Through the assistance of the Iowa COVID-19 Recovery AmeriCorps Program, a major trail in southwest Iowa will be getting some assistance with ongoing maintenance needs. Southwest Iowa Nature Trails Project, Inc. (SWINT) is the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that maintains the Wabash Trace Nature Trail, a 63-mile long rail-trail. SWINT was recently informed that they were approved for the Iowa COVID-19 Recovery AmeriCorps Program. Applicants are being sought to fill two positions who will each serve 450 hours over the course of 16 weeks. These part-time terms were designed to provide flexibility in weather and existing schedules. Qualified applicants may begin as soon as June 15.
Members will receive a living allowance of $3,780 for completing 450 hours of service, divided evenly across the term of service. AmeriCorps members will also receive a Segal Education Award worth $1,612.43 when a term has been successfully completed. This education award can be applied to existing debt or future education costs for a variety of technical training, post-secondary, and graduate programs. AmeriCorps members age 55 or older can transfer the education award to a child or grandchild. Student loan deferment or forbearance or forgiveness opportunities may be available depending on the type of student loan. Child care assistance is also available, if needed.
AmeriCorps members will assist trail crew and volunteer members with a variety of trail maintenance issues, but the majority of the tasks will be focused on intensive tree trimming and vegetation management for the entirety of the trail. Members must be at least 17 years of age, hold a valid driver’s license, and adhere to the AmeriCorps terms of service. Chainsaw experience is preferred, although not required. Those interested in the positions may email or mail a resume and brief cover letter to the contact information below. This could be an excellent opportunity for anyone who is retired, furloughed, temporarily unemployed, or on a seasonal break from school. Participation in this AmeriCorps program will allow members to keep any unemployment benefits they are currently receiving, because it is a service and training opportunity, not employment. Service will be completed on the entire length of the trail, but members will be headquartered out of Malvern or Shenandoah.
The Wabash Trace is a former railroad corridor that was railbanked and turned into a recreational trail for bicyclists, hikers, runners, birdwatchers and other nature enthusiasts. The trail is now 30 years old, and although regular maintenance is done, there are some major projects that will need done to keep the Wabash Trace in good condition for the next 30 years. Extending from Council Bluffs through Mineola, Silver City, Malvern, Imogene, Shenandoah and Coin to Blanchard, Iowa, at the Missouri border, the trail is 63 miles long and has over 70 bridges. With the exception of about 4 miles of asphalt or concrete at Silver City, Malvern and Shenandoah, the trail surface is a crushed limestone. If anyone has questions about the trail or would like more information about the AmeriCorps Service opportunities, please contact SWINT via Facebook @wabashtrace, email at email@example.com, website at www.wabashtrace.org, or by calling Rebecca Castle at 515-210-0269.