AmeriCorps National Service

AmeriCorps Logo

Be the change you want to see in the world.

- Mahatma Gandhi

The Town of Farragut has partnered with the Knoxville Community Action Committee (CAC) to host an AmeriCorps National Service Member to work as a Water Quality Technician in support of the Town of Farragut's Stormwater Matters water quality program.  AmeriCorps Service Members commit to 1,720 hours of service with their host organization over the course of a year offering a tremendous value to their host and community in exchange for professional experience and growth opportunities.  Service members are also provided a modest living stipend during their term of service to provide for their basic needs as well as an education award of $5,550 upon completion that can be used towards outstanding student loans or future educational needs.

Creative?  A Self Starter?  Service Minded?  Have an Associates Degree or Greater?  Love the Outdoors?  If this describes you, consider the Town of Farragut's AmeriCorps program as a way to jump start your career and improve the world around you.  For a description of this and other environmental service opportunities in the Knoxville Area through AmeriCorps, click here to visit the CAC AmeriCorps Blog.

Visit AmeriCorps.Gov for more information on AmeriCorps.


Celebrating Nearly 5 Years of Service in Farragut
AmeriCorps Group
Form Left to Right: Nicole, Gwen, Joseph, Jason, Josh & Chris
As of summer 2016, all Town of Farragut AmeriCorps Service Members past and present are living, working or attending school in the Knoxville area. This is a testament to the relationships that AmeriCorps members develop during their service year as well as how the service experiences can help members move forward in their personal and professional lives. This photo represents ten terms of AmeriCorps Service which breaks down to approximately 17,020 hours of selfless service to Farragut and communities across the country.

The Town of Farragut looks forward to continuing this legacy as we build upon our first decade of national service. 









 

2016-2017 Water Quality Technician -Courtney Alley


081416_Courtney_3489-edit
Courtney Alley at the Outdoor Classroom

Courtney came to the Town of Farragut from Northeast Tennessee. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Tennessee Wesleyan College and is interested in conservation work and research in ecology. She later plans to pursue an advanced degree. During her undergraduate coursework, Courtney worked as natural science tutor and was Natural Science Club president. She also played on the College soccer team and has been involved with youth soccer.

This year, Courtney will be managing projects at the Outdoor Classroom, working to recruit and retain volunteers for multiple projects, and be active in outreach and education events on behalf of the Town’s Stormwater Matters program. She will be working to recruit additional Adopt-A-Stream groups and help existing groups with their responsibilities. In addition, Courtney will continue to implement the 1 Year Down the Drain: Turkey Creek program, which was started last year. 

 





2015-2016 Water Quality Technician -Joseph Konvicka
joseph yearbook photo
Joseph Konvicka

Joseph came to the Town of Farragut from North Carolina. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science from Western Carolina University. When he joined the Town, Joseph was a second year AmeriCorps Member having previously served as an AmeriCorps member with the Knox County Water Quality Team. Joseph was very passionate about environmental work and was especially interested in collecting and cooking a variety of mushrooms.  

Joseph was responsible for management of the Outdoor Classroom and for a variety of field work including Dry Weather Screening. Additionally, he assisted with a broad range of education and outreach initiatives ranging from envirocharacter creation for Earthfest to developing and delivering meaningful service projects for Boy and Girl Scouts.



Results
Earthfest Tree Giveway Stormwater Matters
Joseph handing out seedlings

Joseph administered 4 groups for Adopt-A-Stream Cleanups. He also led the 1 Year Down the Drain: Turkey Creek program, which resulting in the removal of 337 pounds of trash from Town streams. He collected over 2700 lbs of recyclable material diverting it from the landfill. Joseph participated on both the education and youth committees for Earthfest working closely with other AmeriCorps members and professionals to revitalize costumes and brainstorm new activities for the children that attend Earthfest. He continued a tradition of successful grant writing by AmeriCorps members successfully securing $500 in tree grants for a tree planting event to be held in conjunction with Earthfest which resulted in the distribution of 725 trees. He developed and delivered an educational and service-based program for Girl Scouts working towards their Wonders of Water Journey and worked to develop a program for the Boy Scout Soil & Water Conservation badge. Jospeh spent many hours providing support to other AmeriCorps members throughout the year.




 
2014-2015 Water Quality Technician - Nicole Stephens
Nicole Stephens
Nicole Stephens at Town Hall

Nicole came to the Town of Farragut from the state of Pennsylvania. Nicole holds a bachelors degree in Anthropology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. When she joined the Town, Nicole was a second year AmeriCorps Member having previously served as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Montana. Nicole had no formal experience in environmental work but was very interested in learning about water resources.

Nicole was responsible for a variety of field work including Dry Weather Screening as well as a broad range of education and outreach initiatives ranging from envirocharacter creation for Earthfest to developing programming for the Outdoor Classroom.

Results
Envirocharacters
Nicole building envirocharacters.

