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Dutcher pledges his services

Date: 9/30/2009

Elliot Dutcher of Longmeadow, is one of 164 young people who pledged to perform 10 months of national service throughout the country as part of the 16th class of the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), an AmeriCorps program.

Dutcher is an inaugural member of the Southern Region Campus located in Vicksburg, MS. Dutcher will spend the next 9 months in a team of 10-12 national service members intent on getting things done for America in Mississippi and three other projects located within the southern region, several of which support the rebuilding efforts of those communities destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Gustav.

Dutcher just finished a disaster response in Louisville, KY supporting the initial clearing of debris which has affected nearly 6,200 who have applied for FEMA individual assistance. The team provided leadership to volunteers who came to help remove debris, walls and floors when necessary to guard against mold. The team will spend the next 6 weeks in Vicksburg, MS with the Mississippi River Field Institute (MRFI) a newly established entity of the National Audubon Society whose mission is to connect people to the lower Mississippi River and its natural deltas in coastal Louisiana. The team will develop the infrastructure necessary to make a variety of connective efforts related to research, education, and nature tourism. The infrastructure will include chimney swift bird towers, nature information kiosks and bird watching platforms. The team will also teach volunteers how to build these elements through the creation of a published manual and a display booth that will be made available at local, state, and regional events. In addition to these efforts they will maintain trails, build footbridges, and create interpretive signs. Through these efforts the team will aid the MRFI in the building of its volunteer base, and the construction of the bird habitat towers and informational kiosks that bring awareness to the bird challenges in the lower Mississippi Region.

This is the sixteenth year of AmeriCorps NCCC, a leadership national service program for young people ages 18 to 24. In exchange for completing 1,700 hours of service during a 10-month term, these young people receive an education award of nearly $5,000, plus a living stipend, housing and more. AmeriCorps programs are administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency. Interested applicants and project sponsors are encouraged to learn more by visiting or calling 1-800-942-2677.