Article written by Tom Adamski
A team of eight members of AmeriCorps were in Oxford for three days, August 12, 13 and 15, working on the removal of invasive barberry from the Rockhouse Hill Preserve, led by Tom Adamski and Susan Purcella Gibbons of the Oxford Conservation Commission.
AmeriCorps is a program of the U.S. federal government engaging adults in intensive community service work with the goal of helping others and meeting critical needs in the community. Members commit to full or part time positions offered by a network of nonprofit community organizations and public agencies, to fulfill assignments in the fields of education, public safety, health care, and environmental protection. AmeriCorps is often compared to the Peace Corps as its domestic counterpart. The program first became operational in 1994 and has expanded over time, with over 80,000 members participating annually as of 2012.
Members may be provided
modest financial compensation in the form of cost-of-living allowances, student
loan deferment, and funding for educational expenses. Less tangible benefits
include professional skill development and work experience. An internal study
found that participation in AmeriCorps strengthened civic attitudes and
behaviors, and made members more likely to choose careers in public service.
The team currently working in Oxford consists of young adults from California,
Colorado, Texas and New York. They have been working in many towns and cities
in the Northeast,
According to recent studies by scientists Jeffrey Ward and Scott Williams at the Connecticut Agriculture and Experiment Station (CAES), eliminating stands of Japanese barberry from forested areas can reduce the number of Lyme disease-infected ticks on the property by 80 percent. While all the barberry cannot be removed from Rockhouse Hill in just three days, this is an important start in dealing with this problem. Ignoring the problem will result in increasingly large stands of barberry, and the destruction of native plants and habitat.