Ecology Action has already had the privilege of meeting two AmeriCorps teams in 2015! Earth 6 left last Thursday and Earth 4 arrived on Friday. Due to the unpredictable winter weather, Earth 6 spent the first few weeks of their stay here in Austin at Camp Mabry, finally moving into their campsite at the Circle Acres in their last week. During their stay, they have been able to experience all that EA has to offer from daily operations at the Recycling Center to workdays at Circle Acres.
To get a better feel for what it's like to be an AmeriCorps team member working at EA, we asked a couple of them to write a reflection piece encompassing the whole experience. Funny, informative, and wholly inspiring, here's what they had to say:
This project has been a wonderful experience, much more than I expected. Coming into it I was a bit upset we weren't camping but as soon as we started work all my worries went away. The work was incredibly diverse and fulfilling, and I feel like I've learned so much over the past six weeks. From the weeks spent at the Recycling Center and Circle Acres learning the true importance of landfill diversion; to the week spent at the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve developing an appreciation for endangered species and the work that goes into keeping them alive and well. Ecology action is a creative and inspiring non-profit organization that I've been blessed to work with. I will always remember the service I did in, Austin, Texas, and I look forward to seeing Circle Acres become a tool to teach future generations about the importance of protecting to world around them.
From putting the roof on a pavilion to pulling a mattress off of a hill to wondering if we could all have a man-bun as glorious as Joaquin's, there is never a dull moment working with Ecology Action. For me, at least, coming from an environment where single-stream recycling (if any recycling) is pretty commonplace, seeing a recycling center involve the community in the sorting process, making them think a little more about what happens to their recycling and just what goes into making reusable items, was fascinating.
In the same vein of community involvement, the idea of turning a landfill into a nature preserve to be used to educate the community about how we view and use land was hugely motivational to the team. Everyone wanted to be a part of seeing Circle Acres take off, and I think everyone realized very quickly just how difficult something like that can be.
We are the third Americorps NCCC team to come and work with Ecology Action, and we will not be the last. It was a privilege to work with Ecology Action and even spend a few days with the Balcones Canyon Preserve team assisting them with habitat restoration. It has been such a positive experience for our team, and though we are leaving Austin, we are all taking with us a greater awareness of how land restoration works, and a different way of looking at waste.