Pollock Pines, Calif. — An AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) team has finished its service with the U.S. Forest Service at the Pacific Ranger Station in Pollock Pines.
The team of nine has been working since late March to thin the Eldorado National Forest to ensure safety and maintain a healthy habitat for the surrounding private residences. It has also been creating fire breaks around areas of the forest that the Forest Service plans to burn later in the year.
The NCCC team has been extensively trained in wildland firefighting, chainsaw operation and helicopter crew member certification. For the last three months they have done fuel reduction, trail building in Desolation wilderness, and have had the opportunity to serve the communities surrounding Pollock Pines. Local non-profts that have received NCCC assistance include: the F.A.I.T.H program (Feeding And Inspiring The Homeless), the Snowline Little League Association, the annual Wagon Train Event, Diamond Springs Humane Society, Community Economic Development Association of Pollock Pines (CEDAPP) and many more.
When the Seely Mountain Fire began near Huntington, Utah in the last week of June, the team was one of many that was sent to help fight it. It spent two weeks on the fireline in Utah and is now returning to the AmeriCorps NCCC base near Sacramento for debriefing.
Rebecca Ballard of Dickerson, Md. was glad to serve Pollock Pines through fire management. The 23-year-old is confident that the team will use the skills learned here even after the program is finished.
“We had some really awesome and in-depth training, and we’re happy to have had the opportunity to serve the communities of Pollock Pines and Placerville,” she said. “We’ll never forget the kind hospitality wherever we went on this project.”
AmeriCorps NCCC is a full-time, residential, national service program in which 1,200 young adults serve nationwide each year. During its 10-month term, Corps Members — all 18 to 24 years old — work on teams of eight to 12 on projects that address critical needs related to natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development. Members work on a series of different projects, typically lasting six to eight weeks each, to mentor students, construct and rehabilitate low-income housing, respond to natural disasters, clean up streams, help communities develop emergency plans, and address countless other local needs. The Pacific Region campus in Sacramento is one of five regional hubs in the United States and serves 10 states in the western part of the country, as well as territories of Guam and American Samoa. The other campuses are located in Denver, Colo., Vicksburg, Miss., Perry Point, Md, and Vinton, Iowa.
In exchange for their service, Corps Members receive $5,550 to help pay for college, or to pay back existing student loans. Other benefits include a small living stipend, room and board, leadership development, increased self-confidence, and the knowledge that, through active citizenship, people can indeed make a difference. AmeriCorps NCCC is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Corporation improves lives, strengthens communities and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. For more information about AmeriCorps NCCC, visit the Website at www.americorps.gov/nccc.