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!
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 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!
Or contact Program Specialist Michael Sousa for other inquiries!
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!
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!
AmeriCorps Cape Cod and the Army Corps of Engineers will be hosting the 14th annual Canal Clean-Up this year on Saturday, April 19 from 9AM to 1PM at the Buzzards Bay Recreation Area (103 Main St. Bourne, MA 02532).
AmeriCorps is asking community volunteers to help beautify the recreation areas along the Canal on the day all amenities and buildings officially open to the public for the warmer seasons. In addition, this year is especially exciting as it’s the Canal’s Centennial Anniversary!
Volunteers will be picking up trash and debris, installing and painting fences, clearing brush, installing signs, helping weed the butterfly garden, and more. There will also be educational booths with organizations such as IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), Leave No Trace, and Clean Harbors along with family-friendly activities open to the public. Breakfast and lunch will be provided, and the Falmouth Fiddlers will be joining us for live entertainment!
To register for the event, please visit our registration page HERE!
For additional information, please contact:
Interested in living and serving on Cape Cod for a year? Want to learn about yourself and others in a profound way all while gaining knowledge and experience? Feel like affecting a community in need and protecting the environment?
Post by Jairus Burdick (Year 15 – Bourne House)
Working outdoors is one of the best aspects of being a member of AmeriCorps Cape Cod, but sometimes it can be a bit of a struggle as well. New England is capable of throwing nasty weather at us, including blizzards, freezing rain and whipping winds, and when these days occur consecutively, it comes naturally to hope for a day indoors. WetFest, a day-long education festival designed to teach students at local schools about water and what it means to be a “Groundwater Guardian,” provides us a day of warmth when winter comes howling.
Beginning and ending with a short sketch involving a wizard, a talking lobster and a particularly rude dude, these endeavors are centered on education for fourth to sixth graders. The goal is to have children leave with a basic understanding of some important issues pertaining to water, and the necessity to conserve it. One booth engages students by having them toss bean bags (labeled with different forms of water, i.e. sleet, vapor, rain) into bins labeled with the three states of matter, while another booth dives into the complexity of artesian wells and the water table. The fan favorite is undoubtedly “Edible Aquifer” which teaches students about where clean water comes from by having them construct their own model aquifer from soda, sprinkles and ice cream (you can imagine their excitement). For approximately five minutes, small groups of students attend each of our 20 booths, learning about topics ranging from dissolved oxygen to the problems with pollution. By the end, they have attained a wealth of knowledge and advice, and we put them to the test! “We need to hear some of the things you learned today,” says our WetFest Coordinator, Jen. Although the answers are often muddled with “umms” and “uhhs” they inevitably come forth to share what they’ve learned.
The students are able to interact with knowledgeable college graduates to ensure they are being taught accurate information, but instead of feeling like they are at sixth period, they get a festival atmosphere. It shines a light on AmeriCorps’s ability to create win-win situations for all involved, from the top to the bottom. Teachers are given a chance to allow others to do the teaching, AmeriCorps members gain valuable childhood education experience (and can stay warm), and the children acquire important information that benefits future generations. By the time we have left the schools, we have made an impact that could spread to many others. “My mom never turns off the faucet when she brushes her teeth, but now I’ll tell her she’s supposed to,” a child once said after leaving the Tooth Booth. While the effect cannot be quantitatively measured, it can be felt by any who attend. WetFest makes a difference, and if you do not believe that, perhaps you should come to one!
Post by Andrew Bagnara (Year 15 – LeHac House)
My name is Andrew and I am one of the 13 AmeriCorps members living in what is called the LeHac House in Wellfleet. In AmeriCorps Cape Cod’s 15 years of existence, I am sure that our house has proved to be just as crazy, fun, and downright hilarious as the other years. Seriously, living with these people has been one of my favorite aspects of AmeriCorps. I remember moving-in back in September thinking this was going to be a fun year. I never thought though that we would have such great friendships this early on in the service year. Everybody brings something different to the house dynamic to keep us far away from reaching the mundane. One of the things I always find myself laughing about is the multiple alarms we wake up to in our room. Somebody will have heavy metal, somebody else will have the Top Gun theme song, and somebody else will have the Circle of Life. Another thing I like is how the kitchen, not the living or family rooms, is our place to have conversations. Everybody just gravitates towards food which means if somebody is making a big meal, at least 5 other people will be there; it’s pretty funny. One last thing would simply be our ability to get along so well. Our house is fueled by jokes and pranks. It is really hard to go more than 10 minutes in LeHac without bursting out laughing. We have our differences and own personalities, but we ALL agree that we need laughter in our house daily. I look forward to the rest of the year, and I am proud to call these people my friends and family of Cape Cod.
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