September 2017   

The new 17-18 term Appalachian Forest Heritage Area AmeriCorps team has just started, with AmeriCorps members serving in areas of Conservation, Community and Heritage Development and Cultural Tourism. A few positions are still available - see to learn more!

To tell you a little more about the kind of service AmeriCorps members perform in the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area we have a story from JoLynn Powers, an AmeriCorps member who has served with Elkins Main Street for nearly two years. 

It's Not A Job, It's a Lifestyle

Jolynn Powers
Maybe like me, your life is in transition, you have out grown your current plans and need to reach for something more. You know that your years of education and hard work should be paying off, but the college and great career you planned didn’t work out. Maybe like me, you love to travel, but 5 star hotels don’t impress you. Maybe like me, you want more from a job then just a paycheck and want to see change in a struggling community. Maybe like me, a year of service is what you are really looking for.

I have spent most of my adult life living on other peoples terms… go to college, get married, get a job, and have a family. Not that these ideals are bad, they just seemed to be a little boring for me. I have always been rebellious, adventurous with a love for life. I want a passion filled life, with travel, new people and getting dirty trying new things. I want something more than the 9 to 5 with benefits that colleges promise. Deep inside I want to make a difference in the world.

Appalachian Highlands Trail trash pickup day 2017. Members of AFHA AmeriCorps collected 16 bags of trash for the trail foundation.

So at the complete worst time in my adult life after a surgery, heartbroken, and feeling unqualified to do much with a Fine Arts Degree, I started looking for work. When a writer friend inspired me stop looking for a job and start looking for a lifestyle. How eye opening that moment was for me.

I have been fortunate to serve as an AmeriCorps Member in Elkins, West Virginia for the last 18 months where I work with AFHA (Appalachian Forest Heritage Area). AFHA is a regional initiative to promote heritage tourism, conservation and education based on forest heritage. At my site I work with community volunteers on making public art projects that preserves Appalachian culture and inspire people to take pride in their community. Working side by side with community groups like the River Side School Association, we celebrate ethnic and social diversity, and cultural differences.

River Side School Association Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebrations 2017

AmeriCorps members are a team banded together over large expanses, doing the work of preserving and protecting the local environment, the history and culture of a people and encouraging travel and education of our unique locations. AmeriCorps is a force for good in places where times are a little harder and people need a helping hand to building on their strengths. I am proud to say that I choose everyday to be a AmeriCorps Service member, because I wanted something more than a job. Now I have a lifestyle making a difference.

Forest Festival - Elkins

Come enjoy the AFHA at these locations Oct 5-Oct 7:
  • Forestry exhibits at the YMCA
  • Forestry Display and Weaver's Guild demonstration at the Darden Mill
  • Conservation village at City Park

28th Annual Astronomy Weekend at Blackwater Falls 
Visit Blackwater Falls State Park September 15-16th and take advantage of the dark night skies to learn about and enjoy the stars above. The Blackwater Falls State Park is hosting a wide variety of parties, speakers, worshops and more.

Learn More Here

Arthurdale Cemetary Preservation Workshop
Join the Arthurdale Heritage in learning some local knowledge about cemetaries and participating in a headstone repair workshop! Space is limited so register soon!

Register Here

New Historic Thomas - Run For It!
New Historic Thomas is looking for participants in the Tucker Community Foundation Run For It event. If you like running, walking or just enjoying some beautiful mountain scenery then come run and support local community organizations. 
More Information here

Call for River Cleanup Volunteers
Are you interested in helping keep West Virginia rivers healthy? Meet at the Hawse Plaza (745 N. Main Street) in Moorefield, WV at 9:30am on September 16th. Lunch is provided!

Click here to sign up!
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Appalachian Forest Heritage Area
P.O. Box 1206
Elkins, WV 26241

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