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Michigan Site Supervisor of the Month
Site Supervisor of the Month: Maia Turek-Huron Pines
In addition to being the Engagement and Innovation Specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MIDNR) Parks and Recreation Division, Maia Turek is also one of the site supervisors for the Huron Pines AmeriCorps members who serve there. The Huron Pines AmeriCorps program has been developing leaders in conservation in communities across Michigan since 2007. Huron Pines members strive to enhance Michigan’s natural resources and foster environmental stewardship. The Huron Pines members serving with the MIDNR under Maia are focused on environmental education by engaging local volunteers and the community.
Turek’s commitment to environmental stewardship, conservation, and the success of those around her is evident daily. Working for the MIDNR, as a part of a multi-disciplinary team, one of the programs she has helped pilot will assist in preventing boats from being illegally disposed of on public land. It will also help address the greater issue of determining a sustainable model for recycling fiberglass boat hulls. Turek has been instrumental in facilitating three separate working groups and has successfully guided the team through the beginning stages of the project.
Turek also regularly engages in innovative opportunities and often volunteers to lead projects that promote member engagement. One of those projects is the Natural Playgrounds Initiative, which is a state-wide initiative to enhance the playground offerings in Michigan’s state parks. When a state park needs to replace a playground, the new structures can be made with natural materials inspired by the park’s history like sanded logs, climbable trees, and boulders. These materials are better for the environment and will benefit children visiting the state parks. Turek has shared this opportunity with two of the current AmeriCorps members serving with the MIDNR, allowing them to gain experience developing materials that will be used at parks across the state for many years to come.
In her role as a site supervisor, Maia helps members build confidence by providing many new experiences. She empowers members to take ownership over their service, but provides support. Members gain excellent leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills as they help develop and implement projects or materials with the MIDNR. Katie Spengler, one of the current Huron Pines AmeriCorps members, states that “Maia is always offering up new and exciting opportunities for the AmeriCorps members. Her enthusiasm and innovation pushes those around her to always put forth their best effort in any task they take on.”
Paige Lackey, an alum who served under the supervision of Turek states that Turek” is an incredible mentor for three of the current members serving with the MIDNR as well the AmeriCorps alum,” Lackey continues, “working with such a remarkable leader like Maia helped me find the confidence in myself to continue moving forward in my career.”
Learn more about the Huron Pines AmeriCorps program and other Michigan’s AmeriCorps programs making a positive impact in communities across Michigan. For more information about AmeriCorps, visit www.americorps.gov.