Volunteers Working with Rangers

Through the Trees

by Robert Barossi

I found out this morning that today is World Ranger Day. Along with environmental volunteers, Park Rangers are on the front lines of conservation efforts around the world. Rangers do a wide variety of jobs, including many tasks which are directly related to environmental protection and preservation. They are often, if not always, the ones who train and lead the volunteers who work alongside them.

There are numerous examples of volunteers and rangers working together. Here are just a few of them that popped up this morning: In Wyoming, both volunteers and rangers work to keep people using the parks safe. In Tennessee, volunteers are working alongside rangers to remove invasive species. The same kind of work is happening in Great Britain. A volunteer in this story from North Carolina notes that the volunteers support and assist the rangers by doing “necessary work that the park rangers don’t have time to accomplish.” And on the Delaware River, rangers and volunteers worked side-by-side to clean up the river during a large annual cleanup event.

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Summertime Volunteer Trail Work

48_16(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

Summer is prime time for environmental organizations and agencies to work on maintaining wilderness trails. Warmer and drier weather gives them a chance to improve existing trails for walking, hiking and biking, and to build new ones. It’s often volunteers who do most, if not all, of this work. Today, a few stories of volunteer trail work:

Truckee Trails Foundation is hosting work days where volunteers are getting out and working on a number of local trails in the Lake Tahoe area.

In Boise, the Idaho Trails Association is leading crews of volunteers into the forest to clear trails of fallen trees and other debris.

And in western Pennsylvania, a number of different organization are involved in the maintenance of hundreds of miles of trails, with the help of many dedicated volunteers who put in thousands of hours of work.  “If it wasn’t for volunteers, there wouldn’t be a trail system,” says Chris Ziegler, president of the Butler-Freeport Community Trail Council, who is quoted in the article. “Every time a tree is down, it’s a volunteer that goes out and takes care of it.”

That is no doubt true of all of these trail systems and thousands more like them all over the world.

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Volunteers Help People Pack it Out

P1000405(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

Finally back at the blog after a vacation in New  York City and then a few days of recovering from vacation in New York City. A great story this morning from far south of there, Brevard County, Florida. A group called Keep Brevard Beautiful is holding a number of events this summer, all aimed at living up to their name, keeping Brevard’s beaches protected and preserved. Their most recent event implored visitors to those beaches to “pick it up, pack it out.” This was a great event which saw volunteers handing out biodegradable bags to beach visitors. Doing this eliminates one reason why trash so often gets left behind on beaches (“I didn’t have anything to put the trash in”). Hopefully, it led to lots of people picking up and packing out their trash and also gave them the inspiration and motivation to keep doing so in the future.

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Volunteering for Coral Reefs

P1000689(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

There are some mixed and unconfirmed reports this morning about a possible oil spill in the Great Barrier Reef. Hopefully, it won’t turn out to be a major spill that’s devastating to the Reef. Coral reefs are just one of the many types of fragile ecosystems that need so much protection and preservation, especially in our overdeveloped and continuously developing, and changing, world. So, this morning, a few stories about how some people are volunteering to help out reefs in their area. In Australia, a group called UniDive has won the 2015 Healthy Waterways award for their work as citizen scientists. In over 500 dives, the divers collected large amounts of invaluable data on the local reefs and their diverse ecosystems. In the Caymans, a filmmaker has volunteered his time to make a documentary film about a threatened local reef. The film may go a long way toward educating people about a reef in the area where a cruise ship berthing facility is proposed.  And in Florida, wounded and disabled veterans are helping to restore coral along the coast. The veterans are working with the organization Diveheart and Nova Southeastern University to rehabilitate and restore coral heavily damaged by many factors, including pollution and boats.

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Environmental Volunteers in the Philippines

1024px-Boracay_Sailing_Paraw(Photo by Anthony Alger, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

by Robert Barossi

For the second day in a row, an unexpected theme jumped out at me when I searched for environmental volunteer stories. This time – the Philippines. It got me thinking that I really need to post more international stories on here. So, let’s start today. The first story is a great article about 4,000 volunteers cleaning up beaches in the Dumanquillas Bay Protected Landscape and Seascape. The amazing event was part of a celebration of Coral Triangle Day and involved six coastal municipalities. I’ve posted many stories on this blog about beach cleanups and this  is a great one due to the sheer numbers involved. It also demonstrates something I’ve tried to emphasize in the past, that these kinds of volunteer efforts do happen all the time, all over the world. The second article implores people to get involved in environmental volunteer efforts and offers six organizations to get involved with. While it is specific to the Philippines, it offers some great insight and advice that potential volunteers can use no matter where they live.

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Volunteers and Butterflies

IMG_2139(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

The unexpected theme of today’s environmental volunteer story search is butterflies. The first story comes out of New Jersey, at the Howell Living History Farm, where volunteers are counting butterflies. Like the bird watchers in my previous post, these volunteers will help collect data on all the butterfly species in the area and how healthy those populations are. Not too far away, in Maryland, volunteers will be part of creating and maintaining a newly protected area of land. One of the major goals of this effort is protecting and preserving the state insect, the Baltimore checkerspot butterfly.  The Susquehannock Wildlife Society and the Maryland DNR are working together to create the protected area where the butterfly can hopefully establish itself and thrive. Here’s a link to a page where you can check out a  photo of your own state insect.

If you have 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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Volunteer Bird Watching

 ID-1002833Image courtesy of James Barker at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

by Robert Barossi

Sitting at my computer, looking out the window behind my desk, I couldn’t help but notice a robin bouncing around on the grass in my backyard. I watched him for a few moments as he puttered around and then took off, flying to a nearby tree at the edge of the woods. I decided that must be a sign that it’s time to post a bird-related volunteer story. This one, out of Missouri, was one of the first that I came across and one that I instantly liked. I liked it because it’s got some great photos of both birds and environmental volunteers working hard while enjoying something their passionate about: bird watching. The husband and wife team, Brad and Suzanne Wright, are Boone’s Lick Master Naturalists as volunteers for the Missouri Department of Conservation and are shown in the story doing some bird counting at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area.

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Volunteers, Beavers and Goats

ID-100174934Image courtesy of ponsulak at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

by Robert Barossi

An environmental volunteer, a beaver and a goat walk into a bar…Ok, it’s not really the beginning of a joke. It’s actually the beginning of an environmental volunteer story out of Oregon featuring volunteers and goats working to help the local beaver population. When invasive species started taking over the beaver’s home, a local environmental organization brought in goats to deal with the problem. The group, Beaver Environmental Advocacy Volunteers (B.E.A.V.), rented 34 goats, who have been efficiently removing the unwanted plants. Once the goats’ work is done, the humans will continue to do whatever they can to help keep the beavers healthy and thriving. The young organization is a great example of how volunteers can  work together (and with other species, like goats) to figure out ways to coexist with wildlife, rather than trying to simply remove it.

If you have enjoyed any of 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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Volunteers Getting a Workout

Through the Trees(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

Volunteering in the outdoors is often demanding and physical work. It’s yet another benefit to doing this kind of work, that people not only get to be in the great outdoors, surrounding by nature, but they also get something of a workout, potentially helping their overall physical fitness. This story out of East London describes how one organization is taking this idea and…if you’ll excuse the pun…running with it. Nature Conservation Lewisham is encouraging local people to volunteer in a program called Nature’s Gym. The program aims to “improve your fitness by taking part in  conservation activities in nature reserves and parks in Lewisham.” It’s a great idea that other organizations may want to try, to give local residents another motivation to get out and volunteer for the environment.

If you’ve enjoyed any of 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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Volunteers Clean Up Debris Along the Coast

373(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

We’re into the heart of summer now, with the calendar turning to July and the days heating up. There are always lots of things to celebrate this time of year, from graduations to weddings, and the gorgeous weather usually means the party will be held outside. The outdoor festivities frequently include balloons, which are  often released into the air and allowed to fly off into the distance with no way of telling where they’ll eventually fall back to the ground. A story out of Georgia demonstrates how one group of environmental volunteers are dealing with this particular environmental problem. These volunteers aren’t just picking up litter, including fallen balloons, they are encouraging the local community to find alternatives which will prevent more balloons from ending up on coastal beaches. The effort is led by the volunteer-run organization Keep Brunswick – Golden Isles Beautiful.

If you’ve enjoyed any of 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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