Brandon Irvin was working toward his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science at Colorado Mesa University in 2017 when he learned of the Western Colorado Conservation Corps (WCCC) from a friend.   He was very Interested in being outside and working on conservation projects so he decided to give the corps world a try.

Brandon has now completed projects all over western Colorado. From working on invasive species removal projects on the Dolores River to improving the popular Oh-Be-Joyful Campground above Crested Butte, he has gained a great perspective of the importance of public lands to his community.  Brandon even rode a raft into a project on the Gunnison River!  His favorite project, however, was fixing a historic retaining wall with an archaeologist at the Colorado National Monument.

With all the amazing projects that Brandon has worked on, he does not want to give people the notion that the work is easy.  “It was really hard!” Brandon says.  “The work was rough, but that taught the greatest lessons—it gives you the ability to reflect.”  Brandon’s experience at WCCC taught him patience, taking pride in your actions, and a newfound sense of community.  He also learned leadership skills, becoming more social, and how to accomplish large projects with a group.  Due to his outstanding growth, Brandon was promoted to Assistant Crew Leader this fall.

WCCC has changed the way Brandon views his community and public lands.  When asked what he would tell someone considering joining the corps world, Brandon said that “if you’re considering it, jump in!  Over the course of a few weeks, people change.  People who you wouldn’t expect to be good corpsmembers are able to really shine.”

After completing his third AmeriCorps Education Award, Brandon plans on finishing his bachelor’s degree and obtaining his Wilderness First Responder certification.