Mary Hammes’ path to her current job with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency traversed three Corps programs: she served on a seasonal Superior National Forest crew in 2009, a Central District water trails crew in 2010 and as a Central District field specialist in 2011. During her three years in the Corps, she accomplished a wide variety of work – from maintaining trails to clearing river snags, and from suppressing fires to hiring and training crew members – in locations all over Minnesota.
Hammes feels lucky to have worked with many supportive project hosts. She recalls a particularly awesome Forest Service employee who had built his own plane. Occasionally, he would leave the crew handwritten notes with drawings, and once he flew over them in his little yellow plane, tipping his wing. She also loves the “sense of fraternity” she feels whenever she meets Corps alumni, knowing that so many amazing people are out in the world doing good work.
Because of her work on rivers, Hammes pursued further education and experience with water quality. In her current work for the Stormwater Program of the MPCA, she acts as a liaison between impaired waters research and the permitting process, helping to decrease polluted discharges.