It might have been the chainsaw that lured Hollis Emery to northeast Minnesota to serve as a crew leader in 2010. The previous year, she had left a California law firm job to serve with EarthCorps in Seattle and was hooked on the Corps experience. After applying to a couple Conservation Corps, she chose Minnesota in part because it had a great reputation and offered hands-on training in skills such as chainsaw use and burn management. Emery “loved her year in the Corps,” she says, putting her skills to use building ATV trails in the Solana State Forest, clearing trees for The Nature Conservancy and working on horse trails at St. Croix State Park. She poignantly remembers canoeing through rice paddies to a work site, and hearing the howl of wolves while spike camping.
Emery is now a regional manager for SAGA, a service corps in Juneau, Alaska. In her current job, Emery says she often asks herself, “What would Lisa do?” referring to Lisa Cassioppi, our northeast district manager. Emery says Cassioppi trusted her to succeed ― even in areas where Emery had less experience than others on her crew. “One thing I really appreciated was the amount of faith they had in me, even from the beginning,” Emery says.
Read an article about her experience in Southeast Alaska’s Capital City Weekly.
Note: As of July, 2013 Hollis is now on staff with Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa as the Youth Outdoors program manager. Lucky for us!
Photo of Hollis Emery, courtesy of Capital City Weekly.