OSM/VISTA Watershed Coordinator, Jefferson Conservation District, Lakewood, Colorado
Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement
 
How Brian Devine got involved with Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement
I knew I wanted to spend my first year out of college in service. A family friend sent me a video she had produced on the OSM/VISTA Western Hardrock Watershed Team and I was immediately interested. I would be performing environmental service in some of the most beautiful terrain in the country, doing something really meaningful to clean up the lands I grew up using. I applied to the Team and I was lucky enough to be accepted and to work on the Kerber Creek Restoration Project. After a year of service in Saguache County, I decided to serve a second year, this time at the Jefferson Conservation District outside my hometown of Denver.
 
Experience
The highlight of my OSM/VISTA experience so far has been participating in the Kerber Creek project's water quality monitoring field day along with the EPA and the Fish and Wildlife Service. Gathering water samples from remote streams in beautiful late-summer mountains highlighted just what we're working to correct: the sky was blue, the slopes were a deep green, and the water was a sickly orange as it leeched out of the ground and old tunnels. It was the best illustration of the problem I could have asked for. On the Front Range, I've been lucky enough to be a part of the community response to the 4000-acre Lower North Fork Fire, which destroyed 23 homes and killed three people in March of 2012. This was a tragic event, but one with profound ecological benefits, encouraging the rejuvenation of the forest. We are providing assistance to landowners on potential mass soil erosion, invasive species control, and hazard trees as they work to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of the fire.
 
Brian Devine's accomplishments
My professional skills have developed tremendously over the last two years. I've learned to write grant proposals and implementation plans, how to organize and faciliate volunteer events and project meetings, and how to involve a broad coalition of stakeholders and the community at large in an environmental project. I raised $149,000 in Saguache and, so far, $128,000 in Lakewood, but it's more than money. It's about learning what is important to a successful project and what is important to the community you serve.
 
Brian Devine's next steps
I'll finish my second term of service this summer, and I hope to continue working in the Colorado water community. This is my home, and I'd like to be a part of keeping it as great as it is. In a short while, I'll be pursuing a graduate degree in Geography or Environmental Policy in the west.
 
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
School: Washington and Lee University
Major: B.A. History, Politics