Hello! My name is Mary Perchlik and I am joining VNRC as the Ecological Restoration Associate through the ECO AmeriCorps program. ECO AmeriCorps is a Vermont based branch of AmeriCorps that focuses on environmental issues, particularly the stewardship of water. This focus on water is what brought me to the ECO AmeriCorps program and VNRC.
Growing up in the headwaters of the Winooski River, the sound of the stream was a focal point that I returned to after earning a degree in Environmental Studies from Oberlin College. Coming home to Vermont reestablished my commitment to my community and to the land that has given me so much. My interest in water continued through serving at the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Clean Water Initiative Program as an ECO AmeriCorps member, interning with Friends of the Winooski River and The Vermont River Conservancy, and through my college education where I focused on water and dam issues during my classes.
Now in my second year with AmeriCorps, I hope to learn more and give back through serving on the Dam Removal Task Force, with the Forest and Wildlife Program, and the Sustainable Communities Program at VNRC. The process of dam removal, restoration, retrofitting, and hydro electricity are issues I am passionate about and hope to find solutions for Vermont dams and waters. My position on the Task Force will involve assisting dam removal projects by identifying potential projects, gathering community engagement, assisting with regulatory compliance and data collection, restoration of riparian areas through tree planting and invasive species removal, and more.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve at VNRC for the coming year, and I look forward to knowing Vermont in a deeper way through my time here.