AmeriCorps planting trees in Rutland County

"Among other things, the conservancy is also using its partnership with the AmeriCorps members in battling an invasive species in Vermont called garlic mustard," Lundberg said.

This is the fifteenth anniversary for AmeriCorps NCCC, a leadership program for young people ages 18 to 24.

In exchange for completing 1,700 hours of service during a 10-month term, these young people receive a taxpayer funded education award of nearly $5,000, plus a living stipend, housing and more.

AmeriCorps programs are administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency.

NCCC member Beth Sewart of Maryland, said she and her teammates will work together for 10 months although they may be moved around to different regions that might include Mississippi and West Virginia.

"I wanted to travel. Doing this kind of work was very appealing," Stewart said. She found AmeriCorps to be a perfect match for her youthful goals. Other teammates expressed similar reasons for enrolling in AmeriCorps NCCC.

According to government literature available to the public, the mission of AmeriCorps NCCC is "to strengthen communities and develop leaders through direct, team-based national and community service. In partnership with nonprofit organizations, state and local agencies, and faith-based and other community organizations, members complete service projects throughout the region they are assigned."

AmeriCorps NCCC is inspired by the the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s and the U.S. military; it is built on the belief that civic responsibility is a duty of all citizens and that national service programs work best with local communities to address "pressing needs".

Interested applicants and project sponsors are encouraged to learn more by visiting www.americorps.gov\Nccc or calling 1-800-942-2677.

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