By Alli Kane
I just got done repotting tree seedlings and weeding the Missoula Parks Department nursery with four other Energy Corps members. The sun was shining and it was a breath of fresh air to catch up with some of my cohort, whom I haven’t been able to see for months. Claudia, Hilary, Olivia, Casey and I spent the afternoon volunteering for the Parks Department who were in need of some helping hands. The weather and social distancing measures being followed here haven’t allowed for transplanting the City’s bare root trees into the ground so we gave them new homes to grow in while they wait and did our best to keep the weeds at bay.
Each of us are adjusting our service to meet the moment and support the evolving needs of our host sites and communities. When the lockdown measures went into effect it was difficult to accept that our service was going to be different from any Energy Corps member before us. In my service, this sudden shift gave way to brainstorming creative ideas to continue advancing energy and climate action in Missoula. I’m finding new ways to connect with the community, provide education, and envision ways to ‘build back better’ after COVID-19.
Coming together to help the Parks Department prepare for upcoming tree plantings and ecological restoration projects provided this agency with some much needed assistance and enables them to continue growing Missoula’s major carbon sink – its forests and green space. Not only will this green space gobble up atmospheric CO2 and help reduce urban heat island effect, but it provides habitat for the many wildlife species native to this region and space for our community members to safely get outside and be active.