Hi, I'm Sarah, and I'm the 1700 AmeriCorps Service-member working with Friends of Black Rock-High Rock, 2017-2018, and I'm here to talk about the great things I've been able to be involved in because of my service. I actually did a three-month service with FBHRH May-July of 2017, and I loved working with it so much that, when I heard they were looking for a year-long volunteer, I jumped at the chance!
Things are gearing up for the summer season in the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, which means that its getting busy around Friends of Black Rock-High Rock's Visitor Center in Gerlach, NV, a town with a population of less than 200. I've been able to help keep the visitor center open through the winter, help address their inventory tracking problems, learn about WordPress, and expand my knowledge of social media outreach during the first half of my service term.
Most of the AmeriCorps volunteers with FBRHR over the last few years have only been involved in summer programs, so it was really great for me to be able to come on through the winter. This helped FBRHR keep the Visitor Center open a lot more than it has been in previous years, with only a single staff member available to manage it. It was great to get to know people who come through. People are of all ages and walks of life who come through here, and many of them have similar questions, and its fun to see what things these people have in common. Often a love of the outdoors, an interest in hot springs, and a curiosity of Burning Man's effect of the town of Gerlach are common factors! But we also have people who are descendants of those who took the immigrant trails into California or Oregon.
It also gave me time to help with FBRHR's inventory issues, moving them to new software that would track their inventory for them, and creating a sign-up sheet function with one of the Board Members on their WordPress Website, so that they could be more effective in reaching out to volunteers in the future. This was a lot of fun for me, and I was happy to learn more about WordPress. I've also been really happy to share my experiences with social media platforms (like Facebook and Twitter) and Square, while learning a lot about other sites and programs, like WordPress, Instagram, and Flickr. I've also started learning how to use Slack as a messaging platform, which is pretty helpful. Good communication is super helpful!
Overall, volunteering with AmeriCorps and Friends of Black Rock-High Rock has been a great opportunity for me!