Monday, September 26, 2016

Eastern PA Coalition For Abandoned Mine Restoration Hosts 2 AmeriCorps Members

The Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation based in Ashley, Luzerne County, is again hosting two AmeriCorps members—- Rachel Grube and Abigail Keefe— to work on a variety of issues related to mine reclamation.
(Photo: Rachael Grube, Abigail Keefe and her boyfriend Nick Humphreys.)
Rachael Grube
Rachael Grube will be working with us on some of our GIS mapping and 3-D mine modeling projects and developing training workshops for OSMRE/AmeriCorps and assisting in monitoring water elevation of mine pools, sampling water quality of mine pools, and monitoring the flow and chemistry of regional abandoned mine discharges.
“Rachael will also be spending time with the EPCAMR staff on some very innovative GIS projects and Mine Pool Mapping projects in the Rausch Creek watershed and in Susquehanna River drainage with the Mocanaqua AMD Tunnel monitoring project, in partnership with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission and others,” said Robert E. Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director.
Originally from a farm in Lancaster, Rachael spent the summer interning for the Lackawanna County Conservation District. Rachael is a 2016 graduate of Gettysburg College where she majored in Environmental Science, minored in studio art, and ran cross country.
Rachael’s studies focused heavily on Earth Systems science and GIS, giving her a solid background for the kind of mapping and AMD work that EPCAMR does.
Her field experience ranges from surveying the geology of abandoned strip mines in central Pennsylvania to collecting elevations, coordinates and sediment samples with her professor in Northern Iceland as part of her senior research thesis.  
In her free time, she enjoys painting, running, hiking, traveling, and playing with her cat, Ralph. “I am incredibly excited to put the skills that I have learned in the classroom to use in a way that can actively help to improve my community,” said Rachael.
Abigail Keefe
Abigail Keefe, born and raised in Mountain Top, Pennsylvania, has always had a love for being creative and a passion for environmental issues ever since she could remember, so you can imagine her excitement when learning about the year long Outreach & Education position with EPCAMR, OSMRE & AmeriCorps.
“Combining a position with communication and environmental outreach opportunities? What could be better? I’m very excited to say the least and can’t wait help create programs and educate the community on how much of an impact elements from our historical past has on today’s local environment and society,” Abbie enthusiastically explained.
Abbie received her Bachelor of Arts in communication from a small social justice institution in suburban Philadelphia, Cabrini College.
She enjoyed dedicating her time serving as the Managing and News Editor of the college’s award-winning student-run newspaper, the Loquitur, as well as lobbying at the nation’s capital for poverty-focused international-assistant with an emphasis on natural disasters.
After graduating in May of 2016, she traveled to Arbolito, Ecuador for a service trip where she aided in after-school programs and community activities. There, she learned first-hand about the hardships in which the impoverished community faced, such as the importance of clean water.
Abbie’s love for animals is perpetual, as she spends most of her free time hanging out with her furry white feline, rescued pit-bull, leopard gecko, or any of her other multitudes of furry (or scaly) friends.
When she’s not home with her abundance of pets, you can assume she is hiking, kayaking, painting, eating pizza or traveling into Pennsylvania’s everlasting woods with her camera.
“Abbie will be assisting EPCAMR with our online social media presence, telling stories about our projects and putting a personal touch to them through pictures and images of contrasting landscapes that we’ve reclaimed and restored in our mining impacted watersheds,” said Hughes.  “She will be looking increase EPCAMR’s presence in the media and in the counties that we serve to inform other potential partners that we’re available to provide technical, educational, and grant writing assistance.
“She will also be reviewing our marketing, branding, and recently updated Strategic Plan to see how she can utilize her communication skills to build on EPCAMR’s name and desire to let others know that we’re ready to assist our past mining impacted communities through partnerships today for a cleaner environment tomorrrow!
“Finally, she will be helping to organize education, outreach, and community events around AMD and watershed restoration for our partners and community volunteers.
“Hopefully, we can build on our RECLAIM Crew volunteer recruitment program that will encourage volunteers to not just come to our community cleanup events, but will give them an opportunity to network and become more social with the staff at new meet and greet events or outings such as nature photography tours, AMD water quality monitoring training, AMD & Art events, or macro monitoring and identification,” explained Hughes.
“EPCAMR is pleased to welcome Rachael and Abbie as AmeriCorps Environmental Stewards through the partnership that we have with the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation & Enforcement and the Conservation Legacy non-profit organization, who will be doing the administrative portion of the grant that will provide the two positions with their stipend and Educational Award for their community service to the coalfields,” said Hughes.
“After reviewing their resumes and cover letters and talking to some references, following their interviews, I was really excited that they made the decision to volunteer with EPCAMR and help us to build the capacity that we have been expanding on with our current staff to provide more technical and educational and outreach services to community groups, Conservation Districts, watershed organizations, colleges and universities, schools, and other reclamation related partners throughout Northeastern and Northcentral PA,” added Hughes.
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation website.
Related Stories:
Op-Ed: Federal RECLAIM Act Can Help In Reshaping Northeast PA’s Economy

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