The Reading for Life AmeriCorps members braved 25 degree temperatures on Saturday morning to begin a day of service on October 26th, Make a Difference Day. Nineteen members and three community volunteers divided into two teams at the New River Trail State Park to work alongside the rangers to improve areas of the park at Foster Falls. The first team, supervised by Park Ranger Patrick McFall, stayed on the mainland and worked to set up a field of pumpkins for the HAUNTED TRAIN RIDE Saturday evening. The group also assisted in the preparation of a seating area in the butterfly garden.
Group two rode across the river on rafts to restore 5 of the 7 primitive campsites on Baker’s Island, The campsites were badly damaged back in the winter when the New River flooded. Budget cuts for the fiscal year and the high waters from this summers’ rains prevented the rangers from getting the campsites prepared for use over the summer. The AmeriCorps members, under the supervision of Park Ranger Michael Allison, used weed eaters to clear overgrown pathways, rake and re-sand the tent areas, pick up debris, and reset the main sign to the island that had been ripped out of the ground by the flood waters and lodged in nearby trees. By the end of the day, 6 of the 7 campsites were ready for use, the butterfly garden on the mainland had a new seating area, and the pumpkin patch was ready for the evening visitors. The AmeriCorps members and their volunteers did MAKE A DIFFERENCE in their community on Make a Difference Day.