Catch up with Annie!
Annie's work is heating up as the RARE service member heads into spring with a couple of exciting projects. Annie created, organized, and helped lead a collaborative event with the Trailkeepers of Oregon (TKO) to encourage a culture of stewardship for both locals and visitors. The event and participant reactions were incredibly rewarding, as they reinforced the importance of Annie's work. Individuals were enthralled and engaged during the event, with multiple individuals leaving the experience with "eyes beaming" and a positive impression and outlook towards TKO and its work.
TKO was founded by a group of concerned hikers in 2007, with the organization's work centered on trail maintenance projects and advocacy work to restore proper funding to Oregon's hiking trails. The majority of the trails were built over 80 years ago and have been maintained thanks to the hard work of volunteers. TKO and Annie have plans in the works to add two similar events to the series that will help to further the organization's mission of exploring and supporting regenerative travel experiences and to build long-lasting relationships with the community.
In addition to the public events, Annie has been able to take advantage of the exceptional RARE tourism industry partners to get TKO a seat at the table to collaborate on one of the first digital outdoor recreation mapping projects with Travel Oregon. With the help of Travel Oregon's recent toolkit and another consultant, Annie is kickstarting, curating, and designing a trail map. These maps aim to provide an accessible resource that keeps visitors informed, engaged, and staying longer.
Last on the docket, Annie is excited to be creating a landscape design for the Port of Bandon. The city is working on a design for a pedestrian space that will showcase an educational sculpture by a local marine education nonprofit Washed Ashore. In addition, there is the potential incorporation of an existing aquaculture experiment into the space to educate passersby about declining kelp forests, their ecological importance, and their potential as an agricultural product.
What is one piece of advice you wish you could tell yourself at the beginning of the service year?
"Because this is my second service year, I will look back and give myself at the very beginning of this adventure some advice: Make sure you get to know the people around you and nurture those relationships. Find the people who you connect with and who would go to bat for you. Moving to a new place, especially if you are not accustomed to rural living, can be tumultuous. It is so important to have those you feel comfortable reaching out to and being open with, even if it is just to a precious few."