My name is Tiffany Hunt, I’m an AmeriCorps member serving Northeast Nebraska as a Conservation Director for Conservation Nebraska.
Today I am a dog mom of two with a loving husband who is constantly working on our lake home in small-town Nebraska. How did I end up here? Why did I have the ambition to become an AmeriCorps member and begin my service with Conservation Nebraska?
I didn’t grow up in a household where “environmental impact” was a dinner topic. I did, however, grow up in a home where I was shown the value of nature. I went on summer camping trips with my grandparents. I cycled all across Nebraska, Iowa, and Colorado where I was able to take in the scenic views of mountains, farmlands, and open prairies. I was born to find the next adventure whether it was climbing, hiking, biking, or diving.
When it was time to go to college, I went to play softball and I ended up changing my major three times! I finally landed on becoming an educator to make an impact on younger generations to come. While in my fourth year of college I became very ill, so ill I had to step away from my college softball training and classes for nearly 2 months. Once I was cleared to play, our season was already on its way. It was at this moment I decided to sign up for a life-changing opportunity to attend an international May term, instead of waiting on the postseason for softball. My May term challenged me to hike, bike, and kayak Vietnam and Cambodia.
It was this three-week trip that gave me the ambition to work and travel. A short year later my husband and I boarded a plane to see the world. While abroad I was able to connect with amazing people from around the world that introduced me to how my actions have a direct impact on our planet. In Thailand, waste management programs are slim to none. Every source of water was polluted — I had to brush my teeth with bottled water. Still, Thailand had so much to offer us with its beautiful landscape. This is when environmental impact became a dinner topic. I had the opportunity to become a dive professional and started planning vacations to scuba dive and work on conservation projects. I started carrying a reusable water bottle, chopsticks, and bowl everywhere I went. I started educating, with the help of students, the surrounding community members about how to make an impact in their neighborhoods.
After working abroad we moved to Hawaii. Here I was able to network with amazing people who taught me “Aloha ‘Aina,” meaning to give respect and love to our land, beautify it, and use it properly. It was here that I started to work on how to live sustainably. Living on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I took more appreciation for my resources. Learning to cook and eat locally along with being cautious of how I use resources and the disposal of them.
Now my husband and I own a lake home in a small Nebraska community where we are embedding our love and respect of nature into our everyday lives. Nebraska may not be an island with visible limitations. However, I challenge you to think about the unseen and unknown limitations of our beautiful state. The resources it can provide for us and future generations to come. I want to help bring this Hawaiian belief of Aloha ‘Aina to the people of Nebraska. Regenerate our lands, learn to eat locally, use our resources wisely, and dispose of them properly. In the past four years, I have hiked in the Himalayas, dove in the Great Barrier Reef, camped in lush rainforest, and swam with manta rays. I ask you to start making “environmental impact” a dinner topic so our future generations have the possibilities to see the value of nature around them near and far.
Are you located in Northeast Nebraska and interested in making a difference in your community or wanting to volunteer on current efforts in environmental stewardship? Do you want to learn more about my story? Do you want to become a part of our story moving Nebraska to greener pastures? If you want to reach out to me personally please reach out by email firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with Conservation Nebraska through Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.