Nation Communities of Excellence (ONCOE) hosted an event Wednesday
afternoon to welcome Wendy Spencer, CEO of Corporation for National
& Community Service (CNCS). The Osage Nation, as announced by
CNCS, was one of 10 communities nationwide to become a partner
of the agencys new Operation AmeriCorps initiative
and the total for the two-year project to build WAHZHAZHI Eco Park
along with continued work on Bird Creek Farms will be an investment
of nearly $1.4 million.
The Osage Nation was also the only tribe to receive this grant.
CEO Spencer pointed out that WAHZHAZHI Eco Park was unique from
any of the other grant submissions.
Principal Chief Standing Bear and CEO Spencer spoke to the audience
made up of AmeriCorps staff, members of the Osage Nation Congress,
and others from the Office of the Chiefs. Other speakers at the
days event were Osage Nation Congresswoman Angela Pratt and
AmeriCorps member Cade Rector.
Ms. Spencer swore the AmeriCorps members into service and Osage
Nation Judge Marvin Stepson swore the members into service with
the Osage Nation.
In addition to Bird Creek Farms, the new project WAHZHAZHI Eco
Park will have nature trails and outdoor classrooms. There will
be areas specifically designed for Elders and be handicapped-accessible.
AmeriCorps members also assist with other projects such as Junior
Nutrition Warriors and the Half-Pint Academy along with other Osage
Nation programs and events. AmeriCorps members are striving to improve
the health of the community.
At the conclusion of the grant announcement, ONCOE Director
Gail Boe took Wendy Spencer on a tour of WAHZHAZHI Eco Park. The
night before, Pawhuska received several inches of rain but Ms. Spencer
was not deterred by the mud and overgrowth, as Director Boe stated
in an email, [Ms. Spencer] used to run the parks
Florida and fell in love with the site.
Nation - AmeriCorps Press Release