Story of The Week 11/17/2017

Story of The Week 11/17/2017

VHCB AmeriCorps Members Begin Their Year by Giving Back
Randolph, VT

At the start of its 20th program year, the VHCB AmeriCorps program facilitated an opportunity for its members to give back to the local community and promote resilience in the wake of events such as Tropical Storm Irene. On a late summer day this past September, members joined the Randolph Area Community Development Corporation  (RACDC) in stewarding over 15 acres of floodplain forest. There, they learned that the protected parcel was more than just scenery or habitat; its capacity to absorb water during flood events made it invaluable in preventing flooding disasters in the downtown community. Despite its importance, however, the land has been afflicted with invasive species, suffering from low visitation, and losing edge habitat to a nearby parking lot. Only in their second day of service, the AmeriCorps members excitedly took to an afternoon of stewardship, installing an information panel, pulling invasive knotweed, and restoring the edge of the parcel with mulch and seed.

By the time Tropical Storm Irene completed its course through Vermont in August 2011, the state was left with up to $200 million in damage. Affected towns emerged from the devastation with the help of Federal funds, statewide programs, and new town planning strategies, but the core of the recovery effort was grounded in the spirit of resilience and neighborly compassion. Six years later, while the storm remains fresh in the memory of local communities that are nestled in the river valleys, the newly recruited AmeriCorps members discovered that the tradition of community support remains even stronger. Beyond sign installation or invasives species removal, this is a lesson learned only through direct action and compassionate service and, above all, one that they will all take with them into the year ahead and beyond.

VHCB AmeriCorps is a program of the
Vermont Housing & Conservation Board.

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