“The first day the fire did get into the canopy right in front of us and jumped our line. The tops of the trees were torching with flames. It was certainly eye-opening to see how powerful a wildfire is and how powerless we are to stop it. My team was on the fire for nine days.”
Two other projects were at a Boys & Girls Club in Farmington, N.M.; and working at Ferncliff Camp just outside of Little Rock, Ark.
Munchel admits, “My favorite project was the one in Howe, but my favorite place was Colorado Springs. There was a lot to do in the Springs and it is just such a beautiful place with the mountains so close.”
On the other hand, she reflects, “A low point would just be getting burnt out on service at some point. It’s an incredible thing to do, but doing it as a full-time gig can be challenging. You have to remind yourself why you do it.”
Now that her stint has ended, Munchel may have more time for her favorite pastimes – running, reading, boating on the lake and, more recently, scuba diving.
True to form, she is being active right now. “After graduation I returned home to Indiana to spend a few days with family. I then caught a bus to Maine with a friend who was on my team in AmeriCorps, and we began hiking the Appalachian Trail Aug. 3 with hopes of reaching Georgia by Christmas. We have hiked 256 miles as of this morning,” she said Aug. 23. “Maine is beautiful, but we’ll soon be in the rocky state of New Hampshire.”
Munchel graduated from Indiana University in May 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. In the future, “I would like to do something along the lines of environmental science or marine biology.”