Nicole administered 4 groups for Adopt-A-Stream Cleanups. She collected over 600 lbs of recyclable material diverting it from the landfill. Nicole also provided broad support to the Town's Sustainability program. Nicole played a critical role on the education committee for Earthfest working closely with other AmeriCorps members to build some of the most ambitious Envirocharacter costumes to date. She continued a tradition of successful grant writing by AmeriCorps members successfully securing $500 in tree grants for a tree planting event to be held in conjunction with Earthfest which resulted in the distribution of every one of the 625 trees. Nicole also went above-and-beyond to lend her support to other AmeriCorps members throughout the year.



2013-2014 Water Quality Technician - Gwen Slater
Gwen
Gwen Explains Turbidity Measurement
Gwen came to the Town of Farragut from the Sunshine State of Florida. She holds a bachelors degree in Anthropology from the University of Florida. During her undergraduate coursework, Gwen worked as a field technician performing archaeological excavation of Kingsley Plantation in the Talbot Islands State Park System in Northern Florida. Gwen is interested in public health and the implications that water pollution can have on it.

Gwen was charged this year with building community and facilitating usage of the Town of Farragut's new Outdoor Classroom space as well as continuing the momentum generated by Josh and Chris to continue to facilitate and expand the Adopt-A-Stream program.

Results
Gwen installs rain garden
Gwen helps install a rain garden.
Gwen administered six groups for Adopt-A-Stream Cleanups and managed 43 volunteers removing 168 pounds of waste from local waterways. She collected nearly 1,000 lbs of recyclable material diverting it from the landfill. Gwen also provided broad support to the Town's Sustainability program. She played a critical role on the education committee for Earthfest providing comprehensive character development for the annual scavenger hunt by composing intricate back stories and costuming. Gwen continued a tradition of successful grant writing by AmeriCorps members successfully securing $500 in tree grants for a tree planting event to be held in conjunction with River Rescue and Earthfest and writing a $1,000 stream cleanup grant before the end of her term.


Gwen has also participated in a number of community events including the Paddle for Clean Water, Knoxville House and Garden Show and the installation of a Rain Garden as part of the University of Tennessee's "Tennessee Smart Yards" program.  




2012-2013 Water Quality Assistant - Chris Woudstra
Benny Big Bucks
Chris as Benny Big Bucks
Chris came to the Town from his home in Michigan. Chris holds a bachelors degree in Environmental Policy from Michigan State University. During his undergraduate coursework, Chris worked with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality as a Groundwater and Air Quality Intern and even dabbled a bit in environmental advocacy with a second internship working on Michigan Senate Bill 18 which dealt with the prohibition of introducing non-native species.

Chris worked with constituents across the region and state to re-imagine and re-develop the Town of Farragut's Adopt-A-Stream program with the lofty goal of adopting every stream mile within the Town and creating a model worthy of state recognition. 


Results
Chris
Chris assists with a waste audit.
Chris recruited six new groups for Adopt-A-Stream Cleanups and managed 20 volunteers. He collected 2,392 pounds of recyclable material diverting it from the landfill. Chris collaborated with the Town of Farragut's Sustainability program to help conduct a waste audit for Town Hall and park waste. He played a critical role on the education committee for Earthfest.  Chris successfully secured $500 in tree grants for a tree planting event to be held in conjunction with River Rescue and Earthfest. He also participated in a number of community events including the Paddle for Clean Water, Healthy Living Expo and SPEAK, a UT Sustainability event. Chris also began to lay the foundation for our next AmeriCorps member for their work in the Outdoor Classroom to be developed in the Fall of 2013. See Chris' end of year presentation to the BOMA here.

2011-2012 Water Quality Assistant - Josh Cunningham
josh being interviewed as water pollution
Josh being interviewed before
the 2011 Paddle for Clean Water.
Josh came to the Town of Farragut from his home in North Carolina after successfully completing a year of national service through AmeriCorps*NCCC during which he was stationed at the Sacremento, CA campus. As a member of his NCCC team, Silver 5, Josh helped construct 13 houses through Habitat for Humanity, provided fire management and tree removal services to Sugar Pine Christian Camp, and provided supplemental wildland firefighting services to the US Forest Service in Eldorado National Forest. Josh holds a Bachelors degree from Johnson & Wales University in Food Service Management.
You can revisit Josh's journey to get things done for the community by visiting his blog, Storm Drain Superhero*.
*The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Town of Farragut.

Results
Josh at Training
Josh Trains with the Water Quality Team.
Josh improved 6+ acres of land through cleanup, invasive species removal and other improvements and removed 1,150 lbs of trash from local waterways. He recruited and managed 43 volunteers through the Adopt-A-Stream program. He collected more than 2,600 pounds of recyclable material diverting it from the landfill. Josh participated in a number of community events including the Paddle for Clean Water, Picnic on the Pike and Freaky Friday. Josh mapped over 3,380 storm drain inlets in support of the development of a more comprehensive stormater map. To top it all off, Josh wrote and produced a music video "Somewhat Remarkable Hip-Hop Conflicts of Water Quality: Caddis Fly Vs Dobson Fly" to serve as a conversation starter for water quality issues. View Josh's End of Year Presentation to the BOMA Here.