This National Service Movement engages thousands of Americans of all ages and backgrounds in a domestic Peace Corps. Members serve their communities in the areas of education, environment, public safety, and human needs and receive a living stipend, educational monies, and a wealth of experience.
The Pennsylvania Mountain Service Corps AmeriCorps program was created in 1994, and began with a 40 member Corps that would be partnered with nonprofit and governmental organizations across 10 Pennsylvania counties, (Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Huntingdon, Indiana, Somerset, and Westmoreland.) The Corps was designed to address all four major AmeriCorps initiatives, Education, Human Needs, Public Safety, and Environment.
Today the Pennsylvania Mountain Service Corps has grown to 150+ members, covering 16 counties with a statewide environmental initiative. Since its inception, there have been hundreds of students tutored in math and reading, thousands of seniors and families provided with services that would have otherwise gone undone, hundreds of after school and educational activities presented to at-risk youths, hundreds of miles of water tested and cleaned up, thousands of volunteer hours generated, and a unique collaborative effort of community organizations formed.
For additional information please visit: http://www.pmsc.org/
Here is an overview of some of the things our current members are doing:
Water Quality Monitoring
We collect data from five stream monitoring locations in Armstrong County for non-point source pollution. Data loggers measure temperature, pH, total dissolved solids, and conductivity at 15-minute intervals 24 hours a day. Field measurement of chloride and alkalinity accompany the bi-monthly data collection. These parameters of stream quality help to determine how upstream sources of pollution influence a stream. Measurable sources of pollution could be nutrient runoff from farms or mine discharges. We participate in this program with the guidance of the Kiski-Conemaugh Stream Team.
Office Staff Assistance
We provide support to members of the office staff. We help with preparation of grants, setting up workshops, and attend meetings and trainings.
Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center
A large part of what we do is environmental education, and we work closely with the ELC to do that. This past year, several fourth and ninth grade classes from Armstrong School District participated in field trips at the ELC. These trips are broken down into stations and the one we were responsible for was the “Tree ID GeoTrail” teaching the students about Geocaching using GPS technology, being respectful to the forest, Identifying a few tree species, critical thinking and working together in teams to find the series of caches we have set out along the “You Can Trail.” We also attended the monthly ELC Steering Committee meetings and participated in the spring clean up workday.
2016 Alle-Kiski-Connie Rivers Sojourn
This is an annual event in its 19th year in 2016. The event is hosted by the Armstrong Educational Trust and the Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center and is held for one weekend in May. We were involved in many aspects of the event, from attending and participating in the planning meetings and email correspondences to setting up the ELC for the event and loading and hauling trailers of canoes and kayaks for the participants to and from the put in and take out sites.
The 11th Armstrong County Envirothon was held at the Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center on April 27, 2016. We were involved in the planning and set up of the event. We designed the t-shirts and gifts that each participant received, managed the registration, assisted in shopping for supplies, setup the ELC for the day of the event, and helped out anywhere we could.
Tree and Seedling Sale
Each year, the conservation district sells a variety of fruit trees and tree seedlings as a service to landowners. We helped prepare the order forms, track the orders as they came in, picked up the seedlings from the nursery, packed each individual’s order, and assisted in the final pick up. In addition to the sale, ACD provides a tree seedling to each third grade student in Armstrong County. We sorted and delivered these seedlings (over 900 of them!) to each elementary school in the county.
Each year AmeriCorps members have the opportunity to attend a variety of trainings/workshops/meetings/conferences. These may vary from year to year and personal interests.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Food Drive
Each year, AmeriCorps members participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service held on his birthday in January. At ACD, we hold an annual food drive at a local grocery store to collect monetary and non-perishable food donations for the local food bank.
Last term, member Larissa received The President’s Volunteer Service Award for serving an addition 225 hour after completing the 900 hour part-time term at ACD