Whenever someone asks me the question "Where are you from?", I like to point to my Ford Windstar parked outside. Though I am a native of Ohio; for the past five years, my life has been mostly lived on the road, traveling from one project to another. Upon graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2007 with a degree in History, I found myself asking the same question that I asked when I started college, 'what do I want to do with my life, now?'
To begin to answer that question, I joined up as a Corps Member with AmeriCorps NCCC in Sacramento, CA. After two years of building houses and playgrounds in New Orleans, coordinating logistics in Mississippi, and fuels mitigation work in South Dakota and California, I found my answer in national service and conservation.
I first got involved with SCA as a Project Leader in 2010 on the Angeles National Forest (http://www.thesca.org/angelesnf ), leading a crew dedicated to helping the forest recover from the Station Fire of 2009. Since then, I bounced around to work on a variety of other projects, such as building mountain bike trails in Utah, restoring desert wilderness areas in Needles, California, leading college spring breakers in central Florida, and chainsaw work on OHV trails for the Rio Grande National Forest in Colorado.
In fall of 2011, I took a break from the nomadic life and settled down in Durango, CO serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA for Southwest Conservation Corps, supporting their grant writing, marketing, and youth programming projects. For a time, I thought I would never pick up a pick maddock again, and that I had become desk jockey for good. One phone call changed all of that. After I got a call from SCA offering me a chance to be a part of the Desert Restoration Corps, I packed up my van again and hit the road for Ridgecrest, CA.
The thing that I love about programs like these is; that you can take six strangers from across the country, pack them up in a truck and head off into the desert for twelve days (without a shower), and put them to work on a project they have no experience doing; and they will not only excel at the project, learn how to live with each other, but also make an real impact in the community they serve.
Its going to be a blast.