Maura Hanley Joins the Alliance as the New AmeriCorps VISTA Member!

Maura Hanley

The Ice Age Trail Alliance is pleased to welcome Maura Hanley as the newest addition to the Alliance marketing and communications team! Maura is joining the Alliance as an AmeriCorps VISTA member through Conservation Legacy’s Stewards Individual Placement Program.

Maura and her dog during a winter hike on the Trail.
Maura and her dog during a winter hike on the Trail.

Hi everyone!

My name is Maura Hanley, and I’m the new AmeriCorps VISTA Communications Support Specialist. I’m excited and honored to be part of the Ice Age Trail Alliance family. As I’m writing this, it’s my third day on the job, but I already feel at home. Of course, it helps that Gandalf-the-office-dog regularly comes into my office and begs me for treats. He’s definitely a perk of the job!

I graduated from Beloit College in May 2022, where I majored in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Justice and minored in Religious Studies and History. My academic pursuits focused on researching the decolonization of outdoor spaces. Specifically, the usage of outdoor recreational spaces that have historical and cultural significance to Indigenous peoples and the need to include them in managing these areas. I look forward to bringing an environmental justice perspective to my work at the Alliance!

I’m originally from the Milwaukee area. And I grew up hiking local Ice Age Trail segments with my family and my dog – she might be the Trail’s biggest fan. My favorite is the Holy Hill Segment. I love its diverse terrain: one minute, I’m hiking by kettles, over moraines, then a prairie, and then into a dense pine forest. I have a lot of fond memories of being home on break from school and going hiking with my family on the Trail.

During COVID, my dad and older brother participated in the Mammoth Hike Challenge, putting the Alliance on my radar and introducing me to its mission and vision. Then, while searching for jobs, a professor told me about the AmeriCorps VISTA position with the Alliance. It was the first position I felt genuinely excited applying for.

I’m interested in how the concept of “ecotourism” can bring awareness to different Trail segments, chapters’ efforts to create and maintain the Trail, and engage and highlight local businesses. I’m excited to serve with a non-profit organization that showcases Wisconsin’s unique glacial landscapes, while helping people create a deeper and more meaningful connection to the land.

I feel privileged to be a part of this organization. I hope to meet many of you during my year with the Alliance!

Maura and her dad hiking the Holy Hill Segment as a winter sunset approaches.
Maura and her dad hiking the Holy Hill Segment as a winter sunset approaches.

As the AmeriCorps VISTA Communications Support Specialist at the Ice Age Trail Alliance, Maura will work in tandem with the Alliance marketing and communications team and assist with the following tasks:

  • Identify opportunities for tourism along the Ice Age Trail in remote areas of the state, creating itineraries to highlight recreational opportunities and local businesses.
  • Create a plan to promote the beauty and charm of northern Trail segments, driving awareness and tourism dollars to economically depressed counties.
  • Promote the work and activities of the Ice Age Trail Alliance – trailbuilding projects, outreach events, membership drives, land protection, corporate partnerships, and fundraising initiatives – via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter by applying best practices (persuasive copy and thoughtful design).
  • Boost the Alliance’s presence on TikTok to engage the next generation of volunteers and raise awareness of the Trail.
  • Create monthly blog articles, generating content related to hiking, volunteer profiles, etc.

We look forward to working with Maura to conserve, create, maintain, and promote the Ice Age Trail this year.

Welcome to the Ice Age Trail Alliance, Maura!

About AmeriCorps VISTA

The mission of AmeriCorps is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. Since 1965, over 220,000 AmeriCorps members in the VISTA program have joined the fight against poverty by helping local organizations expand their capacity to make change. The VISTA program serves in each of the 50 U.S. states and in all U.S. territories.

AmeriCorps VISTA Logo

Through capacity building activities such as fundraising, grant writing, research, and volunteer recruitment AmeriCorps members in the VISTA program serve in an office setting and gain experience and leadership skills. This opportunity prepares members for a life of service in the public, private, or nonprofit sector. Learn more here.

Stewards Individual Placement Program Logo

About Stewards Individual Placement Program

Stewards Individual Placement Program is a program of Conservation Legacy that places individuals across the nation in projects that build capacity, improve access to natural resources, develop and support innovative solutions, develop opportunities for service and economic development, and empower leaders.

Stewards AmeriCorps VISTA Members serve with nonprofits, local governments and federal agencies. Stewards AmeriCorps VISTA Members commit to serving for one year — earning a living allowance of 110% of the poverty wages in the community they serve. These dedicated individuals focus on nonprofit leadership development by building capacity through grant writing and partnership development, conduct outreach and education, promote economic development and foster environmental stewardship. Learn more here.