In August, I began a year-long volunteer service position as an AmeriCorps OSM/VISTA. I’m working with the Appalachian Coal Country Team, which is a partnership of AmeriCorps VISTA, and the Office of Surface Mining, dedicated to assisting rural Appalachian communities impoverished by environmental degradation, in making their watersheds healthier places to live. My host site is in Middle Tennessee, southwest of Nashville, with the Harpeth River Watershed Association. HRWA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to restoring and protecting the ecological health of the Harpeth River and its Watershed through 1) river restoration and wildlife protection, 2) water quality protection, and 3) outreach and education. I’m working within all three aspects to help the watershed. In the restoration area, I’m working with farmers to incorporate best management practices by building cattle fencing, creating buffer zones to decrease agricultural runoff, and working on stream bank re-stabilization. On the water quality side, I’m strengthening a pharmaceutical disposal program throughout the state, alongside launching a campaign to inform the community about contaminants of emerging concern, including traces of pharmaceuticals found in the river and their negative impacts on both aquatic wildlife and public health. I will also be providing an educational component to farmers on best management practices, and to the general public on contaminants of emerging concern. Additionally, I’m creating an educational series on the fun and interesting wildlife facts about the river because, outside of the Amazon and the Mekong, the Harpeth River is one of the most biologically diverse in the world!
The information provided on this page has been contributed by the individual alumnus