Every year Hilltown Land Trust welcomes two TerraCorps-AmeriCorps members who serve with us from September through July. They perform crucial work for our organization: monitoring conservation lands, working with volunteers, organizing public events, and so much more.
This year we are happy to welcome Tessa Dowling and Allie Foster. Read about them here, and meet them in person at an upcoming HLT event or volunteer opportunity!
How did you first become interested in the environment and land conservation?
Tessa: I grew up in Westhampton and attended preschool at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton. My parents love the outdoors and took our family on canoe trips. I believe both experiences inspired my desire to study biology at Bard College as an undergraduate.
Allie: Growing up in the suburbs in the Midwest, I didn’t have much of a connection to the natural world. Upon moving to Massachusetts to attend Hampshire College, my main focus was in linguistics. I was very passionate about this field of study as German is my second language and I always found languages fascinating. However, as I began to integrate myself more into the Hampshire community, my passion for environmental studies grew and was sparked by my fellow peers and professors’ passion for the natural world.
Why did you want to be a TerraCorps service member?
Tessa: I became familiar with land trusts while interning with The Trustees, creating a photo catalog of wildflowers on Mt. Tom. I loved the mission and wanted to increase my experience in the field. I am particularly interested in landscape-scale conservation and look forward to learning more!
Allie: While at Hampshire, I began working with Eagle Eye Institute, providing high school students from Holyoke with experiences in the outdoors. I found that I loved sharing my passion for the environment with others. With HLT, I feel there are endless possibilities for new engagement opportunities. I am particularly excited about reaching groups we haven’t done a lot of work with before such as youth and families.
What would you like to do after you leave HLT?
Tessa: I want to continue working in conservation. I would like to contribute to efforts to address climate change, while protecting the area I grew up in and love.
Allie: There are so many ways to engage audiences with the outdoors and the environment and I plan to continue to build my expertise in those areas.