June 2010 Corpsmember of the Month
Supervisor: Eileen Jones, Restoration & Ecosystem Crew Supervisor
Crew: Restoration & Ecosystem Management AmeriCorps Program
Length of time at CCNB: 9 months
Reason corpsmember was selected: Theo is placed at Point Reyes National Seashore as a Habitat Restoration Volunteer Coordinator. She is an enthusiastic corpsmember with stellar communication and organizational skills. She has shown great leadership qualities from day one. Theo is a confident corpsmember with a can do attitude, who motivates other members to do their best. She has strong volunteer facilitation skills and a die hard work ethic. Theo willingly agreed to do a presentation at the annual Holiday All Corps celebration and wowed everyone with her spin on how plants tell a story about the landscape.
Skills training received at CCNB: Volunteer Recruitment, Volunteer Coordination, Event Planning, Recycling Education, Lesson Planning, CPR, First Aid, Corps to Career (resume writing, cover letter writing, and interview skills), Group Management, Teamwork, and Naturalist Skills.
Leadership roles at CCNB: Theo took the lead in proposing that the team’s annual civic engagement event take place at Bayer Farm with Sonoma County’s Landpaths organization. The event was wildly successful and led to Landpaths partnering with CCNB in the Volunteers in Service to the Environment AmeriCorps program for 2010-2011. During planning meetings for the event, Theo gracefully shared information with the team and was a terrific spokesperson for CCNB by being a liaison between the two organizations. Theo coordinates and facilitates volunteer work days at Point Reyes National Seashore and does and fantastic job of recognizing and enticing volunteers to become regulars.
Favorite project: Theo’s favorite project was the group Civic Engagement day with LandPaths at Bayer Farm. Growing up in Sonoma County, Theo feels gratitude for having the chance to give back to her home in such a beautiful and healthy way. From the process of choosing an organization, to working on the farm the day of the event, Theo truly enjoyed this project because of its group effort and the impact it had on bringing communities together. Highlights of the day include the hilarious irony of sitting around the compost piles and enjoying a meal with everyone – building community from the soil up!
Favorite educational component: The Land: Theo feels that one of her favorite educational component is learning from the land itself. Want to know where cape ivy is? Theo says look for wood rat nests or follow your nose. Not sure what the weather is doing? Theo says watch the birds and know the wind.Theo has also enjoyed learning about the qualities of invasive plants. Not wanting to think of them as “bad plants,” she set out to find out their beneficial qualities. This in turn sparked her interest in ethnobotany and the use of “weeds” for their medicinal and editable properties.
Favorite aspect of working at CCNB: The People: Theo feels that she has learned so much from the people she works with. From her volunteers she has learned about plants, volunteer recruitment and has been inspired to try to walk though life gently and with grace (her oldest volunteer is in her 80’s). From her fellow corps members and advisors she has learned about tool use, team work, determination and being awesome!
Future plans: After CCNB, Theo would like to continue her writing on topics including the language of the land. She would like to help others learn about and discover their own relationship with the land while continuing to foster her own. She would like to spend the next year learning about farming, horticulture and in the future attend graduate school. She also plans to enter the Buff Neck Muscle Olympics because of the fine neck muscles she has developed from looking down at the ground at plants.
What did corpsmember do before joining CCNB?: Theo wrote and had the pleasure of working in a coffee shop where she met people who encouraged her to follow her heart. One of these people connected her with Sonoma Land Trust, where she volunteered for a year before applying for the Americorps program with CCNB.
Why did corpsmember join CCNB?: Theo joined CCNB because of the book she read when she was young entitled, The Man Who Planted Trees. She also wanted to explore different career opportunities that were closer to her values -- supporting the planet and fostering a love for the land.
How has CCNB changed your life?: Besides having larger neck muscles from looking at plants? It has been a very empowering experience for Theo to set a goal that came from the pull of her heart, follow it forward, work and shape it, and make it happen. This has changed Theo’s life--getting to know her heart again from a different prospective.
What life lessons has the Corpsmember learned from the experience?: Theo has learned that she can eat milk thistle and that this is the best way to get rid of it!
Any advice for young people wanting to join CCNB?: What you learn from your CCNB adventures will extend beyond just the structure of your days. The activities you engage in and the work you do with your mentors are just the beginning. You will be inspired by the people that you meet and the doors that you get to peak into. Don’t be afraid to open the doors, follow your heart, and walk through.
What's the most important thing you've learned from this experience?: Only with our community and knowing and listening to the language of the land are we able to archive those things larger than ourselves.
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