Karl Schmidtke

How did you get involved with the Conservation Corps?

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I was a recent college graduate from the University of Minnesota-Duluth with a degree in biology and a minor in environmental sustainability.  After graduating in December I began my search for employment. A great resource for me in the process was macde.us. At this website I found the job posting for the Conservation Corps Individual Placement Academy position at a Soil and Water Conservation District as a conservation apprentice. I saw this as a great opportunity to serve a local community while gaining quality experience in my field. After applying and interviewing I accepted a conservation apprentice position located at the Le Sueur County SWCD. 

How long were you with the corps and what were your jobs/duties throughout your time here?

I was with the Conservation Corps for three months (May 15th - August 15th). In that time I served as a conservation apprentice at the Le Sueur County SWCD. 

Are there any meaningful stories that come to mind when you first hear the words Conservation Corps?

I will always remember my first day as a conservation apprentice. I went out to a local food plot with the Le Sueur County SWCD district manager and technician. My first task of the summer was to seed the food plot with sorghum using their new dew drop drill. At this point I knew I could make a career out of this type of work and it never would have happened without the opportunities provided by the CCM. 

Did your experience with CCMI influence your career or life?

Definitely, it allowed me to get hands on experience that couldn't be gained any other way except for working side by side with SWCD professionals. Through working as a conservation apprentice it allowed me to gain experience and build relationships necessary to further my career in environmental conservation. 

What would you say to anyone who’s interested in joining CCMI?

Join. The CCMI is a great opportunity to serve your community while preserving our natural environment and providing  valuable experience to continue working in the environmental conservation field. I would recommend joining the CCMI to anyone and especially applying for the conservation apprentice position. You will also meet great people. 

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What are you up to now?

I recently accepted the Farm Bill Technician position at the Le Sueur County SWCD. The relationships built and experience gained through the conservation corps has set me up for success in my career.