About this article: This article was originally published in the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail 2021 Annual Report.
AmeriCorps on the Trail: Meet Our Three VISTA Members!
In the spring of 2021, three AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) were placed at host sites along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Members are now serving at Missouri River Relief, Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, and the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Trail Visitor Center. Site managers worked with Trail Education Specialist Tom Smith and Conservation Legacy to develop three-year work plans for VISTA members to build capacity of their organizations. These plans focused on developing organizational and programmatic sustainability in areas like grant-writing and fundraising, community engagement, volunteer programs, trail conservation, and education.
Tori Shaw Clemmons
AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer: Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation
Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Degree: M.A. in history and graduate certificate in public history, University of North Alabama
Tori’s main focus this year is to increase accessibility and inclusivity. She is working on developing a program on Plains Indian Sign Language and is looking into developing resources for the visually impaired that could be provided for sites along the Lewis and Clark Trail.
After she completes her VISTA term, Tori plans to work in interpretive programming for a museum or the National Park Service.
AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer: Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Visitor Center
Degree: B.S. Environmental Science, Minor in Studio Arts, Creighton University
Monroe is focused on grant-writing, cultivating new partnerships, conservation, and outdoor education. So far, she has already raised over $100,000 for the Visitor Center. She is also working on developing interactive activities, selfie stations, bat houses, and a native plant and herb garden.
Monroe hopes to someday use her artistic skills and environmental science background for the National Park Service.
Alyssa Marie Thomas
AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer: Missouri River Relief
Hometown: Knob Noster, MO
Degree: B.S. in Marine Biology, Central Methodist University
"As someone who has lived in many places while growing up in a multicultural household, I love new experiences while learning more about our world and its people. I always kept myself very involved in extra-curricular activities, so I thrive off a busy schedule and hard work. With that being said, I hold Missouri River Relief’s mission close to my heart. Our mission is to connect people to the river. We do this through hands-on river cleanups, education programs, and recreation. My job is mainly helping with river cleanups, but I love participating in our other events in my free time. It is amazing to see the effect we have on people who have never been on the river, and helping them see the importance of it in their community! "