Stewards, Katelyn and Emily, for creating such a fun and memorable experience for these girls! Great work!

Bringer of scones: October’s Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer of the Month

During the fall season, the Maine Conservation Corps is still hard at work on projects all across the State of Maine. Our members are also still actively working with Volunteers from local schools and communities.

October’s Volunteer of the Month is Jennifer Riefler from Verona Island. Jennifer has been helping Leah Beck’s Trail Crew on the Stuart Gross Trail on Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust’s 4,500-acre Wildlands property in Orland. Jennifer’s presence has been both educational and entertaining because of her developed story telling skills and extensive knowledge of ecology. Much to the delight of Leah’s team, she also brought them scones.

Jennifer RieflerJennifer has been a volunteer with Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust (GPMCT) for many years. She currently chairs the Stewardship Committee and plays an instrumental role in organizing all of their most important events. Cheri Domina, Executive Director of GPMCT, had this to say about Jennifer: “Her impact extends across Hancock County, from the Bucksport area to MDI, where she’s a science teacher at MDI High School and has inspired countless students to get outdoors. She’s currently working on a trail there that would connect the school to conservation land beyond.”

Jennifer has volunteered with the Maine Conservation Corps in the past, and her son served as a MCC Field Crew Member in 2005. When asked about Leah’s crew, Jennifer had this to say: “I have to tell you that you have a really fine crew out there on the Stuart Gross Trail. They are so welcoming and so competent and are working at a faster pace than we expected. They keep the office clean and tidy. Leah is a good crew leader; she keeps everyone focused and keeps spirits up.”

Jennifer’s experience with the land trust has left her with a very deep and heart felt connection to the land. “I love walking into the heart of the Wildlands, into the bottom of the Hothole Valley, at night in the late fall and winter, under the crystal clear night sky and the deep darkness all around, and listen for the coyotes. ”

Thanks to Jennifer and Leah’s crew for a job well done on the Stuart Gross Trail.

Volunteer of the Month, August 2015

August’s Volunteer of the Month is Jamie Coughlan from Augusta, Maine. Jamie is a close personal friend of MCC staff member Deidrah Stanchfield, and has joined her as a volunteer on several projects through the season. Most recently, he joined Deidrah and Environmental Steward Jordan Tate, at Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park. While there, he assisted Jordan in presenting an interpretive program to the public.

Jamie is originally from southern Maine and was educated at Pierre’s School of Cosmetology in Portland. In addition to helping in his community, Jamie enjoys reading and has read seven or eight books in the past month. Jamie is also a skilled cook, according to Deidrah he; “makes an amazing chicken casserole.”

We at the Maine Conservation Corps would like to thank Jamie for his participation and effort. MCC loves having volunteers of all ages! If you’re interested in joining one of our teams for a few days, please feel free to contact me, Dylan Cookson, at or call me at 207-624-6092.

July’s Volunteer of the Month

Volunteers of the Month for July

Billy Borden:


July’s Volunteer of the Month is Billy Borden of Pownal, Maine. During the month of July, Billy volunteered with Chantelle Hay’s team on the Appalachian Trail near Bemis Mountain. His work ethic and positive attitude left a great impression on Chantelle’s team.

The team members submitted numerous positive comments about Billy’s participation, calling him a diligent worker and a fast learner. “Billy Borden joined our crew for 5 days.  [He] did an outstanding job, [was] always willing to help, and learned fast!  It was a lot of fun working with him” said one member of the crew.

Billy’s mother, Tracy Borden, offered a bit of information about her son for this post:

Billy is a junior at Greely High School. As an 11 year old, he hiked Katahdin with his father and brother, which sparked a lasting passion for the Appalachian Trail. He was inspired to hike the trail by meeting other hikers and hearing their stories.  Volunteering with the Maine Conservation Corps seemed like a good way to give him an introduction to trail life. He is looking forward to hiking the 100 mile wilderness trail next summer with his twin brother.

Billy’s other interests include soccer, lacrosse, and running. He ran his first half Marathon in South Carolina when he was 14.


Honorary Mention:

While Billy Served on the Appalachian Trail, a group of five Boy Scouts joined David Hicks’ at Baxter State Park. These young men cleared trails for two days alongside David’s crew. The Boy Scouts of America have always been active participants in service work and the Maine Conservation Corps Looks forward to working with them again in the future. The Scouts in this troop came from all over the country. Their names are Zachary Bolen, Brian Ross, Graham Owings, Samuel Amick, and Jack Beckerley.

Thank you for all of your hard work!

Maine Conservation Corps Announces April Volunteers of the Month!

The Maine Conservation Corps is happy to announce that April’s Volunteers of the Month are Barbara and Charlie Grunden of Falmouth, Maine. The couple was nominated by Liz Deletetsky an Environmental Steward at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. Liz commented that the pair is known to “walk through ankle breaking terrain for about a half mile to get to the work site. They work hard and always have a great attitude.” Barbara graciously offered some fascinating information about their backgrounds:

Barbara has a history in science education and has studied general and natural sciences. After taking some courses at the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry, she became an Environmental Educator and Administrator at a small museum within the New York State park system.

IMG_1597The Grundens spent time in the Marshall Islands where Charlie worked as a high powered radar engineer. After two years overseas, they returned to Maine’s Downeast area. Barbara began volunteering with the Audubon Society and joined the Josselyn Botanical Society. Charlie finished off his career as the manager of the Columbia Falls Air Force radar facility where he worked with Over the Horizon Backscatter Radar. The couple moved to Southern Maine after Charlie retired at the age of 65.

Barbara has been an active member in the Plant Conservation Volunteer program since its first crew was established. She is active in monitoring vernal pools, New England Cotton Tails, Heron rookeries and invasive plants through Invasive Plant Atlas of New England. In addition Barbara is a Seanet volunteer and has been involved in surveys of dragonflies and butterflies. This year she began helping with the Maine Bumblebee Survey. She has been volunteering with Rachel Carson longer than she can remember and has been pulling invasive garlic mustard for as long as it has been there. Charlie is her constant companion on her expeditions and is in charge of the GPS and Camera.

The MCC offers many volunteer opportunities every year! If you are interested in volunteering with us, please check out our account on Volunteer Maine.

This Post Written and Prepared by Dylan Cookson: AmeriCorps Member and MCC Volunteer and Outreach Corrdinator

Contributions to the article made by:

  • Liz Deletetsky: AmeriCorps Member and MCC Environmental Steward at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
  • Barbara and Charlie Grunden