My name is Jon Knepper. I am an AmeriCorps VetsWork member that was assigned to a facilities maintenance position working directly with the U.S Forest Service.
I started the position in early February and so far my time here has been a great learning experience and very productive. Within my position I am responsible for not only maintaining all of the structures and signs within our sector of the forest but responding to any emergency situations such as broken water pipes, electrical failures, heating and air problems, fire damage on structures ect. Our goal is to properly maintain and inspect all facilities to stop any of these problems before they happen.
During my time here I have had a chance to help with some things outside of my field as well to explore possible opportunities for the future. For example I tagged along with one of our districts wildland firefighters to a local school where I dressed up as Smokey bear so we could educate the children on how to practice safety while in the forest to help prevent wildfires from occurring. I have also had the chance to go out into the field with our districts wildlife biologist to look for Oregon spotted frog egg masses within a newly created habitat made for them. And we were successful in finding a good amount of egg masses!
During my time with AmeriCorps we are assigned to complete a community action project. What this essentially means is we are suppose to identify a need in our local community and create some kind of project to help with that need and benefit our community in a way that will hopefully continue after we are gone. For my project I have taken a lead role and with the help of four others in getting our community garden on its feet and organizing a system in witch guarantees a organized and productive harvest that will help provide members of our community with fresh produce as well as give community members a chance to get involved and volunteer at the garden. My goal in this is to help bring people together within Trout Lake with the common goal of helping one another. So far we have drastically cleaned up and organized a property that has been neglected for years. Now it is a professional looking farm with great leadership from our locals and we have plants in the ground growing. I very much look forward to the future of this project and the rest of my time with AmeriCorps and the Mt. Adams Institute.