Presidio of San Francisco (May 5, 2010) - A team of AmeriCorps members is joining forces with veterans from Swords to Plowshares to create a community garden at the organization's Veterans Academy in the Presidio. Volunteers will be building six vegetable boxes, one of which will be accessible to those with disabilities, which will enable Academy residents to grow their own food. Work on the garden begins Thursday, May 6 at 11 am at the Swords to Plowshares Veterans Academy, 1030 Girard Rd. in the Presidio.
The project is one of dozens the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) team will be involved in during their two month stay at the Presidio. The arrival of the eleven member "spike team" of young adults from around the country kicked off the Presidio's busiest volunteer season ever.
"Joining forces with AmeriCorps is an exciting opportunity, building on the Presidio's legacy of volunteerism and cultivating the Presidio as a place of service," says Joshua Steinberger, project manager for the Presidio Trust. "We are hopeful that this will be a first step in an ongoing relationship with AmeriCorps."
Over the course of their eight-week stay, the AmeriCorps team will immerse themselves in virtually all aspects of Presidio life. Not only will volunteers be working to make the Presidio a better place, but they will also have the opportunity to learn firsthand the unique challenges of maintaining an urban national park. Projects will span a broad swath of the Presidio's landscape including:
Working to expand the Presidio's Community GardensHabitat restoration and trail maintenanceCaring for the historic forestRob Hill Campground expansionSpecial events like Bike to Work Day and Memorial Day ceremoniesLeading volunteer groups
Talks about partnering with AmeriCorps began last fall as the Trust looked to build upon the Presidio's 200 year history of volunteerism and service to the nation. The idea was in part a response to President Obama's national "call to service" as well as the passage of the Serve America Act. Passed by Congress a year ago, the legislation increases the resources dedicated to national service.
With the help of AmeriCorps, Presidio volunteers will log almost 50,000 hours this year, an increase of ten percent from last year.
"The President's initiative piqued interest in service at the national level," says Jenny McIlvaine, the Trust's volunteer coordinator. "Locally, we're seeing a broader interest in service and volunteerism. We've got a lot more groups wanting to volunteer and more staff to lead them."
The Presidio's volunteer program dates to 1994 when the former military base became a national park, and it has been growing ever since. Volunteers assist in a wide variety of areas throughout the park, everything from serving as docents at park exhibits to working in the Presidio's archaeology lab.
In addition to regularly scheduled volunteer programs, the Trust offers groups and organizations including churches, schools and others the opportunity to schedule their own group service days. For more on volunteering at the Presidio, visit our volunteer website or contact the volunteer coordinator at (415) 561-5333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps is a 10-month, full-time, team-based residential program for men and women 18 to 24 years old. It partners with non-profit organizations in a mission to strengthen communities and build leaders while addressing natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development.
Since beginning work in November, the team has worked with school and church groups in southern California and a food bank in Salt Lake City.
"Working with the Presidio is an awesome experience," says AmeriCorps NCCC team member Trisha Fritz. "Not only do we learn about nature, we also learn about the area's history and architecture and its unique connection to San Francisco culture. The Trust staff and local community have made our whole team feel welcome and appreciated for the work we can contribute to the park."
For more information about the AmeriCorps NCCC call 1-800-94-ACORP (942-2677) or visit www.americorps.gov/nccc.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park that is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The areas overseen by the Trust include expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. The National Park Service oversees the coastal areas of the Presidio. The park comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to the Presidio's status as a National Historic Landmark District."