We’re lucky to have a great group of AmeriCorps members working throughout the state to connect more people to the outdoors and environmental education. Our AmeriCorps Project GEOS (Growing Environmental Opportunities through Service) is thriving because these folks are so dedicated to public service. Their ten-month term of service continues until late January, and then a new team will begin February 1. Here’s a quick look at each of our talented AmeriCorps members.
Megan Berthiaume – Community Garden and Wellness Program Coordinator
Alliance Medical Ministry
Born and raised in Maine, Megan moved to North Carolina in 2014. After graduating from the University of Maine with a Degree in Nutrition she served one year as an AmeriCorps VISTA at a Community Farm in Massachusetts. She is now working at a non-profit medical clinic in Raleigh where she oversees a community garden and the clinic’s wellness programs. This position helps to improve the community’s health by providing exposure to agriculture in an urban setting where there is limited access to fresh, local, and organic produce. After completing her term of service she hopes to work with community or corporate wellness programs in order to improve the health of individuals in the community.
Cynelsa Broderick – Education and Outreach Coordinator
NC State University Sustainability Office
Cynelsa is serving in NC State’s Sustainability Office, where her role involves bridging sustainability and diversity initiatives on campus. She’s excited to be providing environmental education and connecting resources to underserved populations. A graduate of the University of Delaware with a degree in Environmental Engineering and a passion for the arts, she is interested in creatively working with communities and showing the importance of not only taking care of one another but of our environment as well.
Kalysha Clark – Stormwater Smart Outreach Coordinator
Piedmont Triad Regional Council
Kaly Clark grew up in Lexington, NC, the Barbecue Capital of the World. She attended North Carolina State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and a minor in Nonprofit Studies. She is the Stormwater SMART Outreach Coordinator at Piedmont Triad Regional Council. Following the culmination of her AmeriCorps term, Kaly will be returning to NC State where she will pursue her Masters of Science in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology. In her free time, she volunteers with her high school marching band and is learning German. In the future, she hopes to focus on wildlife conservation research and continue to educate people about coexisting with the natural world.
Erin Crouse – Community Partnership AmeriCorps Member
The Conservation Fund
Erin Crouse serves as the Community Partnership AmeriCorps member at The Conservation Fund, as part of a collaboration between The Conservation Fund, Conservation Trust for NC, and the NC Community Development Initiative to develop pilot projects around shared conservation and community economic development goals. Erin was born and raised in Western North Carolina, and even though growing up in the Blue Ridge Mountains instilled an appreciation in her for the natural world, she did not consider conservation as a career path until she was an undergraduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill, and spent her summers working as a camp counselor. She is currently finishing up a Master’s degree in Natural Resources at NC State University and has a strong research interest in citizen engagement in land-use planning processes. Outside of school and AmeriCorps service, she serves as chair of the Chapel Hill Parks, Greenways, and Recreation Commission.
Danielle Frank – AmeriCorps Member
Marine Quest (at UNC Wilmington)
Danielle grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina playing in streams and rivers. Yearly family vacations to different coasts led to her curiosity about the ocean and all of the living creatures it contains. Danielle has two degrees from UNCW – a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and a Master of Science in Environmental Studies, concentrating in Marine and Coastal Education as well as Coastal Management. She has years of experience teaching students of all ages both inside and outside of the classroom. After spending one summer with MarineQuest, she decided to serve as an AmeriCorps Member as MarineQuest’s Program Coordinator. Danielle has helped enrich the underserved communities of southeastern North Carolina during her service term. In her free time, Danielle can be found kayaking, enjoying the outdoors, reading, or spending quality time with friends and family.
Katia Griffin-Jakymec – Education and Outreach Assistant
Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership
Katia Griffin-Jakymec serves as Education & Outreach Assistant for the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership. She is a recent graduate of Duke University, where she studied International Comparative Studies and Documentary Studies, with experience in video production, audio documentary, and writing. She is eager to share the wonders and importance of the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system with new and underserved communities throughout the watershed and the public at large.
