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What Inspired our AmeriCorps Member’s Service?

January 16, 2024 by Addie Hedges

In the past year and a half, two of the places I have called home throughout my life – Southwest Florida and Montpelier Vermont – have been met with catastrophic flooding.

In September of 2022, I watched the place where my family lives get inundated with storm surge from afar. The people I love had to leave their homes and go days without cell service, power, or water as Hurricane Ian battered the coast. As the storm left the region, the damage was made known. A relative’s home was destroyed, and the town that has always held a special place in my heart may never return to the state it was in before the storm. 

Honestly, I thought I was escaping similar climate catastrophes when I moved to Vermont in May. After a short two months of enjoying living in the nation’s smallest capital city, a similar situation unfolded. The days of July 10th and 11th, and the week following, were spent watching the rivers rise and helping neighbors mitigate and clean up flood damage. 

Both of these natural disasters have caused heavy reflection on how we as humans interact with nature and how we react when these events happen. These thoughts have further inspired my interest in joining the team of an organization that focuses on the health of rivers. The ability to be involved with Vermont communities in protecting and living in harmony with our rivers for my service year was extremely appealing when I was looking for my next step after my summer internship. Over the past four months, my understanding of rivers has grown with the help of my host site and other community partners, as well as people who were impacted by the flooding. I have sought to extend this knowledge to communities using social media, writing, webinars, and in-person events.

All of these mediums of engaging with communities throughout Vermont have inspired my service with Vermont River Conservancy and have helped me form a new relationship with my community and the rivers surrounding it. 

Addie Hedges staff photo


Addie is our VHCB AmeriCorps Community Engagement Coordinator. She has been serving since September 2023 and looks forward to upcoming events this winter and spring.

A waterfall in the summer surrounded by green vegetation.

Barre: Art for Our Rivers

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