SCA/AmeriCorps Interns to Work on Rail Trail in Waltham

Daily News Tribune
Monday, May 11, 2009

Trail to stretch 100 miles from Boston to North Hampton

MA Rail Trail

Text By ©GateHouse News Service
Photo by kfergos via Flickr Creative Commons By-NC-SA

WALTHAM — Six SCA Massachusetts Parks AmeriCorps interns will work with the Department of Conservation and Recreation on the Mass. Central Rail Trail, May 11-20. Their work includes restoring an abandoned rail line by clearing and developing a six-mile corridor in the towns of Waltham and Weston. This trail will be the pilot site for the Mass. Central Rail Trail, which will eventually stretch 100 miles from Boston to North Hampton.

Corps members will complete a total of 36 high priority conservation service projects across the Commonwealth this summer as part of the Student Conservation Association (SCA) Mass Parks AmeriCorps program. The Mass Parks AmeriCorps program, which is both the first residential and the first environmental AmeriCorps program in Massachusetts, is a partnership of Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, SCA, the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the Massachusetts Service Alliance and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

“Mass Parks AmeriCorps members serve as inspirational examples of land stewards. Their conservation and education efforts are invaluable to the Commonwealth,” said Priscilla Geigis, Director of State Parks for the DCR.

The SCA Mass Parks AmeriCorps program serves Massachusetts’s public lands from Martha’s Vineyard to the Berkshires each summer, and spends the winter providing environmental education to children at ten schools in the western part of the state. The residential program, headquartered at Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest in Hawley, began its twelfth year of service last October.

“The long-term impact of these conservation service projects both on the land and on the corps members themselves is remarkable.. During the 5 or 10 months they are devoting to environmental service, the corps members are inspiring local youth and improving conservation lands while developing new conservation and leadership skills. It is an amazing process to witness,” said Jonah Keane, Program Director of the SCA Mass Parks AmeriCorps program.

SCA is a nationwide conservation force of college and high school volunteers who protect and restore America’s parks, forests, and other public lands. Since 1957, SCA’s active, hands-on practice of conservation has helped to develop a new generation of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save the planet. To learn more, visit www.theSCA.org

The Department of Conservation and Recreation is steward of one of the largest state park systems in the country, charged with protecting, promoting and enhancing Massachusetts’ common wealth of natural, cultural and recreational resources. DCR’s 450,000 acres is made up of forests, parks, greenways, historic sites and landscapes, seashores, lakes, ponds, reservoirs and watersheds.