"If you're going to make a big impact, you have to become part of a community and work on local issues, as well as engage with issues on the national-scale," says Sarah Meade '13. Meade, who grew up in New Mexico, is now back in her home state working as an AmeriCorps-Vista at the Rio Puerco Alliance, where she engages in community outreach in the watershed alliance, and helps write grants for low-skill restoration projects that allow communities in the area to use land for ranching, farming, or outdoor education.
"We're working for the environment, but we're also working with landowners to create a better way to manage the area," she says.
Meade is interested in land management and wants to change "the way we view and deal with the resources of the land so that it's not a system of degradation, but rather of restoration: a system where we can allow our resources to flourish."
Right now, the Alliance is fundraising to create a mobile farmers market within the Navajo Nation in New Mexico that would connect three different communities: "We're providing money and technical and farming education to current Navajo farmers and Navajo residents who want to start farming so they can sell to the mobile farmers market."
At Goucher, Meade studied the effects of uranium mining in the Navajo Nation: "that is what really sparked me to look into this and any sort of projects that support Native Americans in rebuilding their communities." She was involved with the community based learning program and was the coordinator of the TALMAR gardening program. "My involvement with TALMAR showed me that working with communities in the city or town you live in makes an impact that you can see right away. That kind of experience also teaches you how to work with people and develop projects that are significant to them culturally and socially, and which benefit them in the long run."