From one AmeriCorps to the Next
By Robyn Bath-Rosenfeld
My last day as Umpqua Watershed’s AmeriCorps was on July 31st, 2020. While we couldn’t have a big goodbye party, or attend Twin Lakes Campout or River Appreciation Day, I still had a lot to celebrate. Today’s article is my service’s highlight-reel, a chance to demonstrate the opportunities my position created.
Despite COVID-19 and school closures, I was still able to accomplish a great deal as this organization’s AmeriCorps. In just 11 months, I provided environmental education for 600+ Umpqua youth, hosted events, worked in seven different schools and harnessed the power of 90 volunteers in our community. Once COVID hit, I was still able to distribute 96 @Home Explorer kits to local kids now stuck at home.
I not only had the chance to give as an AmeriCorps, but also to gain. I felt like a sponge this last year, soaking up so much new knowledge in teaching, classroom management, civic responsibility, community service, leadership and planning.
This article is also a chance to say thank you – to show gratitude to all the members of this watershed, especially my supervisor Kasey, who supported me during my time as an AmeriCorps. Thank you to the UW Board Members and staff who provide so much guidance and mentorship. Thank you to the Douglas County public school teachers who opened their classrooms to my environmental lessons and activities. Thank you to the City of Roseburg for helping host our largest event of 2020, the Martin Luther King Day River Clean Up. And finally thank you to all the supporters, sponsors and grantors who have funded our efforts to bring watershed education to the Umpqua.
Now that my service has ended, I will be staying in the area, pursuing a Masters of Teaching so that I can further my ambitions to become a public school science educator. I’ve been so inspired by working with Douglas County students and am ready to take the next step towards become a teacher.
Umpqua Watersheds is welcoming their newest AmeriCorps, Ryan, in September! She is a truly incredible woman with a strong passion for outreach and education! Watersheds is so lucky to bring her on board, all the way from Vermont, no less! It takes a lot for this organization to bring on staff and resources – now that my service is over, and I, like you, am a citizen supporting my watersheds, I ask that you please give what you can, and support UW with a donation today! This donation will go towards our newest AmeriCorps and the resources she will need to take on environmental education and outreach in the age of coronavirus. Thank you for your support and making our service possible!
The next AmeriCorps…..
Ryan Kincaid is a native of the Finger Lakes region of New York. From an early age, she loved to explore the woods, creek, and lake and observe the numerous frogs, chipmunks, and other wildlife near her grandparents’ cottage. Ryan earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Environmental Studies and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Hobart and William Smith College in Geneva, New York. During college, she created an after-school program in response to the low graduation rates of the local public school offering students a chance to get to know professionals in the field and learn about various career options. She also led after-school programs focused on reading/writing, environmentalism, and the creative arts. For 5 years after college, she taught science at a private middle school where she organized “eco” service days, harvest lunches, and coached cross country. As a teacher, she also coordinated “EcoFusion,” an after-school program which focused on environmental stewardship, community service, and the creative arts. Most recently, she participated in the ECO AmeriCorps program in Vermont, where she practiced plant identification, GIS mapping, and assisted with such projects as invasive plant management, native tree seedling propagation, community outreach, and landscape design.
Ryan has a passion for out-of-school and hands-on learning opportunities for youth and was first attracted to the Education and Outreach Leader position with Umpqua Watersheds (UW) because of its similarity to programs she has led and loved over the years. She strives to provide opportunities for others to develop an appreciation of nature while connecting with their local environment and its inhabitants. Ryan is eager to learn all she can during her time with UW and is excited to jump into a role where she can hone her skills as an environmental educator in Douglas County. She is looking forward to the variety of activities she will be doing, including programs on UW’s radio station, KQUA, and operating an educational drone; both will be new experiences for her. She is enthusiastic about brainstorming and implementing creative ideas and will be spending time developing at-home and socially distanced activities for local youth to engage with the environment. She feels that learning about and interacting with nature are crucially important and “when we closely observe something we get to know it a bit better, and begin to appreciate it a bit more. There is so much to appreciate about nature and I’m eager to help others see it.”