LOWELL — TerraCorps, an environmental nonprofit that runs an AmeriCorps national service program, has received multi-year grant funding from a private foundation to increase the stipend its service members receive by 44% beginning in August. By supporting TerraCorps, the anonymous foundation hopes the conservation career pathway established by the organization will become more accessible to a diversity of people who are underrepresented in the environmental workforce.
“The TerraCorps service model has proven to be an effective pathway for the next generation of leaders to launch environmental careers,” TerraCorps President and CEO David Graham Wolf said. “Over 80 organizations in our sector have hired TerraCorps alumni, and 75% of alums are currently working in a career directly related to their TerraCorps service. This funding will make TerraCorps opportunities more accessible to some people who otherwise might not be able to make the economics of national service work.”
TerraCorps partners with a network of more than nonprofits throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island focused on community needs related to local land conservation and sustainable agriculture, including land trusts, watershed councils, and community farms and gardens. These partners act as service sites for a new cohort of up to 60 AmeriCorps service members annually.
Seven Western Massachusetts nonprofits have been selected as TerraCorps service sites for the 2023-24 service year, which runs from Aug. 28, 2023 through July 26, 2024. These include CISA, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Grow Food Northampton, Hilltown Land Trust, Kestrel Land Trust, Mass Audubon Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, and Nuestras Raices.
Service members are paired with a site supervisor who provides guidance and mentorship while they learn to manage community programs and projects over an 11-month, 1,700-hour service term. CISA, Hilltown Land Trust, and Grow Food Northampton will host community engagement coordinator members, while Kestrel Land Trust, Hilltown Land Trust, and Mass Audubon will host members in the land stewardship coordinator role. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and Nuestras Raices will host sustainable agriculture coordinator roles, and Kestrel Land Trust will host a youth education coordinator.
These TerraCorps positions will help increase the capacity of these local land-conservation and food-security organizations to connect wide ranges of people to the land in various ways around the region. For example, the TerraCorps member will serve as a sustainable agriculture coordinator on the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts’ no-till community-engagement farm, Cultivating for Community.
TerraCorps members receive a $26,667 stipend (pre-tax) and healthcare coverage, and may qualify for childcare assistance, federal student-loan forbearance, and a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award for satisfactory completion.
TerraCorps is currently accepting service member applications. Anyone interested in learning more about how serving with TerraCorps will offer professional experience and opportunity in the environmental sector can visit terracorps.org/available-member-positions.