Sunday, March 6, 2016

River Steward in the "Real World"

My name is Megan Guy. I am a part of the 2015 River Steward cohort. My experience in River Stewards has opened doors to many unique opportunities.

   After graduation, I headed to Kenai, Alaska and worked as the Stream Watch Intern for the Kenai Watershed Forum. Each year, the Kenai Watershed Forum partners with the US Forest Service and local agencies to host a volunteer program for the community called Stream Watch.

  In Alaska, salmon fishing is huge. As a result, many people come from near and far to utilize the amazing fishing areas. Consequently, there is a great amount of degradation to the banks of the rivers and natural lands which effects the salmon habitat as well as other wildlife. The goal of the Stream Watch program is to have volunteers as a presence on the highly used fishing rivers during the summer. When out on the rivers, volunteers do a variety of tasks from picking up trash, talking to anglers about fishing regulations, putting up temporary fencing along river banks, erosion control projects, beach clean ups, and collecting fishing line. In 2015, volunteers contributed 1,400 hours on the rivers, spoke to over 5000 anglers, installed over 2 miles of temporary fishing, collected 1,800 lbs. of trash, and collected 150 lbs. of fishing line. These volunteers truly make an impact! This program has been going on for 21 years and continuing to go stronger each year. My position was helping coordinate, recruit, and make a difference with these folks. It was been an experience that I will never forget! A community coming together can make a world of a difference!

   Currently, I am in New Hampshire doing a 10-month Americorps position through the Student Conservation Association (SCA) where I serve as a Conservation Steward. I am a part of a team of 30 passionate individuals who work and live together. We all are 20-25 in age and come from varying backgrounds ranging from theater to finance to the sciences.

   Everyday is an adventure at Bear Brook State Park. We live in community in non-electric cabins and have a lodge with a kitchen, bathrooms, and limited WiFi. We spend most of our time in the lodge reading, playing instruments, playing board games, and doing lesson planning. If we aren't in there, we are out in the park making igloos, having snowball fights, or on hikes.

   We are currently teaching environmental education in the schools. In small groups, we create a 10-week curriculum teaching over 1,000 kids in the Manchester area about our natural world. Once school lets out, we do trail work and assist the state parks in maintaining their recreation areas. This will result in the creation of many shelters, bridges, and new trails by the end of October. 
   So far, it has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences to be a part of this group. I have gained amazing skills in environmental education and team building and there is much much more to come. I'm excited to see what the future has to hold!

   River Stewards has inspired my passion to learn, explore, and protect our natural world. I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to explore this passion further through this position!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.