The 18-24 year old AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) team was primarily from the Eastern United States, and regarded their 48 day assignment to the Modoc area as a source of personal satisfaction. Hannah Damgaard said “I signed up for the service aspect, but I also like the travel, schedule of projects and the network of contacts that I am building”.
The group completed a week long Wilderness Ranger Academy which taught some essential skills in working in the remote environment of the South Warner Wilderness. Some of those skills were the principles of Leave no Trace, Back Country First Aid, and Land Navigation. The group performed needed work projects in the Modoc National Forest and also with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service at the Modoc National Wildlife Refuge.
Day one was busy and began with an orientation to the offices of the Modoc National Forest, and Modoc National Wildlife Refuge, then a familiarization of local amenities. A trip to Lake City included a glimpse at organic farming and homesteading by local resident Sophie Shepard. Also visited on their first day was Patterson Guard Station, high within the Warner Mountain Ranger District. A place they would later use as a base camp, after they conducted cleanup work of the station.
If the promise of adventure and new experiences were also draws to join AmeriCorps NCCC, then they did not find their stay in the Modoc area lacking. One week or day would involve working at the Modoc National Wildlife Refuge on projects benefitting the diverse ecosystems of the refuges’ wetlands and its wildlife habitats. Another, working high in the back country of the South Warner Wilderness, working on a hiking trail while making chance contacts with forest visitors. Identifying one challenging part of her work, Hannah Damgaard said “The hardest part for me, was making contacts with folks”. Their attendance at the 2015 4th annual Modoc Sportsman’s and Outdoor Expo at the Veterans Memorial Park in Alturas , was a chance to visit with the community, including about AmeriCorps NCCC and to learn about other public lands in Modoc County. The group was pleased to have found time for volunteer work at Eagle Peak Animal Rescue, with local specialists Bill and Tina Hodge.
The Modoc National Forest was happy to partner with the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that helps more than 5 million Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service. The AmeriCorps NCCC program was built on the belief of its volunteers that civic responsibility is an inherent duty of all citizens and that national service programs work effectively with local communities. The Modoc National Forest was especially grateful for the can-do spirit of these American volunteers. To learn more about the Corporation for National and Community Service and its AmeriCorps NCCC program visit: http://www.nationalservice.gov/