Since 2009, SYRCL has partnered with the Sierra Nevada Alliance to form the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP), a program in which AmeriCorps members assess and restore impaired watershed habitats and increase community stewardship by conducting watershed restoration and ecological monitoring, watershed education, and volunteer recruitment and support. Each year these AmeriCorps members serve and protect the Sierra from October through September in different conservation organizations throughout the Sierra Nevada.
Cordi Craig, Restoration Coordinator (2015/16)
I am incredibly grateful for my experiences in the AmeriCorps program. Serving as the Restoration Coordinator at SYRCL has given me the opportunity to learn and grow as a scientist and professional. SYRCL has immersed me into the local community and the Sierras as a whole and I learn something new every day. My work as the Restoration Coordinator has encouraged and motivated me to apply to graduate school in the next couple of years to study soil science. I look forward to taking all of the connections and experiences in the Yuba watershed with me wherever I go!
Courtney Hudson, Stewardship/Outreach Coordinator (2015/16)
My time at SYRCL continues to impress and shock me; I am blown away by the number of people who commit so much time, energy, and money into preserving the Yuba River. As a Stewardship Coordinator, I’ve had volunteers help me conduct outreach on rainy, Saturday mornings, as well as on blistering July days—and always with a smile on their face! Environmental work can quickly turn into a burn-out job: there is so much work to be done with so much opposition to face. Yet my time at SYRCL has shown me that when we stand together we can truly make a positive impact in this world—even if the weather won’t cooperate!
Mo Loden, River Monitoring Coordinator (2015/16)
I genuinely feel on a day to day basis I’m doing and learning “GREAT” things. The amount of skills and experiences I’ve obtained in just eight months is overwhelming. I believe I will be setup with an immense amount of capabilities that will translate into valuable skills for rewarding and meaningful long-term employment within a watershed stewardship position.
Karl Ronning, River Monitoring Coordinator (2014/15)
Organizations like SYRCL give the community a chance to be involved in science and in turn create environmental stewards to protect the places they love. I had the honor to serve as an AmeriCorps member at SYRCL and see this firsthand. Besides growing my experience in water quality, hydrology, and data analysis, SYRCL has shown me the importance in capturing the local community with environmental issues. Grassroots movements may be one of the most important ways in creating and maintaining a healthy planet for future generations to come.
Suzanne Calkins, Stewardship/Outreach Coordinator (2014/15)
Svetlana Vasilchenko, Restoration Coordinator (2014/15)
My experience as an AmeriCorps service member at SYRCL was educational, adventurous and incredibly invaluable. Throughout my term I received an insurmountable amount of support and encouragement to learn, excel and succeed. I had a lot of practical hands-on experience-both in the field and out. I spent a lot of time in the field where I learned many technical skills and learned a vast amount about hydrology, ecology and restoration. I had the privilege to work alongside many amazing community volunteers, without whom we would never be able to accomplish all that we did. I’m proud to have served in an organization that the community loves and respects so much. Living in Nevada City and serving as the Restoration Coordinator at SYRCL has truly been an amazing life experience. I’m forever grateful! For the Yuba!
Adele Rife, Restoration Coordinator (2013/14)
My AmeriCorps service years at SYRCL have exceeded my expectations. I’ve gotten to use the skills I acquired in my undergraduate courses and I’ve learned more about what I want to pursue in graduate school and my career. Everything I’ve requested for my service terms, including field work, GIS training, public speaking skills and grant writing experience, I’ve received. But the best part about it all is the beautiful watershed I work to protect and restore, with the wonderful staff and community that I get to work with here at SYRCL!
Jenn Tamo, Stewardship/Outreach Coordinator (2013/14)
I am so grateful to the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP), Sierra Nevada Conservancy, and to SYRCL for providing me the opportunity to be challenged, learn and grow. As the Stewardship Coordinator at SYRCL I gained so many valuable skills and was able to work alongside so many talented, kind community members and staff. I feel so fortunate to have landed in the sweet community of Nevada City and Grass Valley and love that I get to continue to call this place home as a member of the SYRCL staff.
Marianne Pott, River Monitoring Coordinator (2013/14)
It’s been a physical challenge – hiking and wading 25 – 55 pounds of tools, a 20 pound length of galvanized steel pipe, a long level, a staff plate, shovel, stadia rod, and expensive surveying equipment up and down 2 steep creek canyons, one without a trail but with lots of poison oak. It’s been a mental challenge, testing patience when the attachment bedrock crumbles piece by piece with drilling into it, power tool batteries die effectively ending the day, learning that the hardware and planned setup is unsuitable for uneven rock, or waiting for rock-grade epoxy to dry. I overcame these challenges because of my stubbornness and an “it’s gotta get done!” attitude.
