COLLEGEVILLE -- For the past month, the Abbey Arboretum at St. John's University has been getting some help from a group of volunteers from all over the United States.

AmeriCorps is made up of volunteers ages 18 to 24 who travel the country to help out various nonprofits, government and state agencies. They have been at St. John's since late June.

"My experience so far has [has been] challenging, but great," says Tieshia Brown, a volunteer from Florida.

"Traveling the Midwest, serving different organizations, helping out when I can -- it's a good experience."

Their duties at the arboretum have included splitting wood for the annual maple syrup festival and constructing a nine-foot high deer fence.

Cyrus Bastarache, a volunteer from Massachusetts, says the fence is vital to the preservation of the arboretum.

"This is a historic forest [with] an unusual deer population," Bastarache says. "[Without this fence], basically all of their young saplings would be destroyed by the deer."

AmeriCorps will continue to serve at St. John's until August 4th and they will hold a Community Day on Saturday, August 1st at the Mississippi River Park in Rice.


Photo by Isaac Schweer, WJON