AmeriCorps: The Backbone of One Truckee River

We’ve made no secret about how awesome are stakeholders are. The One Truckee River Partnership is made up of representatives from a wide variety of local businesses, agencies, and jurisdictions who’ve made some really great leaps and bounds for the Truckee River.

But where would we be without the day-to-day work? What about those who are working behind the scenes to lay foundations for bigger things to come? One Truckee River began and continues with the help of AmeriCorps.

Uhhh, AmeriCorps? (The ‘p’ is silent, folks!) What the heck is that? Allow this video to explain:

One Truckee River utilized the AmeriCorps program since day one. In May 2015, Alex Hoeft helped lift OTR off the ground through communications and outreach. She created the website you’re reading this on, social media platforms, and helped prepare the phase one management plan. Today she works as OTR’s Outreach Coordinator.

Left to right: Meg Parker, Cessie Pulleyn, Emily Ulrich, and Nick Mazzoni.

In August 2016, Meg Parker, Emily Ulrich, Nick Mazzoni, and Cessie Pulleyn all joined the OTR family for an AmeriCorps 11-month term of service.

Meg focused on watershed education planning, creation of the community watershed knowledge survey, mile marker installation, and assistance with baseline mapping. She was even the face of a couple Public Service Announcements about river care!

The fruits of Meg’s labor are listed below:

Emily came in to assist with baseline mapping of the Truckee River amenities. She blossomed and expanded her skillset to include the creation of a story map and a teacher’s guide.

Her hard work included such success as an OTR Teacher’s Guide: Wildlife and Plants Along the Truckee River, the Amenities Map, Recreation Map, and an OTR Story Map.

Next up, Nick Mazzoni (our sole male AmeriCorps for OTR). Nick lead the charge for the Truckee River Watershed Community Knowledge Survey. He painstakingly oversaw a group to create questions for the survey, attended tons of public events and meetings to spread the word, and helped find amazing prizes (Jack Johnson tickets, anyone?) to offer as incentive for taking the survey. Check out the survey executive summary and technical report here.

Nick also became a well-known face by emcee-ing multiple OTR events and helped coordinate volunteers for the River Fest in 2017.

The last (though certainly not the least) of our 2016-17 AmeriCorps was Cessie Pulleyn.

Cessie’s passion shone in all of her hard work. She was constantly running around promoting One Truckee River at events, taking photos and video of the river, and contributing her amazing and artistic mind to different conservation causes.

She pulled together the first River Photos contest, put the photos on display, and filmed the PSAs Meg starred in. Her helping hand was found throughout One Truckee River.

Nick and Cessie together spent time teaching Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful’s Watershed Warriors program in Washoe County classrooms.

Our 2017-2018 pair of AmeriCorps were just as incredible as those before them. Elise Traywick and Patricia Tierney came all the way from New York and Florida to contribute to our cause.

Elise, Lynda Nelson, and Patricia at River Fest’s River Roll in May 2018.

Elise and Patricia created One Truckee River Month from the ground-up. The two women worked tirelessly reaching out to different places, organizing river-focused events — they made One Truckee River Month an incredible success.

These two women also contributed tons of legwork and research to Washoe County’s ArTrail project — a public participatory experience that celebrates cultural, historical and artistic landmarks along the Truckee River.

And that was in addition to teaching about the Truckee River watershed in classrooms and performing tons of outreach at different events throughout the entire year.

Alex Hoeft, Patricia, and Elise at Renown’s Earth Day event in 2018.

Lastly (for now) are Sophie Butler and Carrie Jensen, our 2018-19 AmeriCorps members.

Sophie and Carrie are currently knee-deep in prep for the second One Truckee River Month. Their new ideas are helping build on top of the great foundation.

They’re also helping contribute to a bolstered outreach approach for the partnership; continuing the Watershed Warrior tradition in classrooms; and wrapping up research and information for the ArTrail.

The rest of their awesomeness will continue through the beginning of August 2019!