Thousands of young Americans choose to serve in AmeriCorps NCCC, where they have opportunities to gain experience while supporting climate change mitigation, building affordable housing, providing critical disaster response, and more. It’s a chance to travel the country, all expenses paid, and earn money for college while serving on a team full-time.
Here in Virginia, AmeriCorps NCCC members are serving across the Commonwealth, fighting recent wildfires, rehabilitating local housing for community members in need, and supporting efforts to introduce rotational grazing to the pony population on Chincoteague Island, VA. Explore photos from their recent service projects and keep reading to learn more...
AmeriCorps NCCC Delta 3
AmeriCorps NCCC Team Delta 3 has served in Natural Bridge, Virginia, since October 20. In that time, they have served on a variety of projects, including the restoration of a pavilion at Cave Mountain Lake Recreation Area with HistoriCorps, another service organization, where they removed rotten and damaged parts of the shelter roof, repaired rafters, and installed new cedar shingles. Team Delta 3 also spent several days at the Natural Bridge State Park, removing unwanted vegetation from various sites throughout the park and preparing lights and decorations for the park's annual Luminary Nights event.
Team Delta 3 also served on three different wildfires while in Virginia, including the Red Swamp (2.5 acres) and the Patch Fire (4.7 acres) here in the state, as well as the Heavener Mountain Fire across the border in Brandywine, West Virginia. On these fires, the team participated in mop-up and hand line construction to ensure that the fires were contained and did not spread outside of containment lines – successfully ensuring that the fires were contained quickly and with minimal harm to the surrounding ecosystem. Team members reported that, “This was a great way to serve the community as well as gain wildfire fighting experience for the team." They learned about the immense amount of work and logistics that go into keeping our National Forests safe. Team members especially appreciated the mentorship and support of Brent Foltz, Fire Management Officer for the Glenwood-Pedlar Ranger District, who worked tirelessly to support their service, showing genuine care about the team's well-being.
AmeriCorps NCCC Bayou 2
AmeriCorps NCCC Team Bayou 2 has served with the Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg, helping rehabilitate and re-build homes for community members in need. This has included smaller repair jobs for homeowners as well as larger projects. One of these houses was built in the 1960s and now belongs to a woman who grew up in the house. Her father helped lay the original brick but, when he passed away two years ago, she inherited a house that had fallen into disrepair. Team Bayou 2 was able to help improve the house’s condition by painting shutters, adding gutters, and replacing storm doors so that she can move in and continue to work to restore it to its former glory. On similar sites, the team also helped with light demolition and siding installation.
A larger project that the team recently completed involved raising the roof on a home. When they arrived at the site, the home only had a brick foundation. Since then, the team members built the floor and walls, from start to finish. As a team, they also installed the beams and rafters for the roof in one day, leaving a freestanding house for other volunteers to continue to improve. One team member reported that, “It was awesome to see our impact and how fast we could build.” They also found it meaningful to work as part of the Habitat team and to get to know some of the homeowners whose houses they helped build or improve.
In addition to the meaningful service opportunities, the team also appreciated their proximity to the beach, where they regularly completed their NCCC mandatory physical training by swimming in the surf or playing beach volleyball. From here, the team is heading to Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., to continue their service at sites including the Salvation Army Arlington Corps where they will be supporting a holiday service project.
AmeriCorps NCCC Bayou 3 Southern Region
AmeriCorps NCCC Team Bayou 3 Southern Region has served at the National Wildlife Refuge on Chincoteague Island, Virginia, for the last four weeks. Their efforts have been focused on a fencing project to introduce rotational grazing to the pony population on the island. The team has completed 3.5 miles of fencing to continue extending the existing fence. Several past NCCC teams have worked on the project over the years and it has become a NCCC Southern Region legacy.
While on the island the team has learned about ecological conservation and the many different wildlife species of the area. Team members report that one of the things that has been most meaningful to the team was learning the difference between feral and wild ponies. The Chincoteague ponies are considered feral because they receive veterinary care twice a year, sponsored by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, while wild ponies receive no scheduled human contact. The team found this especially meaningful because their service was in direct support of keeping the ponies safe.
One team member said, "Working on Chincoteague Island has been especially meaningful to me because my mom used to read books about Misty the Pony. She remembered these memories so fondly from her childhood that she got to visit the refuge as an adult and see Misty. It was cool to be walking in my mom's footsteps by being on the island and making a meaningful impact."
Interested in learning more about AmeriCorps NCCC? Explore NCCC opportunities and other AmeriCorps streams of service at servevirginia.org/about-us/americorps.