National Service Expansion to Address Climate Crisis
Rural Action’s National Service program is growing.
The passion and hard work of our national service members have been instrumental in restoring 74 miles of previously dead streams to livable habitat, diverting 36,000 pounds of trash from landfills, and educating more than 86,000 people in Appalachian Ohio since 2016. “Getting things done for America,” is the motto of AmeriCorps, and we’re about to ramp up and increase our ability to “get things done” for our region!
Rural Action’s Appalachian Ohio Restore Corps (AORC) is working with ServeOhio, the Ohio Commission on Service and Volunteerism to grow from 41 National Service members to 70, an increase that will enable us to expand our work to address the climate crisis and increase community resilience.
“A vital part of climate mitigation in our region is going to come from people doing service,” says Johna Metcalf, an AmeriCorps member serving with Rural Action’s Northern Programs in New Philadelphia, Ohio. “People volunteering their time while being supported financially and professionally are going to save lives in the future and raise living standards. That is why service is so important to me, and why I am so thrilled to see Rural Action expanding its service programs!”
AORC places AmeriCorps members with organizations throughout the region, ranging from Camp Oty’Okwa to the Muskingum Valley Parks District to United Plant Savers. These members serve terms ranging from 9 weeks to one year and receive a stipend, benefits, and an educational award for their service.
On Raccoon Creek, AORC members maintain the doser that adjusts pH levels in the water, an initiative that has helped spur a dramatic return of aquatic life to the stream. During canoe floats and day camps, they teach children about the importance of the natural world. And at recycling events in Athens, Hocking, Perry, Tuscarawas, Washington, and other counties throughout the region, they collect tires, medical supplies, mattresses and various materials that can be recycled, reused, or upcycled rather than ending up in a landfill.
The AORC expansion will allow the program to continue these efforts – and more. The climate crisis will affect everyone and predictions show our region will experience increased flooding, potential crop failures, loss of biodiversity, and food insecurity. AmeriCorps members are rallying to address these impacts. AORC has already been a key factor in creating a food hub at Chesterhill Produce Auction that distributes fresh, local produce throughout the region, providing markets for local farmers and healthy food in areas that have been labeled “food deserts.” Bolstering these efforts will be a key part of the AmeriCorps expansion to address the climate crisis.
AORC is currently recruiting AmeriCorps members. Are you interested in joining the team? Learn more about the opportunity here: ruralaction.org/americorps
If you’d like to talk about other opportunities to get involved with AmeriCorps, contact Bryn Sowash.