After the Volunteers Test the Waters

IMG_0214(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

My last post offered a number of stories about volunteer efforts to clean up local rivers. Volunteers are also often the people who collect water samples from those rivers for local experts to test. There are many reasons why this is important and essential work, as detailed in this story from South Carolina. That state was recently hit with a devastating and deadly flood event. When the waters from flooding recede, they are often, if not always, filled with greater levels of bacteria, pollution and chemicals. Volunteers like the ones in the story linked above are often tasked with collecting samples of those degraded waters so that scientists can find out just how polluted or unsafe the water might be. This effort in South Carolina was led by Waccamaw Riverkeeper and their volunteers, along with volunteers from Coastal Carolina University’s Waccamaw Watershed Academy.

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A Roundup of Volunteer River Cleanups

IMG_1096(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

One of the most common ways for volunteers to get involved in their local environment is through river cleanups. Local rivers are often in dire need of help and dedicated volunteers are there to answer the call. They are often on and in their local river all year long and in all kinds of weather. And it’s the kind of volunteer story I like to highlight on here from time to time. Here are just a few recent ones:

A “Source to Sea” cleanup effort recently took place along the Connecticut River, in locations from its source near Canada all the way to the Long Island Sound.

The annual Rivers Alive cleanup recently took place along bodies of water in the Athens, Georgia area.

Volunteers have been working to clean the Bakulahi River in India.

With similar cleanups happening in Florida and Wyoming.

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 links.

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Volunteers and Coral Bleaching

P1000689

(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

On the radio this morning, there was a discussion about the massive coral bleaching event currently taking place around the world. Coral bleaching is caused when environmental conditions, such as water temperature and acidity, cause coral reefs to become stressed. The stress causes the coral to release a symbiotic algae which is what gives them their color and provides nutrients, a loss which causes the coral to become weakened.  If this leads to major coral reef deaths, it can and will seriously impact the ecosystem of our oceans and the other species who live in and among the coral reefs. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explains it here and there are news stories from the BBC and Washington Post detailing the worldwide coral crisis. How does this relate to environmental volunteers, you ask? It’s volunteers who are now working to monitor coral reefs in their area, watching carefully for bleaching among their local reefs. This story out of Hawaii discusses a volunteer event aimed at training people to monitor coral reefs and report to the Eyes of The Reef Network. Here’s another story and one more about the event, which is being called Bleachapalooza. Very similar events will likely be needed around the world as coral bleaching continues and worsens.

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. Available at the following links.

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Volunteer Rangers

P1010138(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

In some of this country’s enormous wilderness areas, it’s volunteers who often keep an eye on things. Monitoring activities by visitors while acting as the eyes and ears of the larger organizations and agencies who own/manage the land, volunteers are an invaluable resource.  This great story out of Colorado details how a group of dedicated and passionate volunteers have been doing this kind of work for ten years now. Since 1994, Friends of the Eagles Nest Wilderness have been assisting the U.S. Forest Service through its volunteer ranger program. The volunteer rangers spend time during the summer months hiking into the wilderness. Among other things, they “count people, track group sizes, note weather, collect trash and focus on education instead of law-breaking,” according to the article. The volunteer rangers log thousands of hours spent in the wilderness, doing whatever they can to help protect and preserve this pristine area.

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. Available at the following links.

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