Meet Our Member: Ruth Larkin
AmeriCorps Native Plants Land Manager, Green Mountain College, Poultney, VT
Ruth Larkin is a second-term AmeriCorps member, continuing her service as the Native Plants Land Manager with Green Mountain College. During the growing season, Ruth primarily serves outside, removing invasive plant species from the college's natural areas. This past autumn, she focused on invasive shrub species, such as glossy buckthorn, bush honeysuckle, and burning bush. In the winter, while the ground is frozen, Ruth works in the college herbarium. (A herbarium is a collection of pressed and dried plants used for research and education), where she updates nomenclature, mounts pressed plants, and tries to keep things organized. In addition to serving at GMC, Ruth is also a graduate, having earned her Bachelor's degree in Sustainability and Ecology with a minor in Biology. She has also worked as an instructor for Hurricane Island Outward Bound, teaching sea kayaking, sailing, and cross county skiing. Ruth enjoys spending time with her husband and son, playing board games, doing puzzles, going sledding, sailing, hiking, and swimming.
Why did you join VHCB AmeriCorps?
I had already worked for the summer on the college's Natural Areas Crew pulling garlic mustard and I really enjoyed the work. When I found out about the Native Plants Land Manager position, I applied. I didn't know anything about AmeriCorps at the time, but I've learned at lot since then. I really appreciate the AmeriCorps program.
What are you learning or gaining out of your service?
Oh so many things! I'm learning plant taxonomy and identification. I'm learning about the ecology of invasive plant species. I'm learning about ticks and tick borne illnesses. I'm learning about supervising other workers. But I'm also learning about being patient with myself and others and about how to get things done in a larger organization.
What has surprised you about serving in AmeriCorps? I think what has surprised me most is how much I enjoy and learn from the VHCB AmeriCorps program. Because I'm an AmeriCorps member, I'm not limited to just learning about plants and plant ecology. I've also learned a lot about poverty in Vermont, about class, about cultures and discrimination, about resume writing and about my own fear of heights. I feel like this program helps me to grow as a whole person, not just professionally.
What’s the best thing about serving at your site? I love being outside for my entire workday, surrounded by birds and plants. I also really enjoy my site supervisor. He's the best!
What would you like other people to know about serving in AmeriCorps?
AmeriCorps is a great program. I think people should know that it isn't just for young people just out of high school or college. It can be a great experience at any time in life.