2014: Member - Taylor Hays

About me. I grew up in Hastings and attended the University of Minnesota - Morris where I fell in love with the environment. I learned that there were a lot of important issues surrounding the environment and felt a sense of urgency at needing to be a part of the solutions. I graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Anthropology. I then worked for one summer as a crew leader with Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa and lived in Minnesota state parks all summer, hanging out with youth, living in tents and cooking our meals over a camp stove. It was a fantastic experience! I love to be outdoors, to learn new things, and to teach others what I've learned!

About my service. I am serving Carver County as a Waste Prevention and Recycling GreenCorps Member. My first task this service term is working with around five schools to improve or implement a recycling and organics composting program within their school. This means tracking pre-and-post implementation waste data, setting up bins, and (my favorite part) educating students and staff in the school about why our waste is so important, and what we can do with it to make it useful. My next two tasks will start up more in the spring and summer – first, I will be working with Carver County Parks to establish similar programs within the parks system; at campgrounds, beaches and dog parks. Secondly, I’ll be working with the county to determine the best way to reduce waste at county events (such as the County Fair), turning these community events into low-waste gatherings called Green Gatherings.

Why I serve. I originally wanted to be a GreenCorps member because it was directly related to my field of study, which is rare for someone just getting out of college! I also feel that I am obligated to serve (and do so gladly) simply because I have the ability to. Since starting my service, GreenCorps has been great in helping me develop professional skills, communicate proficiently, and to get a good feel for what life is like in the professional environmental field.

My favorite place to visit in Minnesota. Gooseberry Falls State Park. I spent three weeks up there with a crew this summer, tenting 15 feet from the shore of Lake Superior. Additionally, Shovel Point up on the North Shore has the most amazing sunrise! Lake Superior is just so neat – there is so much history and so much to see!