Wrapping Up and Reflecting Back on Service by Noell Evans

July 21, 2023
Noell is an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving with the City of Red Lodge

With this month being my last full month of service, I have had to face some daunting realities that I have put off reflecting on up until this point — primarily, what do I have to show for all the work that I have accomplished? Entering my mid-twenties, I have been taking more time to think about where it is I want to go in life and what it is I have done and what I need to be doing in order to get to that point. I know that my ultimate goal is to pursue a career in environmentalism. Over the course of this month I have looked back on what I have done so far to achieve that goal. 

Throughout my service term there were times when I thought that I was not doing enough and that by the time this point came around I would have little to show for my year’s worth of time here in Red Lodge. However, looking back on the year I realize just how much I was able to accomplish in the time I was given. I worked with both the Sustainability and Parks Boards to bring environmentalism to the forefront of community minds, and from our campaigns broader community discussions have come up. The city also now has a logo meant to represent sustainability efforts broadly, and other community leaders have taken and spread it to their spheres of influence to help further promote the cause. I also successfully conducted a week’s long celebration of Earth Day and touched on a variety of topics surrounding environmental stewardship that engaged the public from all ages. Most excitingly, I was able to submit a grant that, if won, would fund energy upgrades for two community buildings, four businesses, and three residences. 

Sitting back and looking at all of these accomplishments completely dispels any prior worries in me that I have not accomplished enough. I can honestly say that I have done what I came here to do, and I have gained valuable knowledge and experience because of it. Most of all, I made impactful community connections that I will never forget. It is a bittersweet feeling knowing that I will be leaving soon, but I can leave confident that I made a positive impact on the culture of environmentalism in this town. That is the ultimate goal of why I want to enter into an environmentalist career. So often we hear of new news regarding the increasing dangers of climate change and the daunting nature of its intensity can be demoralizing and even paralyzing. I want to overcome that feeling of paralysis and contribute to what we can do on a local level to combat the tide of climate change and build a resiliency towards it.