Adele Rife, Restoration Coordinator (2012/13)
When I reflect on SYRCL’s restoration program, I notice growth. I notice that our scientific capacity has grown, our outreach has grown, and the number of on the ground-projects has grown. This progress is a pattern that I see throughout all of SYRCL’s programs. I feel lucky to have been a part of it throughout the past two-years and will truly miss working for SYRCL and living in this river-centric community.
Andrew Collins-Anderson (2012/13)
Eric Rubenstahl, River Monitoring Coordinator (2012)
As the River Monitoring Coordinator for 2012, my experience with SYRCL was eye-opening, life-changing and overall just really inspirational. I remember coming to Nevada City and SYRCL for the first time being excited, nervous and ready to dive head first into river science. I had fresh work relationships to navigate and new social circles to steer on a daily basis. I always had meaningful work to fill my days, events to attend, and all the while, grew a deep love for the Yuba River. I left my AmeriCorps stint and River Monitoring position professionally charged, emotionally evolved and forever connected to the Yuba river and the surrounding community.
Jessica Roberts, Watershed Coordinator (2012)
Kaitlyn Hacker, River Monitoring Coordinator (2010/11)
This program would not exist to the extent that it does without our wonderful citizen volunteers, many of whom have been monitoring since the program’s inception. Without this program, the community would lack “watch-dogs” for the Yuba so if a problem did arise it might go unnoticed. I am constantly inspired by the dedication and commitment of all the river monitors who take pride in the water quality data that they collect and work tirelessly to maintain the health of the Yuba. Many of the eighty SYRCL river monitors also assist with side projects including bacteria sampling, flow monitoring, deploying temperature loggers, meter calibration and so on, and without their help, I would not have been able to accomplish as much as I have been able to this year. Overall working as the River Monitoring Coordinator at SYRCL has been a great experience largely because of the wonderful volunteers who make my job fun!
Sarah Phillips, Watershed Coordinator (2010/11)
One of my favorite projects this year was SYRCL’s Aspen Regeneration Project, at Loney Meadow and Rucker Lake for so many reasons. To start, it was so inclusive in that it was in collaboration with Tahoe National Forest, on their lands, focused on or in proximity to high elevation meadows. This service project also encouraged volunteers from the community to join in an overnight camping trip, near a meadow and aspen trees. The project addressed the encroachment of conifer species into aspen habitat, having a negative impact on the aspens, such as shading them out. Both days of work began with an educational explanation of the work we were doing and why it was important for the ecosystem. The regeneration work meant cutting down conifers that were living within aspen patches, then using the brush to build deer-deterrent corrals around the aspen clumps. No more than ten volunteers came on either day, but our impact was immense! We restored a total of 3.5 acres of gorgeous public lands, for the animals that depend on the aspens, in addition for future hikers who appreciate aspen trees, as most people do.
Brooke Berger, River Monitoring Coordinator (2009/10)
One of my favorite things about living in Nevada City is its proximity and connection to the Yuba. It is luxurious to be able to leave the office and spend such little time traveling to this river’s blue-green waters. One hour I am typing, the next I am floating in the current. I am inspired by all the time that volunteers in this community put into living their convictions. They embody the spirit of stewardship and I am privileged to be a vessel through which their good work can be accomplished.
Jen Hemmert, Watershed Assessment and Monitoring Specialist Position / River Science Coordinator (2008/09)
Dan Murnane, Watershed Education Specialist (2008)
Jas O’Growney, Watershed Information Technology Specialist (2008)
Joel Passovoy, Watershed Science Coordinator (2007)
Since 1993 the Sierra Nevada Alliance has been protecting and restoring Sierra lands, water, wildlife and communities. Our mission is to protect and restore the natural resources of the Sierra Nevada for future generations while promoting sustainable communities. We are truly an alliance. There are over eighty-five conservation-focused Member Groups that are based or work in the 400-mile mountain range that is the Sierra Nevada region.
AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 Americans in intensive service each year at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community groups across the country. Since the program’s founding in 1994, almost 1 million AmeriCorps members have contributed more than 1.2 billion hours in service across America while tackling pressing problems and mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve.