Volunteers Create Butterfly Habitat

IMG_2141(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

In another story about a disappearing species, monarch butterfly populations have been seriously declining in recent years. Due to a number of reasons, many of them human-related, the milkweed plants where monarchs lay their eggs are vanishing from the landscape. As this environmental volunteer story out of New Jersey points out, if there’s no milkweed, there are no monarchs. Thanks to the volunteers in the story, milkweed is being planted in a small area near the New Jersey Botanical Garden. As the event proves, anyone can make their own backyard monarch-friendly by doing the same thing, planting milkweed wherever they are, as long as it’s a place where the plant will grow and thrive. If it does, it will provide an essential place for monarchs to breed, adding another small but important step in the attempts to keep this beautiful butterfly species alive.

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Volunteers and a Chain of Lakes

Underwater Leaves(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

The previous post was a story about a small city and how its residents are trying to maintain green space in their area. Today, a story about keeping nature green in another metropolitan area, this time one of the largest in the country. Near Chicago, just to the northwest, the Chain of Lakes is a series of fifteen interconnected lakes, primarily connected by the Fox River. As this story out of that city describes, environmental volunteers took part in a major cleanup effort, aimed at cleaning and greening the entire waterway. The Fox River Chain O’ Lakes Waterway Cleanup included volunteers working at a number of different locations around the lakes, filling numerous large dumpsters with trash and pulling out of the water everything from hypodermic needles to a kitchen stove. The effort was led by the Fox Waterway Agency, now in its fourteenth year of hosting the annual event.

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Volunteers Build an Urban Forest

Up a Tree(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

Lots of environmental volunteer stories involve heading out into the wilderness, deep into woods and forests, to conduct volunteer work. Just as important, though, are the efforts that take place in our cities. Environmental volunteer work is happening in numerous urban centers, from major metropolitan areas to the smallest of cities. On the gulf coast of Mississippi, in the city of Pascagoula, volunteers have been working to create what they’re hoping will be an urban forest. Work on the one acre plot of land includes removing invasive species and planting native trees, among other projects. They are hoping to make I.G. Levy park even more of a green space and attract more birds and wildlife to the area, as well as more tourists and nature lovers. In industrialized and urbanized places like this, nature is often nearly wiped out. It’s usually up to volunteers to keep these pockets of wild, green spaces, and the nature that thrives there, alive and well.

If you’ve enjoyed the stories on this blog, download my eBook, Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet

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Ocean State Volunteers Clear Tons of Trash

IMG_1383(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

There’s an old joke that includes the line, “Rhode Island is neither a road nor an island…” While that may be true, the smallest state does, in fact, have an awful lot of coastline, over 400 miles, according to the state’s government, if you include all the bays, coves and islands close to the coast. That makes for an awful lot of land where ocean debris and trash can wash up on shore. Recently, though, environmental volunteers have been making a huge effort to clean up the state’s beaches and coastal areas. This includes more than three tons of trash cleaned up by volunteers of Save the Bay, one of the state’s most prominent environmental organizations. That’s just one of the amazing efforts mentioned in the article linked above. In each volunteer event, local citizens cleaned up hundreds or thousands of pounds of trash, working together to protect and preserve the natural environment along all those miles of coastline.

If you’ve enjoyed the stories on this blog, download my eBook, Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day

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Can Volunteers Reduce Roadkill?

Digital Camera(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

Not long ago, I posted a story about volunteers helping toads make it across a busy road, in an effort to prevent the toads from being killed during the crossing. This morning, a similar story out of California, where volunteers are helping to create an enormous database of roadkill sites. According to the article, the California Roadkill Observation System is the largest database of its kind in the country. By collecting this data about where roadkill incidents are happening, these citizen scientists are helping both wildlife advocates and highway  planners. With this information, there will hopefully be more attention paid to where and how animals migrate, where the highways are already causing major problems and how future highways and animal crossings can be designed to reduce wildlife deaths.

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Volunteers Helping to Predict Tree Diseases

Up a Tree(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

This morning, I came across this great environmental volunteer story out of University of California, Berkeley. A study just published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment offers more support for the efforts of volunteers as citizen scientists, even concluding, in part, that “using long-term citizen-science data to predict the risk of emerging infectious plant diseases in urban ecosystems holds substantial promise. ” The study reveals just how successful volunteers have been at predicting sudden oak death (SOD), a disease that has killed numerous trees in California. Data from the volunteers was gathered during an event called the SOD Blitz, during which, ““The data we got…resulted in the formulation of the best predictive model yet about the spread of sudden oak death in California. Additionally, we were able to identify new infestations and identify trees that needed to be removed,” according to one of the study’s authors. The SOD Blitzes have become a massive project which take place every year and are, according to UC Berkeley,  “part of the largest citizen science effort in the country.”

 

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