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New Huron Pines AmeriCorps members eager to educate

(Photo Courtesy/Mike Beiermeister) New Huron Pines AmeriCorps Education Coordinator Adam Ziani outlines what he plans on discussing during a classroom visit.

Alpena, Mich. — Over the past few months, you may have noticed some new faces at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center.

Adam Ziani and Kellie Wasikowski are the newest members to Huron Pines AmeriCorps. Both have a deep passion for the environment, and they’re taking that passion to the community.

“I have such a high value the water we have here, the Great Lakes, the inland lakes,” said Ziani. “I think it’s a responsibility for Michigan citizens.”

The two new Huron Pines AmeriCorps members operate out of the NOAA buildings in Alpena. Huron Pines helps develop leaders in conservation. They have members stationed throughout Northern Michigan in all different types of places. It’s a great way gain experience in educating people about issues facing the environment. The program also provides opportunities for working with professionals and mentors.

“Programming that we do is very much influenced by academic research and things like that for effective education and communication,” said Wasikowski.

Ziani will be serving as educational coordinator, helping students and teachers learn more about local fisheries and watersheds through the B-Wet Program which is part of  the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative.

“When spring comes around, I will be meeting directly with classes out in the field, doing place-based education events,” said Ziani.

As an educational specialist, Kellie has a slightly different role, working in the sanctuary for school visits and programs like ‘Science on a Sphere’ and marine remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).

Both are two months into the 10 month program. The weather hasn’t been so nice for the new AmeriCorps members. School cancellations have halted class visits and opportunities for place-based learning. These past two months have been primarily used in preparation for what’s ahead in the spring season.

“We’re trying to encourage people to think larger because that is where the solutions are going to come,” said Wasikowski.

Expect to see both Adam and Kellie educating the future stewards of the Sunrise Side and beyond.