BUTLER TWP. — Aullwood Audubon just finished hosting the first ever AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) to come to the greater Dayton area. Between May 2 and June 24, the Oak 5 AmeriCorps team of eight worked alongside the Aullwood staff, learning the mission of the Audubon Center and Farm and helping to create more biodiversity and beautifying the grounds.
During their visit, the NCCC remove 60,000 lbs of invasive species of plants on 17 acres from the center to the farm and place solarized tarp for the prevention of Sweet Flag overgrowth. A trail was cleared and boardwalk laid, giving more access to the public and enabling hikers to travel through the woods from the farm to the Audubon Center. 140 native plates were transplanted and stumps were treated with herbicide. The NCCC even helped to teach at the Summer Earth Adventurers Training and provided animal care at the Farm Babies spring volunteer event.
Laurie Cothran, Aullwood’s Marking Manager, was responsible for the application to AmeriCorps for a team. She was pleased with the results of the NCCC’s visit. “They accomplished and learned so much during their time here,” Cothran said. “It was amazing to see how much everyone benefitted from this partnership.”
The students all agreed that the primary value they experienced in action at Aullwood was dedication to sustainability and preservation. Throughout the 10 months AmeriCorps students serve, they are with various organizations. The Oak 5 group noted striking contrasts in the desire for environmental responsibility between the organizations, identifying Aullwood as “refreshingly different.” Team leader Ashley Frampton said, “We understand how important this work is to us and to the community after the weeks we learned from the passionate staff and volunteers at Aullwood; we feel really lucky to be the team that got to come here.”
One of the students on the team, Alexandra Woods, remarked on the attitude she saw and felt regarding volunteering at a community organization like Aullwood. “The questions we ask ourselves and others is: ‘if not you, who? If not now, when?’” Wood said. Those are questions they ask as they recruit for the AmeriCorps organization. Founded in 1994, the organization was established to give students ages 19 to 24 an opportunity to develop skills in areas pertaining to sustainability, teaching, community service, and disaster relief.
Many of the visiting NCCC members at Aullwood have already graduated from college and chose to work with AmeriCorps as a way to give back before they begin their job search. Students from all over the country participate in NCCC. Despite the differences in the backgrounds, education, and region of origin, all the visiting students and Aullwood staff agreed that the partnership between AmeriCorps and Aullwood was a perfect fit.
Aullwood’s visiting AmeriCorps NCCC team included: Ashley Frampton from Higgins Lake, Michigan, Maximilian Arczynski from Stowe, Vermont, Kyle Drayer from Nashua New Hampshire, Amanda Graham from Enumciaw, Washington, Marie Hicks from Boulder, CO, Mele Ana Kastner from Vancouver, Washington, Keira Larson from Chandler, Arizona, Erin Manion from Sandy Hook Connecticut, and Alexandra Woods from Marks, Mississippi.