Thursday, May 29, 2008

Zach Taylor Named National AmeriCorps Member of the Year

RENO, Nev. — first glance of his resume, Zachary Taylor seems an unlikely candidate for Great Basin Institute’s Nevada Conservation Corps (NCC). Yet, he has excelled to the degree that his boss depends on him to lead and train other AmeriCorps members. That leadership has earned Taylor the 2008 National Service Award for AmeriCorps Member of the Year.

Taylor holds a bachelor's degree in history and English, but according to Matt Johnson, director of Nevada Conservation Corps, he is tops at his NCC job.
"From day one Zach clearly stepped up showing leadership," said Johnson. "Within four months, we had Zach leading NCC crews and teaching others the skills needed for the job. This normally takes someone at least a year."

Nominating Taylor for the national award was easy decision, Johnson said. "The greatest aspect of his skills is that we can trust Zach on any project he is assigned to complete. When we send him out to build or clean up a trail, it's always done right.”

Taylor, who hails from Illinois, learned about the AmeriCorps program with Nevada Conservation Corps through his sister, an AmeriCorps alumni. "I worked on a volunteer project prior to coming to NCC and becoming an AmeriCorps Nevada member," said Taylor. "That experience taught me the importance of the national trail systems and how they affect the general public. I wanted to be a part of preserving and expanding them."

Nevada Volunteers creates countless opportunities to inspire, teach, train and recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses across Nevada to develop a legacy of service and citizenship. The Nevada Volunteers is the governor's commission that administers AmeriCorps programs statewide and hosts the annual Governor's Points of Light award. Since 1998, over 1,100 AmeriCorps members have served throughout Nevada recruiting more than 14,000 volunteers who donated over 97,000 hours of service to local communities.

Now in its tenth year, the Great Basin Institute (GBI) is an interdisciplinary field studies organization that promotes environmental research, education, and conservation throughout the West. GBI advances ecological literacy and habitat restoration through educational outreach and direct service programs like the Nevada Conservation Corps.

Nevada Conservation Corps is a statewide program that transcends racial, ethnic and economic barriers by creating a cadre of corps members comprised of diverse backgrounds, drawing a broad-based national recruitment process. By uniting environmental resources from federal, state and county agencies, the NCC provides students and young professionals opportunities to make meaningful contributions toward protecting and conserving Nevada 's natural heritage, while also gaining valuable work experience in natural resource management.

AmeriCorps is an invaluable program that impacts lives and communities throughout the country. In Nevada, the AmeriCorps program is a vibrant and critical component in areas of critical need, including conservation, working with veterans, and providing opportunities to at-risk children, to name just a few. Congrats to Zach for a well deserved honor.

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