Member Blog – Eyes of the Beholder: A First Day Experience

Written by Kevin Richards

Coming into my first day at National Marine Life Center (NMLC), it was safe to say I had some first day jitters, but felt extremely excited to delve right in. As first days go, I thought I was going to be stuck with obligatory paperwork/orientation/training/other tedious first day necessities; and I was mistaken. I met with my supervisor, Kate, and right away she brought me into the animal clinic where I met my very first seal, Scout.


Scout, cute as they come, is a 5 month old harbor seal that was rescued on October 10th from Sandy Neck Beach in Barnstable by International Foundation of Animal Welfare (IFAW), and the poor guy had multiple lacerations located throughout his body.

I came into the clinic where the staff and volunteers were assessing Scout and testing him for various things. I was so excited I could barely take it; I couldn’t fathom the fact that I was actually in the same room with a wild seal! Then I had the luxury of carrying the smelly mammal back into the hospital so he could get his morning feed.

Kevin - Seal Nebulizer Treatment

I thought the fun would stop there and it would be back to the office for me, but again I was mistaken. Instead, I watched the staff and volunteers restrain Scout and tube him so he could get his ‘gruel’ (a combination of herring, electrolytes, and other vitamins and minerals), and for newbies like me it was a sight to see. Once Scout got his feed, it was then time to clean and sanitize his surroundings and other parts of the hospital – part of the regular morning chores here at NMLC. I didn’t mind scrubbing the floors since I couldn’t stop thinking about how awesome this was and how exciting this service year will be.

I was then pulled aside to help feed/clean the tanks of the diamond back terrapins we have down by the office. Turtles I have seen and have always been fascinated with, but these sea turtles were extra fascinating. Just their colors, their shells, their adorable faces; I couldn’t get enough.

Kevin - Turtle Intake

What happened next put me over the edge with excitement, we got in another harbor seal! I got to witness the triage that takes place on a marine mammal when it first comes into the hospital. This new seal was named Kennedy and she was rescued on the 14th of October by the Sea Coast Science Center up in New Hampshire. I was trying to play it cool by not showing my ear-to-ear grin since everyone triaging was acting like it was just second nature. Once the excitement of a new animal coming to the hospital dwindled, it was back to the chores.



By this time it was almost 4 PM, and I thought I was going to just coast to closing time of 5 PM when I would then call everyone in my phone book to tell them how cool I was. But it was no coast. One of our freezers broke, and, of course, it was the freezer with all the herring. With all the highs of my first day obviously there had to be a low. The majority of the fish boxes had defrosted and leaked fish juice, so the volunteers and I had to hold our breath and plug our noses while transferring these fishy boxes to another freezer location. We were doused with all the fish juice and smelled horrible, but I just didn’t care – I was still on cloud nine! As first days go, this will go down in the books as number one.


Join us at Cataumet Arts Center, Friday, Oct. 24, 5-8 pm

Together We Grow: 15 Years, 15 Towns, 15 Trees


To celebrate AmeriCorps Cape Cod‘s fifteen years of service in Barnstable County, the exhibit will be on display from October 24 – November 9, 2014 at the Cataumet Arts Center, 76 Scraggy Neck Road, Cataumet Village in Bourne, MA.

The exhibit  “Together We Grow:  15 Years, 15 Towns, 15 Trees”, showcases a series of posters designed to commemorate a tree given by AmeriCorps Cape Cod to each of the 15 towns on the Cape.  The exhibit’s theme “Together We Grow” celebrates simultaneously AmeriCorps’ fifteen years of service on Cape Cod, the fifteen towns on the Cape that AmeriCorps members have partnered with, as well as the fifteen trees planted to highlight these partnerships and the environmental focus of the Cape Cod branch of AmeriCorps.

The public is warmly invited to meet and help welcome the newly arrived 2014-2015 season AmeriCorps members during the opening reception at the Cataumet Arts Center on Friday, October 24, from 5-8 pm. Enjoy viewing the commemorative tree posters over refreshments while informally talking with  new members and staff, and learning about how and why they chose to sign up with and serve in AmeriCorps Cape Cod. Also present at the reception will be AmeriCorps Cape Cod’s Executive Director Darlene Johnson Morris, Resource Development Officer Ashley Look, and members of the 2014-2015 staff.

Exhibit viewing hours in addition to the Friday October 24th evening reception are Saturdays, 10-5 and Sundays 1-5 through November 9.  Gallery admission is free and wheelchair accessible. For information or directions visit:


AmeriCorps Celebrates 20 Years of Service


In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the National and Community Service Trust Act, creating AmeriCorps. Just one year later, on September 12, 1994, the first class of AmeriCorps members began their service in communities all over the country. Since that first day when 20,000 members took the pledge, AmeriCorps has expanded to meet the nation’s most critical needs. Today over 75,000 new members dedicate their lives to service every year.


Exactly 20 years later, on Friday, September 12, 2014, Barnstable County AmeriCorps Cape Cod members and staff, joined by Barnstable County Commissioner Sheila Lyons, the Resource Development Office, and program alumni, met up with service and volunteer programs from across Massachusetts to celebrate this new milestone. The event was hosted by the Massachusetts Service Alliance at the Gantcher Family Sports and Convocation Center at Tufts University in Medford, MA.

