By Elise Dilday
A narrow pedestrian bridge stretches across Interstate 40, breaking up the monotony of green exit signs and asphalt.
This bridge, part of the American Tobacco Trail that extends throughout the Triangle, is also part of the larger East Coast Greenway, a 2,900-mile greenway system stretching from Maine to Florida. Carolyn Ebeling ‘17 is currently completing an APPLES summer internship with the nonprofit organization that oversees the maintenance of this greenway, the East Coast Greenway Alliance (ECGA).
Ebeling was first introduced to APPLES when she enrolled in a public relations service-learning course. With a background in women’s studies, Ebeling did not go into her summer internship with extensive knowledge of greenways. She had never heard of the ECGA before applying, but once she did, it quickly became her first choice.
“I wanted to know more about their goal and how they planned to achieve it,” Ebeling said.
Ebeling’s work includes managing the Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts for the Alliance, where she posts about ECGA events. This summer the Alliance is partnering with two youth cycling groups – Triangle Bicycle Works and BRAG (Bike Ride Across Georgia) – that are embarking July 11 on a bicycle tour of the Gullah Geechee Historic Corridor that extends along the coast of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
“The ride is about 770 miles and will take two weeks, and we are doing a lot of press and preparing for that,” Ebeling said.
She also shared that her prior communications experience helps her in this internship. “I feel that communications is one aspect that really allows people to connect with the trail and understand everything that goes into creating a 2,900 mile off-road trail.
“I feel like I am helping the Alliance get its message and vision out to people who may not know about it otherwise.”
Ebeling is interested in pursuing work in the nonprofit sector after graduation. Although she has been most interested in working with a women’s center or rape crisis center in the future, she is now considering working for an environmental nonprofit after her experience this summer.
“I really like the close-knit environment and passion that everyone has for their work,” she said.
Community partners interested in hosting an intern can apply through the APPLES Service-Learning program. Students can apply for spring and summer internships in the fall semester. To learn more about APPLES internships, visit APPLES online.