Environment Overview – Peace Corps

Peace Corps is a life-defining leadership experience. Volunteers live, learn, and work with a community overseas for 27 months, providing assistance in a variety of programs areas, including environment. Peace Corps Volunteers assist communities where environmental issues are in conflict with basic needs for farming and income generation. Volunteers become leaders in grassroots efforts to protect and preserve the environment, engaging in projects such as establishing forest conservation plans and helping to develop alternatives to wood as a fuel source. They also collaborate with various organizations to promote environmental awareness in projects like recycling, organizing environmental youth clubs, and park management. From experienced professionals in the field of environmental sciences to recent college graduates, volunteers bring diverse experience and educational backgrounds to their assignments. I am a sustainable agriculture extension agent. We work primarily in arid farmland here in Senegal to try to improve both crop yields and soil fertility and to implement techniques that will combat wind and water erosion during the rainy season. It’s a very intense, short period of a lot of rainfall so in areas like this where there’s some elevation, all of the nutrient rich topsoil just tends to just flow away. We are trained to extend techniques to combat those things and improve soil fertility to increase crop yields and increase food security here in Senegal. I’m currently working as a natural resource conservation development volunteer at the Marine Environmental Reseach Institute of Pohnpei. My primary responsibility here is to assist the local staff with implementing safety procedures and dive policy and their field work and research. The sea turtles are big part of the island here. There are two kilometers of beach which are protected, and it’s called the Natural Vivero where the turtles come to lay their eggs. In the village the community guards them. I’m working with an environmental group so we’re working on doing a webpage for the island which will include tourism information as well as a history about the island and about the projects that are going on here. I work in the environmental section, and I learned that the pollution problem, the contamination problem in this world and the planet that we live on is a lot bigger than in the United States, and I believe that we need to be working at a global level on pollution contamination issues and for me the Peace Corps was an opportunity to apply what I’ve learned and the skills that I have in an area of the world that needs more attention. It’s an opportunity to take all the lessons that you’ve learned, all the experiences that you’ve had, and all that you think you know about your job and about working with other people, and stretch those abilities and capacities to the limits and have fun while doing it. To find out more about serving overseas as a Peace Corps Volunteer please visit peacecorps.gov.

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