BAKER CITY, OREGON – The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is proud to be partnering with the Mt. Adams Institute to provide jobs for Veterans around the Forest. The VetsWork program is an eleven month career development internship program for Veterans who have an interest in natural resource management. The program offers more than a job; the program offers physical, mental, and spiritual renewal for participants, while learning about natural resource management. VetsWork participants are placed at local, state, or federal land management agencies, such as the Forest Service where they provide project support, while learning about various career paths.
“This opportunity has been life changing for me and provided me with a better outlook on my career goals. Traveling across the country from Alabama to Oregon this summer was fun and refreshing for me! The valuable work experience I am getting here with the Forest Service will definitely help me in the future with my career,” shares Kimberly Morris. Kimberly is an Army Veteran from Montgomery, Alabama, and is working as a writer/editor learning about the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on the Whitman Ranger District in Baker City, Oregon.
VetsWork interns have the opportunity to learn from both Forest Service employees and members of the public. “With this position, I have had the privilege to meet and hear the stories of people from all over the world. It has given me the chance to visit great places in some beautiful settings. It has also given me insight into what goes on behind the scenes, in order to maintain such a vast and beautiful landscape. Everything from logistics, permit compliance, developed and dispersed site maintenance, to the Valuing People and Places program,” shares Benjamin Morrison. Benjamin is an Army Veteran from Valdosta, Georgia who is working as a Recreation Technician for the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.
The new VetsWork program is seeing success and opportunities for growth. “The success of VetsWork in this first full year of operation has surpassed all of our expectations. We have some incredible Veterans who are providing our sponsors with critically needed services, while accessing the many benefits of the program and building their own career paths,” shares Aaron Stanton, VetsWork Program Director. “Through our partnership with the US Forest Service, the success of VetsWork has gained national attention resulting in expansion from the Northwest to the Northeast and Southeastern United States,” added Stanton.
“I would like to thank Kimberly Morris for her writer/editing work, Benjamin Morrison for his river ranger work, Spencer Sorensen for his archaeological work, and Mario Licata for his wilderness work on the Forest. We have been very fortunate to have such excellent interns to help us on the Wallowa-Whitman, and have also learned life-lessons from them as well,” shares Tom Montoya, Wallowa-Whitman Forest Supervisor.
“This will definitely help me in the future when choosing a specific career. I came into this not knowing a thing about the Forest Service and it is all very exciting to know the amount of options you have when pursuing a career,” shares Mario Licatta. Mario is a Marine Veteran from Bothell, Washington who is working as a Wilderness Assistant for the Wallowa Mountains Office in Joseph, Oregon.
For more information about the program and to view current VetsWork internships available on the Wallowa-Whitman and other Forests, please visitwww.mtadamsinstitute.comand to view a video about the program please visit:http://www.mtadamsinstitute.com/programs/.
• Kimberly Morris, Writer/Editor Assistant for Whitman Ranger District
• Benjamin Morrison, River Ranger Assistant for Hells Canyon National Recreation Area
• Spencer Sorensen, Archeological Assistant for Wallowa Mountains Office (WMO)
• Mario Licata, Wilderness Assistant for WMO