Kelly in the blue helmet left, working with AmeriCorps NCCC volunteers on some early trail building at SIU’s Touch of Nature in 2018.
Kelly’s passion for volunteerism began in the summer of 1975 as a sophomore at Anna-Jonesboro High School when she was selected as an enrollee in the Youth Conservation Corps at what was then called the Jonesboro Ranger Station. There she became hooked on working hard, getting dirty, and eventually the United States Forest Service.
She returned the following year as a YCC Youth Leader at Jonesboro where she began honing her leadership skills. That same summer, she was selected to attend the YCC as a Youth Leader in the residential program at the Kaskaskia Experimental Station at the Elizabethtown Ranger District. Among some of the projects she and her fellow campers were involved with was the flagstone walk at Rim Rock. After attending Shawnee Community College, she served as a crew leader for the Young Adult Conservation Corps at the Jonesboro Ranger Station.
In 1993, Kelly was offered her dream job at the USFS as a Recreation Technician. Since then, and over many USFS reorganizations, she was able to continue honing her leadership skills and helped develop the Shawnee Volunteer Corps, and later as Wilderness Technician and Volunteer Coordinator.
Since then, it’s safe to say she has hosted thousands of volunteers and has appreciated how the people she’s met along the way develop their own connection to the natural world.
Congratulations, Kelly. You have influenced many organizations and individuals. Friends of the Shawnee National Forest is truly appreciative of your guidance.