Things are changing once again in the C&O Canal Trust office, as Cheyenne Seybold and Ben Bender complete their time with us and a new member of the team, Callie Fishburn, joins us.
Cheyenne joined the Trust in August 2018 with funding from the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT). The CBT manages the Chesapeake Conservation Corps (CCC), which promotes employment for young adults who are looking to break into the field of conservation within the Chesapeake Bay region. CCC members, such as Cheyenne, are placed with nonprofits or government agencies where they can gain skills and experience to help propel them into their careers. While at the Trust, Cheyenne assisted with our annual Canal Pride events, and worked with the Canal Quarters program – especially helping to get our newest lockhouse, Swains, ready and open for visitors! She also played a role in creating and installing interpretive information in that lockhouse so visitors can better understand the time period Swains represents. She also developed a series of lectures on topics such as vermicomposting and storm water management. Cheyenne most enjoyed hosting programs where kids were involved and could see the environment up close. “It was fun seeing the next generation of stewards become excited and inspired about ways they can help or be involved,” Cheyenne said. We wish Cheyenne well on her next adventures as she looks into continuing to work with local nonprofits and the National Park Service to encourage community engagement and stewardship of local waterways.
Ben Bender’s time at the Trust began in January of this year. As the Trust’s Conservation Jobs Corps (CJC) Coordinator, he was tasked with managing 5 to 15 high school students, first as volunteers during the spring semester and then as paid members of the CJC crew, working along the C&O Canal on a variety of conservation, historic preservation, and Park maintenance projects. He was also responsible for laying the groundwork for a Relevancy, Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Plan, which will help guide the next steps of the Trust’s Canal For All program. Ben really enjoyed the unique aspects of the Park and being able to work there every day. “My favorite thing was experiencing the canal and fostering an experience for the youth that I worked with because it is a very unique place to work, at the canal,” Ben stated. “There is nothing else like it.” Ben plans to work towards making an impact on people’s lives and helping them find connections with the land around him.“The whole reason I started this job was to help people foster this whole sense of place. When you develop a sense of place, you notice more about that place and you tend to care for it better.”
As we say goodbye to old friends, we also have the opportunity to say hello to a new one! Callie Fishburn has joined us as our new Chesapeake Conservation Corpsmember for 2019-2020. She graduated from Hood College in 2018 with a degree in Environmental Science and Policy. She recently spent 8 months in Saskatchewan working with Indigenous people. With the Trust, Callie will be continuing Ben’s work in engaging traditionally underrepresented audiences in service, educational and employment opportunities at the C&O Canal, as well as leading a five-week Conservation Jobs Corps program in the summer of 2020.