National volunteer team clears local brush

Perhaps to ease tensions between them and their neighbors, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy recently called upon the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (A*NCCC) to clear brush at the Streisand Center for Conservancy Studies. For the past three weeks, the 14-member “Crimson Pride” team of A*NCCC has been clearing brush and limbs at the 22-acre estate donated by Barbra Streisand to the state agency.

The 18- to 24-year-olds have also been building an animal emergency care hospital for Wildlife Rescue Response to protect a colony of sea lions, and clearing the 20-foot giant reeds called Arundo donax that are choking off streams in Temescal Canyon, officials said.

Describing how the 850-member A*NCCC involves young adults from around the country in environmental, public safety, education and unmet human needs such as hunger, volunteer Tenagne Habte-Michael said the corps is a “wonderful way to build confidence and responsibility.” You learn how to work as a team and eradicate communication problems, she said. The young woman, who started health studies at the University of California at Berkeley, says she wanted to take a “step back” to be more appreciative of what she learned.

Her team travels every five weeks to nine Northwestern states, including Alaska and Hawaii, where she hopes to go, Habte-Michael said.

The team is housed in the two-story Peach House at the Streisand Center. The eight girls sleep in one bedroom and the seven men in another, Habte-Michael said. They must bring their own mattresses, towels and dishes but have use of two kitchens. “We never know what our living quarters will be,” she said. “At the last place we lived in we couldn’t take a shower.”

For information on AmeriCorps call 1-800-942-2677 .

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