First Interstate donation

Karalee Chabotte, Retail Manager for First Interstate Bank in Bingen, presented a “check” for $5,000 to the Mt. Adams Institute in Trout Lake recently. First Interstate’s donation will go toward a project to update the institute’s facility in Trout Lake. The center hosts educational programs and serves as a training center for veterans. Pictured (l-r): Marijke Weaver, Erica Bingham, Laura Linn, Brendan Norman, Executive Director of the Mt. Adams Institute, Mike Gundlach, Dana Rivkin, Cory Kirkpatrick, Karalee Chabotte, and Aaron Stanton.

Mt. Adams Institute Receives AmeriCorps Grant to Expand Programs

Mt. Adams Institute will receive $1,119,904 in AmeriCorps funding annually for the next three years from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency responsible for AmeriCorps and other national service programs.

This funding will support up to 95 AmeriCorps members across the country participating in Mt. Adams Institute’s career development programs: VetsWork and Public Lands Stewards. These programs are designed to improve access, use, and conservation of our natural resources, while launching military veterans and young adults into careers within the public lands management field.

“AmeriCorps is an incredible federal program that engages over 75,000 people, annually, in service to their community and country,” said Brendan Norman, executive director of Mt. Adams Institute. “In the case of our programs, that means engaging veterans and young adults in service to our public lands and natural resources. We’re thrilled that the Corporation for National and Community Service has recognized the positive impact that our organization is making across the nation.”

AmeriCorps members serve on conservation projects such as trail maintenance; visitor engagement, wildlife research, environmental education, geographic information mapping, invasive species monitoring, and community volunteer coordination.

In addition to grant funding, CNCS will provide over $300,000 in education awards for the members to help pay for future college tuition, vocational training, or repay student loans.

Mt. Adams Institute matches the grant funding with additional support from project partners, including but not limited to the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Columbia River Gorge National Fish Hatchery Complex, Oregon State Parks, and the Willamette Resources and Education Network.

Locally, VetsWork and Public Lands Stewards AmeriCorps members have provided over 40,000 hours of service at local Gorge sites over the past five years including the Gifford Pinchot and Mt. Hood National Forests, Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Columbia River Gorge National Fish Hatchery Complex, and the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

“The experience I had on the Mt. Hood National Forest was completely amazing. I was given an opportunity to learn many new things and I have gained skills that will certainly help me in the future,” said Army veteran and VetsWork AmeriCorps alum, John Hansen. After his AmeriCorps service, John was permanently hired by the Bureau of Land Management.

This expansion comes as a direct result of the success of the program. Since 2014, 81% of VetsWork participants who completed the program have been offered employment within the field. With this growth, Mt. Adams Institute looks forward to establishing new local partnerships and providing more opportunities for veterans and young adults to experience the outdoors while shaping their career path.

Since the inception of AmeriCorps in 1994, more than 1 million Americans have served through schools, nonprofits, and community organizations across the country. Over the years, these citizens have helped in the recovery of communities affected by disasters, mentored and tutored young people, connected veterans to jobs, cared for seniors, enhanced our environment, and have met other critical needs.

Mt. Adams Institute is a nonprofit organization with a mission to strengthen the connection between people and the natural world through education, service learning, career development and research. More information about the organization can be found at:

AmeriCorps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in national service programs. For more information, visit

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