Pine River welcomes AmeriCorps VISTA member
Megan Goplin, of Blue Mounds, Wis., was recently sworn in as a member of the Initiative Foundation’s central Minnesota VISTA project and will be serving locally with Happy Dancing Turtle, a member of the Resilient Living Council, whose mission is to create, demonstrate and promote sustainable living solutions that are economically and ecologically practical.
Happy Dancing Turtle promotes sustainable living through education, collaboration, demonstrations, workshops and research. Goplin’s main tasks during her year of service will be to help the organization design and pilot a program where youth grow food from seed to market while learning the agricultural and business skills required for successfully running a local foods enterprise.
Goplin brings valuable skills and experience to her service with Happy Dancing Turtle. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and environmental studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her passion for service led her to West Africa where she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer (Cameroon 2010-12).
As an Agroforestry Extension Agent in Cameroon, she facilitated the development of a community tree nursery and initiated an environmental education program for area primary schools.
Before her induction into the AmeriCorps VISTA program, Goplin’s commitment to environmental stewardship led her to the Tallgrass Aspen Parklands of northwestern Minnesota, where she assisted in land management activities with The Nature Conservancy.
To enable Goplin to serve full-time for a year, the Corporation for National and Community Service will provide her with a modest living allowance along with medical coverage, training and relocation expenses. When she completes her service, she can choose between either a $1,500 cash stipend or an education award of $5,550 to help pay for further schooling, vocational training or qualified student loans.
In central Minnesota, 18 VISTA members, are working on projects that help people access basic necessities for living and opportunities and tools for getting ahead