Make A Difference . . .
be a Volunteer
By Carolyn Bauer
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is looking for America's finest to volunteer their time and effort at lakes all around the nation. From a Cub Scout's first experience with a bluebird box, to a retired electrician solving electrical problems in the campground on the weekends, all volunteers play an important part in helping the lakes, natural resources, and recreation areas managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Corps of Engineers has made volunteering at their lakes easy. A program called The Volunteer Clearinghouse began in 1994, and serves volunteers across the nation, linking interested individuals to projects where volunteers are needed. A simple phone call to the Volunteer Hotline can start you on the road to volunteering at a Corps Lake. Interested callers are mailed an information packet including a point of contact for the geographic area requested. Internet access is available at www.orn.usace.army.mil/volunteer , where current listings are given. The Volunteer Clearinghouse can also be contacted by writing to: P.O. Box 1070, Nashville, TN 37202-1070.
Many lakes provide campground hosts a free campsite with water, electric and sewer hookups during their stay. This gives people with recreational vehicles the chance to live in different areas of the country in exchange for their helping hands. More than 300 Corps lakes and waterways participate in the Volunteer Clearinghouse to get help with their recreation and natural resource management programs. Park rangers need volunteers for a variety of jobs including campground hosts, trail workers, visitor center assistants, carpenters, electricians, shoreline cleanup workers, and wildlife aides. The hours and duties are worked out between the volunteer and the park ranger at that particular lake.
Kay White, a volunteer at Cochiti Lake in New Mexico says, "Where others come to vacation, we get to call this beautiful place home." Volunteers are not paid, but receive other benefits. They gain skills, work outdoors, meet new people, see new areas of the country, and achieve a proud sense of helping the environment and their fellow man.
Lakes and parks across the country need qualified volunteers to do the big and the not-so-big jobs, because every little bit helps. Those interested may call The Volunteer Clearinghouse at (800) VOL-TEER.
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