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Welcoming our Vermont AmeriCorps service members!

  • 3 Min Read
  • October 21, 2022

Meet Helen Ramspott and Mike Dickhaut, our AmeriCorps service members.

Each year we are lucky to host two new Vermont Americorps service members. They dive into the work with gusto, come rain, sleet, or wind. Join us in welcoming this year’s members. And read on to learn a little more about them.

man smiling at camera - AmeriCorps service members - VermontMike Dickhaut, ECO AmeriCorps Assessment & Planning Assistant

Mike joined as our new ECO AmeriCorps Assessment & Planning Assistant this fall, beginning with two days of rainy fieldwork. He’ll be working on restoration, tree plantings, farmland project support, and more. A recent graduate of the Rubenstein School at UVM with a major in Environmental Sciences, Mike spent the summer doing forest inventories with the UVM Forestry Lab acquiring a lot of great skills and experience.

young woman standing next to tree trunk - AmeriCorps service members - VermontHelen Ramspott, VHCB AmeriCorps Land Management Coordinator

Helen is our VHCB AmeriCorps Land Management Coordinator. She grew up in western MA with conserved land as her back yard and majored in Sustainable Foods and Farming at UMass Amherst. She’ll work on invasive plants, including supporting community groups committed to the issue. She’ll also be supporting our work with the Women Owning Woodlands, and helping with field assessments.

A conversation with Helen and Mike about their Vermont AmeriCorps work

Q: What have you been doing in the first few weeks?

HELEN: I’ve been busy! Getting to know VLT staff, visiting conserved properties, and meeting landowners. I’m soaking up lots of new information. I’ve especially enjoyed being outside and visiting properties. It was so interesting hearing landowners talk about their history with and hopes for the land. It’s also been great to become more familiar with plant species such as maidenhair fern, which I hadn’t been able to identify before. I also learned about the invasive plant Japanese stilt-grass and how to differentiate between the invasive and its look-alike.

MIKE: During the first two weeks at VLT, I jumped right into the action. I’ve assisted a Vermont Youth Conservation Corps group with creating beaver dam analogs (BDAs) and strengthening the river restoration project at the Button Farm, set up boundaries for a tree planting along a river, conducted ecological assessments, and surveyed a farm.


Q: What drew you to these Vermont AmeriCorps positions, and what are you most looking forward to?

HELEN: It was the wide range in responsibilities and tasks that made me particularly interested in the position. I am most looking forward to learning more skills, such as GIS mapping. Also, I’m eager to visit more properties and get to know Vermont land better. I’m excited about the position as it merges my reverence for natural spaces with an opportunity to serve, uplift, and create a positive impact in the community.

MIKE: After graduating from UVM in the spring of 2021 with a degree in environmental sciences I was not able to secure a full-time position within the environmental field. I was missing the experience to be a candidate employers wanted to pursue. I was very interested in the VLT position because I knew I could learn a lot about land management, conservation, and grow the skills I will use in my career going forward. I hope to learn from as many people as possible about as many topics as possible.


Q: Can you share about a place or an experience on the land that feels special to you?

HELEN: I have a plot at my local community garden, which is a short walk from where I live. The garden is in a park that includes a skate park, playground, and fields. This area gets a lot of use by people in the surrounding area. Having this plot feels special to me because it creates a connection with my community. By working on my plot, I am helping to beautify a part of land that my community members also enjoy. It feels rewarding to grow plants that can be seen and interacted with by other people.

MIKE: For six years I worked at a Boy Scout summer camp in the Lake’s Region of New Hampshire. I can’t count the number of times I hiked the many trails, swam in the lakes, canoed in the beaver swamp, and sat around a bonfire looking at the stars. That place is a part of me, and I will always hold it within my heart.

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