By Colby Chilcote, Marketing Director, Huron Pines
GRAYLING – On Friday, September 28, 30 Huron Pines AmeriCorps members and their supervisors from 20 host organizations across the state will come together to celebrate another successful year of conservation service in Michigan. And they have a lot to celebrate.
With a wide variety of host sites, from the US Forest Service in Mio to the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor, the daily responsibilities of each Huron Pines AmeriCorps member may vary, but they all share a commitment to environmental conservation. Full-time members serve a total of 1,700 h ours over a 10-month term doing everything from teaching elementary students about the jack pine ecosystem to wielding chainsaws for trail maintenance and invasive species removal — all with the goal of enhancing Michigan’s natural resources and fostering environmental stewardship.
Each September, everyone involved in the Huron Pines AmeriCorps program comes together at the end of a busy summer field season to celebrate their achievements — take stock of how far they’ve come since their first snowy days of service and set their sights on a strong finish as their term wraps up in November.
This year’s celebration will be held at Wellington Farm Park in Grayling with lunch from Archie’s food trailer. The event is made possible thanks in part to sponsorship from Line 45, a Gaylord-based mapping and software solutions business.
In addition to celebrating the members and the organizations who host them, Huron Pines will also have the pleasure of honoring one outstanding site supervisor for her contribution to the program.
Susan Thiel of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been named Michigan’s AmeriCorps Site Supervisor of the Month for September 2018 by the Michigan Community Service Commission. Over the past four years, Thiel has supervised and mentored Huron Pines AmeriCorps members serving with the DNR in Grayling.
As a Unit Manager of the Grayling DNR Forest Resource Division, Thiel oversees a staff of 12 employees with operations in forestry, fire, land use and oil and gas. Susan is also the primary contact for existing partnerships with the Michigan National Guard, as a majority of the military land and operations are located within her unit, as well as major portions of both the Au Sable and Manistee rivers. She started her career as a forester in Gladwin in 1985. She then transferred to the Grayling DNR in 1991 and became the Unit Manager in 1997. Susan has provided 33 years of service to the MDNR.
Thiel has thrived in helping her Huron Pines AmeriCorps members grow professionally over the years and has proven that no challenge is too difficult.
“Susan’s actions exceed anything we would expect from a Site Supervisor and our program is very fortunate to have her on board to set the tone for others,” wrote Sarah Topp, Huron Pines AmeriCorps Coordinator in a nomination letter for Thiel.
Huron Pines AmeriCorps site supervisor with the Pigeon River Country State Forest DNR, Scott Whitcomb added, “My colleague, Susan Thiel has fully embraced the high standards of the Huron Pines AmeriCorps program and by doing so has set an excellent example for other site supervisors to follow. Her enthusiasm for the program not only gets things done, but makes others want to join the program and follow in her success.”
Thiel is just one example of the many talented and committed partners who help the Huron Pines AmeriCorps program provide a pathway to successful careers in conservation. For anyone interested in the Huron Pines AmeriCorps program, applications for the 2019 program term are open until October 5. The full list of 30 position description as well as details on how to apply can be found at huronpines.org/americorps.