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GBI AmeriCorps Members Honored at The Corps Network 2024 Conference

GBI AmeriCorps Members Honored at The Corps Network 2024 Conference

In March, a group of GBI staff members attended The Corps Network 2024 National Conference in Washington, DC. This was a great opportunity to interact with our excellent friends of the Corps Network and to rub shoulders with other like-minded organizations working to improve communities and develop a strong assemblage of publicly engaged youth. And we’ll have more on GBI’s visit to the conference in due course. But today we want to highlight one of GBI’s main reasons to celebrate the event. We have been abuzz about the great honor of having not one, but two of our AmeriCorps members, Heidi Henderson and Jenna Miladin, being named finalists for The Corps Network’s Corpsmember of the Year Award. This alone would be something to crow about, but there’s more: Jenna was awarded the top honor, being named Corpsmember of the Year for 2024!

Finalist Heidi Henderson has been working on invasive plant surveys and treatment at Bear lake National Wildlife Refuge. The Corps Network’s website summarizes her accomplishments: “She directly contributed to the survey of 6,963 acres of refuge property and the treatment of over 8,500 invasive plant occurrences. Not only did this exceed a set goal of 5,000 acres, it exceeded the number surveyed acres in all previous years. Heidi also played a crucial role in the wet meadow habitat assessment and pollinator use surveys, discovering previously undetected flowering plants. Despite facing dyslexia, she showcased exceptional analytical skills, designing and implementing a scientific inquiry, presenting findings to local and regional Fish and Wildlife Service staff. Beyond her scientific achievements, Heidi mentored fellow crew members, fostered camaraderie, and contributed to community building in the small town near Bear Lake Refuge.”

Corpsmember of the Year Jenna Miladin engaged in important activities in Capitol Reef National Park, 2022-23. From the Corps Network’s website: “In her first service term, Jenna led the collection of native seeds for a restoration project. This led her to discovering an insect infestation affecting crucial insect species key to restoration. After spearheading research on this parasitic behavior between insect species, Jenna presented her findings at regional and national conferences. Returning as a lead in 2023, she revamped plant species sampling protocols, conducted genetic sampling, and maintained the restoration seed collection program. Jenna also successfully defended her master’s thesis and secured acceptance into a PhD program during her service. Her diverse contributions, including wildlife and invertebrate sampling, are currently being developed into a peer-reviewed publication.”

Enjoy this video of the inspiring and informative speech delivered by Jenna at the conference.

We are so proud of these two extraordinary AmeriCorps members and so grateful for their contributions to GBI. Their accomplishments are all the more remarkable given their ability to overcome obstacles, Heidi’s dyslexia and Jenna’s muscular dystrophy. In doing so, they provide a model for what can be done even in the face of adversity.

To learn more about the finalists:

To learn more about Jenna Miladin, 2024 Corpsmember of the Year:

Above photo shows Jenna (center) with GBI staff and administration (L to R) Chris Warner, Gabe Donaldson, Kaelyn Hadel, and Peter Woodruff. Below, Jenna with U.S. Senator representing Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto.

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Vast view of a forest with surrounding mountains under a blue sky
ENF – Caldor Fire Noxious Weeds Project

This project lies entirely within Sequoia National Forest Lands on the Western Divide Ranger District. The GBI is implementing this project under a Supplemental Project Agreement pursuant to a Master Stewardship Agreement between GBI and the US Forest Service.

This project consists of cutting and removal of dead trees up to 35 inches DBH in areas affected by high severity fire, and Hazard Tree cutting along roads accessing the project units.