AmeriCorps Week: Recognizing those dedicated to restoring Iowa’s outdoors

We’re celebrating AmeriCorps Week by highlighting the significant impact our members have on local conservation.

In 2021, our AmeriCorps members logged more than 1,500 hours of stewardship service across Bur Oak Land Trust properties and through restoration projects conducted on other privately protected lands in the state. Over the last three years, we have increased our land protection and stewardship activities by 670 percent thanks to our AmeriCorps program.

Not only are our members trained in a variety of land management techniques including prescribed fire, chainsaw use and invasive species removal, they have a drive to continue and improve conservation efforts and practices in Iowa. We caught up with a few of them to hear their thoughts on AmeriCorps service and serving the environment.

“AmeriCorps service means a chance to learn new skills, serve my community in really unique and important ways, and gain experience that will help me with future employment endeavors. AmeriCorps is so willing to train their members, so it’s been a great opportunity to learn new technical skills that I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere. I really appreciate how many AmeriCorps positions and sites there are across the country that allow anyone a chance to do rewarding service in whatever field they’re interested in.”

Sydney Lawson,
AmeriCorps Conservation Crew Member

“Land conservation and protection of natural resources matter because as humans we are a part of the environment around us. To damage the land around us hurts both ourselves and all other life.”

Jonathan Griffith,
AmeriCorps Conservation Crew Member

“During my AmeriCorps service I have had several opportunities to interact with and help the community. Including participating in an [AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team] deployment after the Iowa derecho. It is a great experience to be able to help people in the community in a meaningful way after a disaster or just help them appreciate and enjoy the natural world around us.”

Destiny Magee,
AmeriCorps Conservation Crew Leader

“The best part of my AmeriCorps experience has been being able to explore the native landscapes of Iowa, between serving on Bur Oak’s properties and other prairies, I’ve been able to observe some pretty neat Iowa wildlife, and become familiar with the floral components that make up the habitats. It’s awesome to see the cool parts of Iowa that aren’t just agriculture.”

Erin Hosto,
AmeriCorps Conservation Crew Member

Through AmeriCorps service individuals can serve their communities, build valuable skills and contribute to the great collective of national service. To learn more, visit

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