Grant writing, GIS work, flyer and spreadsheet design, presenting, planning, and fostering partnerships are just some of the tangible skills that Nick Voss gained from his Minnesota GreenCorps service. He also gained “a realistic look into how organizations function and how environmentally focused careers fit into public and non-profit sectors.”
A two-time Minnesota GreenCorps member (2011-12 and 2012-13), Nick remembers the unexpected opportunities that cropped up during his service. “Both of these experiences boil down to this 'sweet spot' that any past Minnesota GreenCorps member can tell you about—when the plan, interest, resources, clarity, and special spark align to make things snowball into something great.”
- Planning the Saint Anthony Carp removal on Silver Lake provided the chance to be a fisherman for a day, netting carp, surgically installing tracking devices, and tracking them in the lake.
- A couple of lesson plans on raingardens designed for Minneapolis Public Schools were a huge success with the students. “Seeing more students learn from these lessons, being creative, and showing a spectacular attitude and appreciation for learning as a result is definitely a memorable highlight for me.”
Because the service year goes by quickly, Nick recommends that members select something as a main focus and run with it. “One can easily find a medley of projects to juggle, but to learn about a field that you care about and want to pursue, you’ll need most of the service year to learn, make mistakes, and refine your craft into something concrete and directed for the future.”
He also suggests taking a balanced approach in considering the member position description one receives and what he or she wants to get out of the experience. “Many times, simply asking the right questions, prioritizing, and gathering the right resources can both exceed the expectations of the host site and provide professional development beyond the initial job description.”
Nick’s job now is Environmental Assistant at Dakota Valley Recycling—a partnership between the cities of Apple Valley, Burnsville, and Eagan. He’s responsible for event recycling and planning for citywide initiatives for waste, recycling, and organics. He also performs education and outreach, collects data, and facilitates a business-focused awards program.