Volunteer Shell Game

Cliff Walk Tree(photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

There are a number of great things happening in this story out of Newport, Rhode Island (which happens to also be one of my favorite places). In that city by the sea, there’s an ongoing effort led by the Nature Conservancy to restore oyster beds in coastal ponds and estuaries. All by itself, that’s a fantastic thing, as it will go a long way towards improving and restoring those fragile and important ecosystems. Also great is that the effort involves a number of local businesses, restaurants who are donating oyster shells to the Conservancy. This group of restaurants is donating thousands of pounds of used oyster shells which the Conservancy, along with its volunteers, will return to the shoreline. It’s another exciting example of environmental organizations, volunteers and area businesses working together to preserve and protect the local natural habitat.

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Volunteers Track Down the Trash

P1000689(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

Well, this may have been the longest hiatus I’ve taken from the blog since it started a few years ago. With crazy the summer finally winding down, I’ll be back here more frequently, posting more stories of environmental volunteers. Today’s story didn’t take much searching to find and it deals with one of the biggest threats facing our oceans. Known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, this enormous area of litter and trash, some say larger than Texas, has become a major focus for many scientists and environmentalists. This article from National Geographic does a great job of detailing exactly what the Patch is, where it is and why it’s there. Recently, a group of volunteers took part in an expedition to map the Garbage Patch and find out just what kinds of trash, plastics and debris are in there. According to this article from the Associated Press, these citizen scientists, on 30 boats, measured the size and mapped the location of “tons of plastic waste.” This volunteer effort will go into a report by The Ocean Cleanup, an organization that hopes to develop technology in the next few years that will reduce or eliminate this enormous mass of trash that’s polluting our oceans.

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. Download it at the following links:

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Volunteers and Snapping Turtles

1024px-Common_Snapping_Turtle_Close_Up(Photo by Dakota L., Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

by Robert Barossi

As many stories on this blog have demonstrated, environmental volunteers are often citizen scientists. They collect the data that professional scientists will use for a variety of experiments, tests and research. In Connecticut, volunteers are collecting samples from snapping turtles, samples which are part of a number of research projects. The information obtained from this research will do more than reveal the health of the turtles. It will also reveal the health of the ecosystem as a whole and the health of the humans who sometimes eat the turtles. Volunteers will be an important part of collecting the samples  that researchers at Mystic Aquarium will turn into invaluable data.

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. Available at the following links:

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Volunteers Keep the Invasives Out

IMG_0214(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

People have already started to say that “summer is almost over,” but I’m not ready to go there just yet. It’s still the middle of summer in my mind, the perfect time to be having summer adventures and vacations. One of the most popular activities during the summer is taking the boat out to the local lakes and rivers. When people take their boats far from home, to more distant bodies of water, this can become a serious problem. Invasive species can hitch a ride on those boats and travel with them to other lakes and rivers, finding new¬† homes there. When they do, they can disrupt and even take over ecosystems, with potentially disastrous results. To prevent this from happening, many boat launches host volunteers who work to remove invasive species before the boats hit the water. This story out of Michigan is just one example of how volunteers are working to keep invasive species off the boats and out of the water. There are numerous programs like this, from the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program in Wisconsin to the GREAT Boaters Program in Rhode Island. All of these efforts, with volunteers at the forefront, go a long way towards reducing the potential for serious ecological problems caused by invasive species.

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. Available at the following retailers:

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