NOS Mission

Nevada Outdoor School inspires exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat and dedication to community.
This is the spot for us to share stories, fun ideas or general musings. When you aren't in here, we hope to see you out there!

Thursday, May 18, 2023

AmeriCorps Spotlight: Olivia Cameron: Conservation and Volunteer Coordinator with Friends of the Black Rock- High Rock

Where are you from and what’s your background? 

I am from a small Amish town an hour northwest of Philadelphia. Though I grew up in an agricultural community, it wasn’t until my 2021 Vineyard and Bee-keeping internship that my interest and passion for the environment solidified itself. From that point onward I have been traveling the US in search of more opportunities to learn about, and care for, our planet. 

How did you learn about the AmeriCorps program? What made you interested in the position and why did you choose to apply? 

A friend of mine with experience in blending learning and travel suggested looking into AmeriCorps for opportunities in seasonal conservation work. While searching for positions with an emphasis on environmental education and stewardship. Surprised by the vast options I was presented with, I ended up applying for job opportunities all over the country. Nevada is where I landed 

How long have you been an AmeriCorps member?

I have completed around 1,300 hours of service with two different host sites. In March 2022 I started my 900-hour term with Friends of Black Rock, where I’ve had the opportunity to deeply explore various parts of the 1.2 million-acre National Conservation Area. After I completed my term with FBR I joined the Walker Basin Conservancy team for a 200-hour term. As a Restoration Team Member, I worked on native planting projects and invasive species removal. I started the position at the closing of the planting season, but our team was able to plant over 600 native plants in a short amount of time. On other days we trekked along the Walker River searching for the invasive Tamarisk, so that we may properly remove the plant to provide a more suitable habitat for native species. In 2023, I returned to Friends of Black Rock for a second 900-hour term. Yay! 

In your own words, what is AmeriCorps? 

AmeriCorps is an opportunity to better yourself, your community, and the world around you. I feel the work I do really matters, which is important to me and makes me feel good. As a member of AmeriCorps, not only do you make an impact during your term, but you also get the opportunity to continue doing what you love after you leave the program. With your new experience and educational award you can look for new opportunities in the things that interest you the most! 

What impact has being an AmeriCorps member had on you personally?

Before joining the AmeriCorps program I was unsure of what path I wanted to take in life. I was in a community college with an undeclared major but knew I wanted to study something related to the environment. AmeriCorps gave me the opportunity to work in the field I knew I was interested in. The hands-on experience helped me determine what I enjoyed most and what I wanted to invest my time learning about. As a result, I will be returning to school this upcoming winter to study Natural Resources and Ecological Restoration. 

What impact has being an AmeriCorps member had on your community?

At Friends of Black Rock one of our goals is to keep our community and the surrounding area in its natural pristine condition. We go to tourist ‘hot spots’ around the area, like popular hot springs, and do restoration work. We host nature walks to Fly Geyser which brings around 50 people a week into our small, rural, Nevadan town. We educate people on the vast and incredibly interesting history that the Black Rock NCA holds. We advocate for best practices like those outlined by Leave No Trace so those recreating in the area can minimize their impact on the land and all its creatures. 

What’s your favorite memory or experience (so far) as an AmeriCorps member?

Doing an environmental-based AmeriCorps program has given me the opportunity to truly coexist within nature, something I am very thankful for. Growing up on the East Coast made me unfamiliar with such vast and wild spaces I wasn’t even aware existed. With FBR we host conservation campouts that are a 3.5-hour drive into the middle of nowhere. Getting to camp and giving back to our planet is an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.

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