HELENA — It’s summer, but a lot of potential, current and even former students are still thinking about college -- mainly how to pay for it.
That is a question that Fish, Wildlife and Parks would like to help answer.
Starting in August FWP, partnering with AmeriCorps, will begin looking for their next batch of members to help with education and parks programs across Montana.
“Our AmeriCorp program currently serves 30 state parks across the state and members can do things like education and interpretation programs," said FWP AmeriCorps Coordinator Seth Shteir. "They also do a lot of land improvement, so they remove noxious weeds from parklands and help restore the ecosystems and actually since 2012 members have improved over 4,000 acres of parkland and that’s equivalent to 3,000 football fields. So a really significant amount of land has been protected because of them (AmeriCorps members).
In return, each AmeriCorps member will earn an Education Award, which can be used for college or pay off student loans. Additionally, full-time members are even eligible for loan deferment, health care and child care assistance. If that isn’t enough of an incentive to give the program a look, Shteir says that programs like this can help with future jobs in the outdoors.
"Part of our work with our members is to help them on the next step of their journey in becoming professionals," added Shteir. "Some of our members have gone on to serve in our National Parks Service. There is on (AmeriCorp member) serving in Glacier National Park, there are others serving at different parks throughout the United States. So we’re lucky that we have members going on to contribute to this field and the environmental field.If you love the outdoors, if you love parks, if you want to contribute to Montana, this is a great way to do so.”
Most members serve a fixed 10-month term of service and the only real qualification you need to join is a desire to help our Montana State Parks.