AmeriCorps members Dymond Generette and Elicia Senff reflect on TLC, next steps

June 19, 2020

Triangle Land Conservancy’s two CTNC AmeriCorps Members, Dymond Generette and Elicia Senff, are wrapping up their terms in June. Below, they reflect on their time at TLC, share their favorite natural areas in the Triangle, and talk about what’s next. We wish them the best of luck and are so grateful for their incredible contributions to TLC over the last 10 months!

Dymond Generette, Williamson Preserve Community Engagement Coordinator — CTNC AmeriCorps Member

Can you share what drew you to conservation and environmental outreach, as well as what drew you to TLC specifically?
I deepened my interest in conservation and environmental education at NC State. I recently graduated from NC State with my B.S. in Environmental Sciences with a minor in Wildlife Sciences. Throughout my undergraduate experience, I served as a volunteer for various environmental education roles. I also connected with NC State researchers and gained experience in environmental education research. I learned about TLC through an email from CTNC about their Diversity in Conservation internship. I resonated with TLC’s mission and vision which is why I chose TLC for my CTNC Diversity in Conservation internship and CTNC AmeriCorps host site.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your AmeriCorps position at TLC?
The most rewarding part of my AmeriCorps position was gaining a group of genuine, like-minded, and amazing CTNC AmeriCorps friends! It was so comforting to know that I had 18 people I could connect with, relate to, and learn from because we were all going through the AmeriCorps experience. A majority of us also live in the Raleigh-Durham area and we plan to continue hanging out after our service term.

What’s been the most interesting thing you’ve learned during your time at TLC?
During the Great Backyard Bird Count at Williamson Preserve, I learned so much about birds! Bo and our TLC volunteers taught me how to identify different species based on their appearance and calls which was amazing. Since then, I’ve downloaded the Merlin app which is very useful for beginner birders!

Do you have a favorite TLC nature preserve, and if so, which is it and why?
Swift Creek Bluffs is my favorite nature preserve because of the “stairway to Heaven” feature. It is so scenic when you hike to the top and overlook the preserve! I also enjoy walking down to the river bank and seeing the wildlife there. It is rarely occupied which makes it a quiet and relaxing place to visit.

A lot of your work has been focused on outreach/education. Why are these important components of conservation work?
Outreach and education are important components of conservation work because they help educate the public about what is going on in their community! My AmeriCorps position focused on outreach activities such as event planning and tabling. By talking with community members, I was able to spread the word about TLC and educate them about conservation projects that we were actively working on and ways to get involved.

What’s something you think everyone should know about the natural areas in the Triangle?
Visit them — they are closer than you think! A simple Google search of “natural areas near me” can show you a myriad of places to visit in the Triangle.

What’s next for you, and how has your time at TLC helped you prepare for it?
I will be working at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh as a Program Manager! I’m so excited to start working on a brand new exhibit that will integrate game-based learning about sustainability through cyberlearning technologies. I have gained project management skills, digital marketing experience, and event coordination skills that are transferable to my new role as a Program Manager.

Elicia Senff, Community Outreach and Education Associate — CTNC AmeriCorps Member

Can you share what drew you to conservation and environmental outreach, as well as what drew you to TLC specifically?
I love being out in nature and sharing that with others. I also want to ensure the conservation of our natural resources. Environmental outreach combines the two. As for TLC, I was drawn to the organization because of its holistic approach to conservation as outlined by the four public benefits.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your AmeriCorps position at TLC?
The opportunity to work at a conservancy has been the most rewarding part. In the short time I worked at TLC, I learned so much about how effective conservation work is done. This experience has been really valuable in preparing me for a career in conservation.

What’s been the most interesting thing you’ve learned during your time at TLC?
Anything Eliza Lawdley (TLC’s Farm Manager) has said. She is an endless well of knowledge, and I never thought I would be so interested in grazing strategies for livestock.

Do you have a favorite TLC nature preserve, and if so, which is it and why?
My favorite preserve changes about once a month, but it’s currently Brumley North. I love the ponds, daffodil patches, and huge old oaks. It’s really beautiful.

A lot of your work has been focused on outreach/education. Why are these important components of conservation work?
Outreach and education empower people to engage in conservation by fostering an appreciation of the environment and providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to create change.

What’s something you think everyone should know about the natural areas in the Triangle
The Triangle is home to several of NC’s endemic species such as the Neuse River Waterdog, Carolina Madtom, and the Carolina Ladle Crayfish.

What’s next for you, and how has your time at TLC helped you prepare for it?
I’m hoping to continue working in conservation, specifically freshwater conservation and river restoration. My time at TLC has given me a better understanding of the daily operations of a conservancy, grown relevant skill sets, and increased my professional network.

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