Our motto is “See The Need, Meet The Need,” which we take to heart in everything we do, as we always strive to reach those who are least served, last served, or never served. Our program is unique in that it gives all Members the opportunity to try each of its three pillars -- Environmental Stewardship, Wildland Firefighting, and Disaster Response -- versus other corps where members sign on for specific trail/fire/disaster/conservation crews. The program equips Members with the certifications, experience, and connections to jump into any number of disciplines after their term – or just the opportunity to explore a future in them.
Interested in conservation, wildland fire, or disaster relief?
Join AmeriCorps St. Louis as a full-time National Service Volunteer! As part of our 42-Member Emergency Response Team (ERT), you’ll gain experience and training in the fields of environmental stewardship, wildland fire, and emergency management over the course of an 11-month term, beginning September 2023.
The ERT is a multi-functional rapid deployment group based out of St. Louis, Missouri, that has been called throughout the country to respond to floods, tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes, ice storms, and the COVID-19 pandemic. When not responding to disasters, the ERT functions as a conservation corps that assists partner organizations with vital natural resource management and restoration projects, including trail building and maintenance, habitat restoration, invasive species removal, and prescribed burning.
No prior experience is necessary, and all experience is welcome. Through the program, Members receive training and certifications in a variety of skill sets including chainsawing, wildland firefighting, and emergency incident management. ACSTL heavily emphasizes Member development and accommodates Members’ preferences for specific experience, e.g. more weeks spent attached to U.S. Forest Service fire crews. Additional opportunities to develop leadership experience through the Assistant Team Lead program are available later in the service term. These experiences and certifications leave Members well qualified in related career fields after their service.
ACSTL provides a challenging and fun opportunity to explore the conservation, fire, and disaster fields; serve the environment and local/state/national community; meet people from different backgrounds; enjoy an outdoor office; earn money for education; and be a part of a supportive, welcoming community.
“The service teaches you a lot and shows you how many opportunities there are in the three different focus areas. The community here is very strong and supportive and encourages everyone to learn and grow both individually and as a team member.” – Current ERT Member
At a Glance: From Missouri to Montana and Beyond
ACSTL partners with local, state, and federal agencies for its weekly conservation and fire projects. Members spend most weeks of their 11-month term on environmental stewardship projects throughout Missouri and Illinois. Generally, teams of 5 to 12 people are sent out each Monday for 5- or 10-day projects, serving on public lands with the aid of partner organization contacts. Teams are lodged in the field in anything from campgrounds to park shops to seasonal cabins to AirBnBs. Transportation and food are also provided by ACSTL each project week.
Members receive training and certifications for wildland firefighting through the program, enabling them to assist partners on prescribed burns and wildfire mitigation and suppression. The most fire-intensive months often see ERT members on multiple burns/fires each week.
In addition to possible multi-week disaster deployments over the course of the term, ERT members all travel for a corps-wide six week stay in Montana in June and July. There, ACSTL partners with Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest for stewardship projects throughout western Montana.
The term of service can be roughly divided into several periods: training (September to October), fall/winter (October to February), fire season (February to April), summer (April to June), and Montana (June to August).
Please visit our website for a more detail position description!
Training and Certifications: All Members receive extensive trainings and certifications throughout their term in the areas of emergency response, environmental stewardship, and wildland firefighting. Some of these trainings include team building and leadership skills, chainsaw and other power equipment operations, wildfire and prescribed burn operations, hand tool use and maintenance, risk management approaches, introduction to disaster services, Incident Command System (IS 100, 200, 700, 800), emergency communications, Psychological First Aid, and basic First Aid/CPR.
Partner availability permitting, Members will have the opportunity to attend chainsaw and wildland fire training with the U.S. Forest Service. Members are generally afforded the opportunity to test for their S-212 Wildland Fire Chainsaw certification as a FAL3 (Basic Faller), as a Type II Wildland Firefighter (FFT2), and will receive their Incident Qualification Card (Red Card) through the U.S. Forest Service. The baseline level of fitness required for a Red Card includes being able to pass the wildland firefighter Pack Test: a 3-mile walk carrying a 45-lbs pack completed in under 45 minutes.
As the term progresses, there will be further opportunities for development. One of these avenues is the chance to learn how to lead teams on stewardship projects through the Assistant-Team-Lead-in-Training process: dedicated weeks of shadowing, coaching, and mentorship with second-year Team Leads at your own pace to give you support and get you comfortable with leading a team of your peers. It is a collaborative experience with Team Leads to support the background, scheduling, communicating, management and facilitation of success for all things project related.
Physical Health Information: Members must maintain a high level of physical fitness during their 11-month term of service in order to safely carry out the duties required for a manual labor position. A position with ERT requires extensive walking, bending, kneeling, lifting, pushing, stooping, standing, carrying loads of up to 50 lbs, handling hand and power tools, and other physical labor for extended periods of time. Members will serve primarily outdoors, in all kinds of weather (heat, cold, rain, snow, etc). Should accommodations be needed, you will be asked to submit a letter showing you are medically cleared to serve safely with ACSTL. This letter should state recommended accommodations.
COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement: In compliance with federal guidelines, ACSTL has a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy. All Members are required to submit proof of vaccination prior to enrollment and will be required to keep up with boosters. Applicants may request exceptions and reasonable accommodations for medical or religious reasons. In a corps environment like ours, Members are always around each other and might be in close proximity to vulnerable populations. In addition to adhering to safety measures enacted programmatically, Members are expected to recognize and respect the bubble-like nature of ERT and how one individual’s actions, risk analysis, and health considerations can impact the rest of the Corps.
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