The outstanding contribution of Americorps to Ushers Ferry
On April 4 we will participate in Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service and officially thank Americorps teams who have been instrumental in the recovery and redevelopment of Ushers Ferry in the nine years since the 2008 flood that damaged or destroyed almost ninety percent of the historic village site.
Ushers Ferry staff first became acquainted with the Americorps project through the flood recovery efforts of Americorps Vista team leader, Rhonda Farmer, who coordinated flood recovery volunteers and sent hundreds of volunteers that provided thousands of hours of labor in the disaster cleanup effort at Ushers Ferry. In the spring of 2009, Ushers Ferry was awarded an Americorps NCCC team (the first of many) for six weeks of labor as we worked to stabilize the village and repair buildings and grounds enough to reopen to the public. In addition to providing labor with the restoration of the Schulze cottage, Americorps team members devoted many hours to cleaning the grounds of flood debris, as well as cleaning, sorting and packing village collections for long term storage.
As the village was slowly able to re-open to the public, Ushers Ferry developed partnerships with other Americorps entities, such as Green Iowa, who worked with staff members to create exciting new children’s programs such as “Zombie Survival Camp,” as well as developing nature based education materials to enhance Ushers Ferry history programs. In the years that followed, Americorps has directly provided thousands of hours of skill and labor to Ushers Ferry in building and grounds repair and maintenance, collections inventory and exhibit development, special event and program assistance as well as flood recovery.
Today, Americorps Team Cedar 7, a brand new team all working on their very first Americorps project at Ushers Ferry has already provided assistance cleaning up flood debris from the fall 2016 flood, cleaning buildings and grounds in preparation for spring school tours and helping staff lead children’s daycamp programs over spring break. During their six week tenure, they will help scrape and paint two exhibit buildings and provide other valuable support as staff prepares for a busy 2017 season.