Meet Carissa Englert! Carissa has been serving with Conservation Nebraska’s AmeriCorps Common Ground Program since January 2023. She loves spending time with friends, making crafts, and enjoying nature.
Carissa has felt a personal connection to the natural world since her childhood. Some of her first memories are of spending time exploring Lincoln parks and forests with her dad and brothers. She also has good memories of going on camping trips across Nebraska and surrounding states with her family. Being immersed in the outdoors from a young age gave her the opportunity to explore on her own and develop her appreciation for plants and animals.
During her junior year of high school, while looking for something to watch, she happened upon a documentary about coral reefs. Carissa was moved to learn how integral one part of an ecosystem can be to the health of the entire planet.
After that, she began watching more and more nature documentaries that captured the beauty of the natural world, while seeking out information about the powerful threats that endanger the longest established systems on the planet. She felt overwhelmed with all of the new information and called to share this information with others, but she didn’t know where to start.
In college, she wanted to get involved with the local environmental community. Wesleyan and UNL campuses served as good places for this, as she was able to join student organizations, learn from other active students and help push for important initiatives on both campuses. These experiences helped her realize her interest in community organizing and the power that people can have when they work together to demand positive change. This is the kind of work that she wants to do in the future.
Today, Carissa is learning more about community organizing through her role with Conservation Nebraska as an AmeriCorps member. She knows that people being committed to making positive changes in their communities is the only way forward for any issue, including environmentally and socially. Along with this, she wants to emphasize that any meaningful progress throughout history has been made through the power of social change. She hopes to learn better ways to help her community and the environment during her time in this role.