Amanda Miller – Community Engagement Specialist
NC Coastal Federation
In 2013, Amanda obtained a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Zoology with Youth Ministry and Chemistry minors from Olivet Nazarene University. Before joining AmeriCorps she interned with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Red wolf caretaker. She has found a home on the Outer Banks volunteering with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, NEST, and playing guitar in the worship band at Wanchese Assembly of God. Her current goal is to educate others on conservation to make life-changing events through one person at a time. She believes that her service with N.C. Coastal Federation through AmeriCorps will help her reach many people to bring life-changing benefits for our great coast.
Zachary Lee – Community Engagement Specialist
NC Coastal Federation
Zach is originally from Spotsylvania, Virginia and grew up vacationing throughout coastal North Carolina. In 2014 he moved to Carolina Beach, and in 2015 he became a member of AmeriCorps. His service is a 10-month commitment hosted by N.C. Coastal Federation’s southeast office in Wrightsville Beach where he is designing experiential education programs to engage the local community. He is an avid surfer, traveler, and lifelong learner.
Melissa Keeney – Outreach and Education Coordinator
Durham Public Schools Hub Farm
Melissa left her hometown in Maryland to study Environmental Technology & Management at NC State University in 2009 and has been working towards making communities around the Triangle more sustainable ever since. Her true passion lies with the local food movement and she’s ecstatic to have the opportunity to serve with student groups at the Durham Hub Farm. In addition to teaching students about local food production and environmental stewardship, she has been conducting community outreach to recruit volunteers and develop partnerships, scheduling student and volunteer groups, coordinating monthly workdays, creating monthly newsletters, and assisting in developing a core curriculum for the farm. Melissa is an artist and musician on the side and is excited to be showcasing her work around Durham this year!
Sam Stokes – Fire Safety Program Coordinator
Wake County Soil & Water Conservation District
Originally from Birmingham AL, Sam is working with the Wake County Soil and Water Conservation District to start a dry hydrant installation program, increasing fire safety and reducing insurance premiums for farmers. Sam most recently conducted prescribed burns and Longleaf Pine restoration with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and coordinated a film fellowship program with the Southern Environmental Law Center. Sam graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BA in Mathematics and Economics.
Alicia Vasto – Stewardship and Outreach Coordinator
LandTrust for Central North Carolina
During her service, Alicia is focusing on community outreach by developing the “Nature Inspires” Art Contest in Salisbury, and leading a Summer Paddle Series on various streams in The LandTrust’s 10-county region. She is also heading a park project in Star. Alicia returns to The LandTrust after previously interning with the organization during the summer of 2012 and completing her master’s project for The LandTrust, which was a management plan for its largest simple fee-owned property. Alicia received a B.S in Environmental Science from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University. She is an avid explorer of America’s national parks and forests, and in her spare time enjoys reading and yoga.
Erin Victor – Environmental Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator
Keep Durham Beautiful
A Michigan native, Erin Victor is serving as the Environmental Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator at Keep Durham Beautiful. Erin recently completed her M.S. in Conservation Ecology at the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) at the University of Michigan and has a B.A. in Health Sciences with a concentration in Environmental Sciences from Kalamazoo College. Her thesis research looked at the influence of livestock grazing on vertebrate diversity in Naxos, Greece. Prior to graduate school, Erin worked on a human-elephant conflict project in Ruaha National Park in Tanzania with Wildlife Connections. Erin is passionate about environmental conservation and environmental education.
Rebecca Walling – Education Outreach Coordinator
Balsam Mountain Trust
Becka Walling is the Education Outreach Coordinator for Balsam Mountain Trust. Her role is to expand education outreach in the community. She is working with the Adopt-A-School program in Jackson and Haywood County elementary classrooms, in addition to starting a new outreach program focused on monarch butterfly conservation and citizen science. Becka is an experienced field biologist, environmental educator, and outdoorswoman. She is passionate about working with all living things (but especially the maligned ones: invertebrates and fungi), and sharing her love of the outdoors with others. Becka holds a B.A. in Biology from Carleton College in Minnesota and an M.S. in Forest Ecology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
Seth Williams- Education and Outreach Coordinator
Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association
Seth Williams came all the way from Washington state to join the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association. Seth is helping ECWA pursue its goal of further involving the community in its programs and activities as well as helping develop their Environmental Education program. Seth recently finished a three-year Peace Corps service in the small West African nation of The Gambia. During his service, Seth supported small impoverished communities through environmental education, technical support, and other forms of community outreach.