AmeriCorps Cape Cod (ACC) has been a key partner in OCT’s efforts to restore, manage, and preserve the conservation areas and open spaces that make Orleans such a special place to live and work.
Created in 1999, ACC is part of a network of national service programs that enlist volunteers—primarily young people—in projects aimed at “improving lives and fostering civic engagement.” ACC is funded by Barnstable County and through grants provided by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Massachusetts Service Alliance.
ACC partners with the 15 Cape Cod towns—including the Town of Orleans—through their shellfish offices, conservation and natural resource departments, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, federal entities such as the Cape Cod National Seashore and the Cape Cod Canal Army Corps of Engineers, and nonprofit land trusts such as OCT, to implement natural resource management projects. Currently ACC has 24 national service volunteers operating throughout the county—working to propagate shellfish, clear herring runs, restore heathlands and sand dunes, reduce wildland fuels, remove invasive plant species, build and restore trails, and maintain community gardens.
The program provides a dedicated, trained AAC volunteer to work with OCT for a day each week, and often makes teams of volunteers available to help OCT with larger land management projects.
We are deeply grateful for their support! If it weren’t for programs like AmeriCorps, we would not be able to accomplish as much as we do in the Orleans community.
Meet OCT’s Current ACC Volunteer
OCT is lucky to have Courtney King currently assigned by ACC to help with our land management and restorations efforts from October 2018 until July 2019. Courtney works with OCT for a day each week, and visitors to our properties may see her in the field.
Courtney is from Albany, New York. She graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a degree in biology and a minor in environmental studies. In her ACC role, Courtney is able to focus on two of her interests: ecology and conservation biology. After serving with AmeriCorps, Courtney plans to pursue a master’s degree in wildlife ecology or a related field.
“I’m excited to be on Cape Cod and give back to the community through AmeriCorps,” she says. “I’ve done a lot of kayaking and canoeing on New York lakes and look forward to the chance to kayak on the saltwater here.”
Clearing, Burning, and More
At OCT’s Mauch Gift on Old Duck Hole Road in East Orleans, AmeriCorps volunteers joined with Town workers early in 2019 to help clear invasive brush and deadfall from storms the preceding March. That was a lot of work!
AmeriCorps crews have often helped with controlled burning at Namequoit Bog.
In October 2018, thanks to a grant from the CPC and one generous donor, we added six new trail kiosks on OCT properties across town. These sturdy, attractive stations feature large maps and information about the Trust and each preserve. Assembling and installing them was a major effort, so we were fortunate to have ACC volunteers on the team.
The storms that hit Cape Cod in the winter of 2018 left their mark on the land. In their aftermath, our ACC volunteer at the time, Rob Bennett, worked tirelessly chainsawing and clearing away downed trees blocking our trails. Another example of how lucky we are to be able to partner with AmeriCorps Cape Cod and its great volunteers year after year.