Imagine a group like the Peace Corps that, instead of focusing on international issues, puts its effort into domestic problems.
For example, instead of providing clean water for third world countries, they clean wells for low-income rural homes in Michigan.
The mental image you just conjured is actually a real entity, it’s called Americorp. Jennie Jandron is a spokesperson for Americorp. She said the Peace Corps comparison is apt.
“Lots of people have heard of the Peace Corps, and while Americorps is all about service, we have our programs right here in the United States. So some focus on natural disasters, some focus on healthcare, and our program happens to focus on the environment.”
Jandron said Americorp is doing it’s best to turn Michigan citizens, into citizen scientists by working on projects everyone can wrap their heads around.
She said the projects Americorp undertakes are usually things with a far-reaching benefit.
“A lot of our projects are on the ground. We gather a group of volunteers and we usually will improve public land. We might remove invasive species, reduce erosion into streams, we create better habitat for wildlife, create better habitat for hunting and also anglers on the river, so lots of different on the ground projects.”
Jandron said Americorp is focused not only on addressing problems, but on education as well.
She said the group can be a good launching pad into a person’s favorite field of study.
Americorp works with college grads, community residents who just wanna contribute, and even kids in grade school.
Jandron said one example of Americorp’s classroom work came after a concerned group of citizens told Americorp their river was eroding too quickly.
“So we contacted a local classroom, took them outside, showed them the problem, figured out if there was anything we could do and the kids put together a presentation, and took it back to the river association and it was a really cool project. It really encompassed ground work, Americorp, and getting those kids outside all in one.”
Jandron said Americorp is attempting to show people that helping the environment and having fun outside don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Remember, next time you’re bored and wanna go outside, there’s a group of gradeschoolers just itching for their next field trip.