Reflection on a year of Energy Corps service

Member Jessica Jenne reflects on her service as her first term comes to a close.

Jessica writes:

As I near completion of my first term serving Energy Corps Montana, I am proud to know I am making a difference.  By sharing my knowledge of energy efficiency, I have helped educate students, first-time home buyers, and irrigators.  My host site, Bitter Root Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), has spent the last 47 years making a difference in Ravalli, Missoula, and Mineral counties.  Bitter Root RC&D has been instrumental in facilitating these relationships of which I am now a part, promoting community education and well-being.

I had never heard of Bitter Root RC&D when I accepted the Energy Corps position last March.  My supervisor, Becki Koon, directed me to the annual reports for the last several years.  To my surprise, I had heard of many of the projects and activities within the pages showcasing Bitter Root RC&D’s hard work, and yet not the organization itself.  From the Hamilton Farmer’s Market to the Clark Fork Coalition; from the Bitter Root Land Trust to the Stevensville Playhouse, Bitter Root RC&D has lent a helping hand in getting over 1800 projects off the ground in the three-county area.  It turns out RC&D is the Bitterroot valley’s best-kept secret.  Through Energy Corps, the RC&D has provided the avenue to a better, cleaner world and I am thrilled to help lead the way.

I have attended numerous meetings throughout my term.  Whether the meeting has been a five-minute phone call or a day-long conference, the underlying theme has been apparent.  All voices at the table are clamoring for one concept – collaboration.  Collective thinking and partnerships are necessary to achieve our goals.  A prime example of this is Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA’s) collaboration with RC&Ds to expand agricultural energy efficiency measures and education.  By establishing local relationships, communities are encouraged to work together to produce positive changes.  Bitter Root RC&D provides the voice for the needs of the local people, establishing a trusting partnership between BPA and agricultural producers.

I have accepted a second term serving Energy Corps Montana through the Bitter Root RC&D.  I am thrilled to continue sharing my knowledge with my community and hope to help improve the lives of my neighbors, family, and friends.  Although change may be slow, and often one small step at a time, collaboration between organizations, businesses, agencies, corporations and individuals is keeping our dreams of a healthy, sustainable planet alive.  As more people recognize the dire situation before us, continued and expanded partnerships will become necessary to accomplish change.  Energy Corps and organizations like the Bitter Root RC&D are at the forefront, blazing this trail for others to follow.  My involvement has changed my life for the better and I am grateful for the opportunities my service has provided.

Jessica JenneJessica Jenne has lived in Montana since she was two months old and considers herself a Bitterroot Valley native. She currently attends the University of Montana seeking a bachelor’s degree in resource conservation with an emphasis in sustainable livelihoods and community conservation. Her greatest triumphs are her three amazing children, Austin, Naomi, and Logan. Jessica joined Energy Corps in pursuit of invaluable experience and the opportunity to provide assistance to her beloved community. She has worked to promote a small community college in the valley where she lives, along with establishing their recycling program. She enjoys skiing, kayaking, camping, hiking, and bike riding with her family. Through Jessica’s work with Energy Corps she hopes to become a knowledgeable advocate of sustainability, providing education to communities in need.

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