The audience heard from Congresswoman Katherine Clark; Mora Segal, C.E.O. of The Achievement Network (ANet) and daughter of Eli J. Segal; Alan Solomont, Tufts University alum and current Dean of the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at the university; and Keynote Speaker Robert L. Gordon, III, President of Be the Change, Inc.  As if hearing from all of those people was not inspirational enough, all the new AmeriCorps members participated in a simultaneous swearing-in ceremony with programs nationwide during a simulcast from Washington, D.C.

Opening Ceremony

The C.E.O. of The Corporation for National and Community Service, Wendy Spencer, led the AmeriCorps Pledge of Service, which was followed by speeches from former President Clinton and President Obama. President Clinton shared an anecdote about the pen he borrowed from Sargent Shriver, the first director of Peace Corps, to sign the National and Community Service Trust Act. This pen was the very same pen President John F. Kennedy used during the founding of Peace Corps in 1961. 


Please enjoy this video from the Corporation for National and Community Service.


Year 16 Members Have Arrived!

Year 16 Members on their first day of the new corps year.

Year 16 Members on their first day of the new corps year.

The staff welcomed 29 new members and 3 returning members to the Barnstable County AmeriCorps Cape Cod family for our 16th corps year  yesterday, September 8, 2014. Handbooks were discussed, forms were signed, and A’s were donned at the Craigville Conference Center in Centerville. Welcome to the team, everyone!

Learn more about our new corps, HERE.


15th Anniversary Event & Graduation


The last picture together! (Year 15)


Veteran/visiting and seasoned staff of AmeriCorps Cape Cod – these are some of the “gears” that turn the machine!

What a whirlwind it’s been for AmeriCorps Cape Cod these past few weeks! We had to say goodbye to Year 15, and welcome back alumni from year’s past to celebrate 15 years of service on Cape Cod. There is certainly more to be said, but for now let us just say “THANK YOU!” We cannot express the totality of our gratitude for all the alumni, service partners, sponsors, and supporters. Stay tuned for more information about our 15th Anniversary celebration!


15th Anniversary Event – Join Us!


Can you believe it’s been 15 years since AmeriCorps Cape Cod began serving Barnstable County? Have you RSVP’d for the celebration? If not, please visit our Facebook page OR contact our office directly!


Highlands Fest 2014

liz and lauren

Thank you to all the volunteers and our beloved service partner, the Cape Cod National Seashore, for making this year’s Highlands Fest a huge success! Check out our Facebook album for pictures of the event.


Highlands Fest 2014 – Join us!

Celebrating Volunteerism Making Waves Mural 003Save the Date: Saturday, June 28th, 2014 from 10AM to 2PM

@ Highlands Center (29 Old Dewline Road, North Truro, MA 02652)

Highlands Fest is an annual celebration of the Highlands Center at Cape Cod National Seashore. The center was created using the infrastructure from a former Air Force station. The intent for the Highlands Center is to create a place which fosters the unique, cultural heritage of Cape Cod by engaging in an environment in which scientific research, arts creation, and educational programs can flourish. Please join us for this annual event!

For more information, please see the event flyer or visit the CCNS Web page -

Or contact Program Specialist Michael Sousa for other inquiries!



Member Blog – Spring is in the Air


Post by Jairus Burdick (Year 15 – Bourne House)

With winter finally giving way to spring, a lot will change and not just the landscape.  Instead of having to bundle up in winter hats and gloves, we are able to don our short sleeves and put on sunglasses again.  Many of the winter projects focused on removal of invasive species, burning accumulations of natural fuels (fallen trees & other dry organic material), and creating new hiking trails, all of which involve the removal of something.  However, now that the vegetation on Cape Cod is growing again, we will be assisting at sites dedicated to fostering growth and preserving native plant and animal species, as opposed to just removing invasives.  A few examples include installation of dune fencing in Brewster, transplanting beach grass in Falmouth, and planting native species in Provincetown.

Along with the plants beginning to grow again, the Cape will soon see a large influx of summer residents and visitors.  The population will grow immensely, which will increase the pool of potential volunteers for us to recruit.  Some of the Individual Placements (similar to an internship) our members have been paired with will see direct benefits from this influx of volunteers, such as the Department of Natural Resources in Barnstable, which incorporates volunteers into a variety of projects (i.e. shellfishing, maintaining herring runs, and trail maintenance).  Our engagement with volunteers and the community are an important part of AmeriCorps Cape Cod’s mission. For 15 years the program has been bringing the residents and visitors of Cape Cod together, not just to help strengthen the community, but to preserve the delicate ecosystems here.  This effort has produced tangible and visible results from Bourne to Provincetown in ways that some of the summer residents may not fully realize.  With so many more people visiting the Cape and different projects coming up, the spring and summer are sure to be active for AmeriCorps Cape Cod.  We look forward to getting out there and getting things done for America!



thankYOUApril was a busy month for AmeriCorps Cape Cod…we had signature events, tree plantings, outreach fairs, and participated in numerous projects planned by other organizations.

Our members and staff would like to thank all the volunteers, supporters, donors, and service partners for their involvement in a wildly successful month of projects.

Check out the following news stories and albums to see the magic that happened during April!