Today is the last day of my fellowship with the Trail Town Program and the Student Conservation Association. It is amazing to think how quickly the past ten months have flown and how much I’ve grown professionally and personally. Some of the goals we set initially at the beginning of my fellowship was to increase the Trail Town Certified Network by ten members. Courtney and I managed to surpass this goal and double the membership from forty-six to over ninety members. By the time Courtney finishes her fellowship, the membership should be over one hundred members! Additionally, we managed to get our facebook page over 1,000 likes in our campaign to expand our social media outreach and invented “#trailtowncertified” Tuesdays. If your business or organization is #trailtowncertified, make sure to use this hashtag as it will help with marketing efforts for the network.
Some other accomplishments during my fellowship were beautifying over ten acres of land along the Trail Towns on the Great Allegheny Passage and Trans Allegheny Trail System and we educated over 150 youth and community members through these projects. Lessons ranged from the importance of trails and green spaces, storm water management, and the difference between native and invasive species. Additionally, I wrote a few small grants for the Trail Town Program and the Trail Towns and co-presented in the Pro Walk Pro Bike Pro Place Conference, which hosted over one thousand professional in place making from all over the world. Also, as a personal accomplishment, I completed biking the GAP trail in October. Here is a photo of me at the end of the trail in Cumberland, Maryland.
I’m taking what I’ve learned from the Trail Town Program and the Student Conservation Association to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the next year to work on the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge. I will be working in conjunction with the Americorps VISTA program as the refuge’s Education Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator. Afterwards, I’m not sure where I will end up but I would like to continue in outdoor tourism and alternative transportation advocacy. This fellowship has provided me countless opportunities and prepared me to move across the country to pursue further career development. Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout these past ten months; it’s been a great ride!