Michigan's AmeriCorps Member of the Month

MI AmeriCorps Member of the Month - September 2015: Matt Claucherty, Huron Pines

After graduating from Northern Michigan University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Matt Claucherty decided to apply for the Huron Pines AmeriCorps program. He is now in the process of completing his second full-time term of service and is placed with the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council in Petoskey, Michigan.

Huron Pines AmeriCorps members help improve at-risk ecosystems that are integral to the Great Lakes Watershed in northeast Michigan. Members are placed with various nonprofit organizations and focus on the reduction of invasive species, protecting and restoring wildlife habitat, and increasing environmental education, communication, and partnerships.

For the last two years, Matt has been an integral part of the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, which is the lead organization for water resources protection in Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, and Emmet Counties. Matt’s responsibilities have grown during his time at Tip of the Mitt, and he has become adept at integrating the mission of the organization into his projects and programs.

Matt’s service includes a variety of tasks that all center on improving the local watersheds. He coordinates volunteer monitoring programs for lake and stream monitoring, which includes finding volunteers and training them on the specific protocol. Once monitoring is complete the data is compiled into reports. Matt has also administered several surveys that take a holistic approach to protecting water quality within a specific watershed. These surveys have included greenbelt and erosion surveys, road-stream crossing surveys, invasive species surveys, and water quality monitoring.

Matt also coordinated the release of Galerucella beetles, a bio control agent for the invasive plant purple loosestrife. Matt worked with a local Boy Scout group and led them in a macroinvertebrate station at their camporee. He has also worked with adults and several lake associations to inform the public about shoreline techniques and invasive species management. Matt has been able to use his knowledge and experience working with GIS and GPS mapping to provide insight into watershed management plans to help the State of Michigan update the Road-Stream Crossing Database.

Matt was recently recognized for finding the first quagga mussel in an inland lake. He had been searching inland lakes for various invasive species when he discovered the quagga mussel. Locating invasive species early can help control the spread by informing the public on how to control it. He has also assisted with stormwater inventories, assessments, and management plans for areas such as Alanson, Pellston, Indian River, Wolverine, Vanderbilt, Gaylord, and other watershed areas.

“Matt is a truly exceptional individual,” stated Matt’s site supervisor Kevin Cronk. “He is hard-working, capable of rapidly learning and adapting, and very devoted to our organizations’ mission. I have worked with hundreds of volunteers and others during my time here at the Watershed Council and Matt certainly rises to the top. He has been critically important in helping us successfully carry out an incredible variety of programs and projects. I don’t know how we would have survived without him these last few years.”

Huron Pines AmeriCorps Coordinator Jennie Jandron added, “It was great to see Matt come back for a second term. He has grown personally and professionally over these past two years. He is a role model for other members and truly understands the impact of AmeriCorps. I can’t wait to see where his service takes him!”

For more information about the Huron Pines AmeriCorps program, please contact program director Jennie Jandron at jennie@huronpines.org. For more information about AmeriCorps, visit www.americorps.gov