This past month we had an AmeriCorps crew come in to help us with prescribed burning and wildfire suppression.

One morning I got to talk with a couple of these folks. They were from all over the United States. One woman was from Miami, Fla., one guy was from Missouri, and another woman was from California.

The young man from Missouri told me that he had joined AmeriCorps to earn money to attend college through an Education Award with AmeriCorps for his service. The two ladies both said that beyond learning new skills and helping with disaster recovery, they were looking at using the Collage Loan Forgiveness Program offered through AmeriCorps.

One of the ladies mentioned the fact that at the end of her time with AmeriCorps, she would be able to compete for two years for a federal job under “Merit Status.”

Some of you may remember Ben Latimer who worked with Dent County Extension and the Community Garden in past years. And you may also know Crystal Adams, who is working in Ben’s place and has been working with building a garden at the Head Start preschool and the greenhouse at R-1. Both of these individuals were/are AmeriCorps volunteers.

If you think you would like to participate in AmeriCorps, Google their website at

This week we have had a number of people stop by the office looking for jobs. This is very encouraging to meet people who want to start careers with the USDA Forest Service and Mark Twain National Forest.

Three things I have told them are: 

1 – Check our website at at least once a week for posting of job opportunities on the Mark Twain.

2 – Go to USAJOBS at This is where you will need to build your application/resume to apply for federal jobs, and do it NOW. Don’t wait to see a job you may have interest in and then log on to this site to apply for that job because uploading all the necessary documents can take time.

3 – Remember that we are a national agency, not a state agency. There are opportunities to work for the Forest Service from Alaska to Puerto Rico and from Maine to California; and there are even some opportunities to work abroad with the Research and International Forestry arms of the agency.

Get out and enjoy your National Forest!

By Thomas Haines

(Thomas is district ranger for the Mark Twain National Forest, Salem Ranger District. He can be reached at 573-729-6656 or