Lydia Noyes is a 2015 graduate of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with degrees in environmental studies and international development. In August, she and her husband, Ian, moved to the Big Laurel Learning Center in Kermit, West Virginia, and have committed to at least a year of service through the Notre Dame Mission Volunteer Americorps program. There, they split their time by aiding in the local schools and helping to manage Big Laurel with Sr. Kathy O'Hagan and Sr. Gretchen Shaffer. Duties include hosting service groups throughout the year, striving to make the beautiful property more environmentally sustainable, and helping to run summer camps at the on-site ecology center. For more information about the work they do, follow Lydia's personal blog at

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Looking back, moving forward

Notes from the Field - The next few weeks will be an important time for my husband and I as we discern what our relationship to Big Laurel Learning Center will be six months from now.

A not-so-slow January brings new connections

Notes from the Field - At Big Laurel Learning Center, the month of January is typically a very slow month, but almost without our notice, it began to fill up with visits and connections, both people visiting us and us visiting others.

Home for the holidays: Leaving the 'field' of a yearlong service project for the first time

Notes from the Field - The novelty of our service has worn off, and the work involved to make lasting changes in the greater community we are living in has been overwhelming and frustrating. Put simply, we are experiencing burnout.

Water concerns bubble up in Appalachia

Notes from the Field - I consider myself relatively informed about the humanitarian crises happening throughout the world thanks to my college education but the Catholic Committee of Appalachia meeting blew apart my confidence that I could even understand the environmental tragedies in my own backyard.