Read about Brian’s reflection on his service term as it comes to a close:
The season for Big Creek is finally nearing the end and with that the end of my service with Energy Corps. I knew this six-month term of service was going to pass by quickly, but I didn’t truly understand how quickly until the weeks were fleeting and it had only felt like days. The projects I had planned for the spring and summer with Big Creek’s outdoor camps are starting to take shape. These six months have given me just enough time to get their energy conservation program started.
There are still a few projects that haven’t been fully realized. Hopefully though, the foundation is well enough that the energy program will continue grow. It is encouraging to hear that the Glacier Institute is looking to host another Energy Corps member next season. My hopes being that long after Energy Corps’ involvement, the energy education will continue and the remaining projects will have a chance to really take shape.
I have visited western Montana many times before my service with Energy Corps had brought me out here. Each time I visited, I felt that I needed to stay longer and there was so much more to experience. As my service comes to a completion, I still have that same overwhelming feeling.
Big Creek and the North Fork as a whole is a unique place and those who are brave enough push through the terribly rough road for a visit will understand the pull. This area provides a big change, but if you’re willing to adapt, you’ll begin to appreciate the amazing landscape that unfolds before you and you will undoubtedly be happy with you decision. It is not the most successful place to start a career or plan a future, but you are provided the chance to reflect and find a direction for yourself.
Finally, the strongest appeal to this area has to be the people I have met and have had an opportunity to get to know. The professional and personal relationships I have developed over the last few months have made this experience beyond what I had ever imagined. It was difficult coming into Energy Corps halfway through every other member’s terms. Everyone was welcoming and the friendships I have been able to create gave me a great introduction to the Montana AmeriCorps community. I hope as the season comes to a close, I will be able to keep both the AmeriCorps and Glacier Institute relationships I have created.
Brian Dao graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.S. in Environmental Studies. He gained experience through an internship with a Portland based sustainability consulting firm where he completed building analyses on large scale LEED commercial buildings. Brian was introduced to AmeriCorps programs while serving with the Great Basin Institute as a trail crew member in 2014. Brian currently serves with the Glacier Institute in Polebridge, MT where he evaluates the energy performance of existing buildings, identifies opportunities for energy efficiency upgrades, researches renewable energies and the potential for application, and develops energy curriculum and provides education and outreach.