Wednesday, October 15, 2008


VISTA Farewells
by Tori Patterson, Rural Action's AmeriCORPS VISTA Leader

Rural Action said goodbye to two of our dedicated AmeriCorps VISTA members last Friday. Chris Zdinak, with the Federal Valley Watershed Group, completed a 15-month term of service, and Emily Boyer completed over two years of service with the Sunday Creek Watershed Group.

Chris came to Rural Action with an interest in water quality and policy work. He put his background in environmental science to work in Federal Valley by helping to organize local residents and hold a series of public watershed meetings. Chris was also instrumental in implementing an Ohio Environmental Education Fund grant in Federal Valley. As part of his grant work, he helped develop a stewardship toolbox for residents of the watershed, with the goals of increasing forest ecology literacy and empowering landowners to make well-informed decisions about their property.

With his warm personality, Chris was quickly accepted into the community of southeast Ohio. All of us at Rural Action will miss his great sense of humor and eagerness to help. The final project Chris helped organize, the Federal Valley Streamside Buffer Tour, is coming up on October 25th. Read more about this event in the events calendar below.

Emily Boyer began her AmeriCorps VISTA service in July 2006, working on education and outreach projects for youth and adults in the Sunday Creek Watershed. Emily planned watershed tours and monthly meetings, educated students about acid mine drainage, and organized land lab projects in the Trimble Township Community Forest. This year, Emily expanded Rural Action’s watershed day camp, with a record 31 campers in attendance.

Emily will be staying in the area and living in Amesville. She will also continue her outreach work at Hocking-Athens-Perry Community Action in Glouster. Emily’s passion for working with local communities, and her dreams for this region, are an inspiration to all of us at Rural Action. We look forward to having her as one of our most active members!

Both Chris and Emily will be joining Rural Action’s new AmeriCorps VISTA Alumni Network. With over 340 Rural Action VISTA alums, we hope this new tool will help the group keep in touch and stay involved in Rural Action’s work. If you are a Rural Action VISTA alum, and are interested in joining the network, contact Tori Patterson (740.767.4938) or email her.

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