Volunteers Instead of Technology

Up a TreePhoto by Robert Barossi

by Robert Barossi

There are more and more examples around us of humans being replaced by technology. It’s a phenomenon that has been going on for many years and shows no signs of slowing down, especially as our technology becomes even more advanced. Environmental volunteers are not immune to this, they too can in some cases be replaced by machines. Stories on this blog have highlighted the fact that drones and even satellites in space are now being used as tools in the work of environmental volunteers. On the other hand, as this story out of Slate points out, it may be better to stick with human volunteers rather than hi-tech toys. Specifically, the essay discusses counting birds, and even more specifically, the Christmas Bird Count that happens every winter, organized by the Audubon Society. As the author points out, this kind of very human method of data collection may have far more benefits than those which utilize only emotionless computers and algorithms.

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

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Volunteers Cleaning Up in the United Arab Emirates

13-08-06-abu-dhabi-by-RalfR-029Photo by Ralf Roletschek, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

by Robert Barossi

While most of the stories on this blog happen to occur in and around the United States, environmental volunteers are working constantly all over the world. Environmental devastation and crises in every nation are tackled by professionals and volunteers alike. This story out of the United Arab Emirates illustrates the kind of volunteer work that you will find happening on every continent, in every country. Just like parks and beaches everywhere, the ones in Abu Dhabi are often filled with trash and litter. While efforts to get people to stop littering work to some degree, it’s dedicated volunteers who must come by after the picnics are over and the tourists are gone to collect the trash and clean up the litter.

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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Volunteers and the BLM

Digital Camera

Photo by Robert Barossi

by Robert Barossi

The continental United States spans a land mass of over three million square miles. Within all those miles are many acres of open land, the kind of wide open spaces you hear about it country songs and tales of the  wild west. Much of that land is owned and managed by the federal government and it’s the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) which oversees millions of those acres. According to the agency’s website, “It administers more public land – over 245 million surface acres – than any other Federal agency in the United States” and works to “sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.”  As this article from Utah explains, volunteers are an integral part of what the BLM does on the public lands under its protection. The story provides great details on all the great work performed by approximately 750 volunteers who gave 16,736 hours to the BLM in 2015. It’s a great look into the numerous ways volunteers are working for a government agency while working for their local environment and the planet.

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

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Environmental Volunteers in Space?

Through the TreesPhoto by Robert Barossi

by Robert Barossi

Ok, so the volunteers aren’t actually in space. But they are using images taken from space to do important volunteer work that’s having a major impact. As this article from Christian Science Monitor points out, satellite images and aerial photography are being used as an important tool in the work of environmental volunteers. Working along with organizations such as SkyTruth, volunteers can use the images taken from space to identify earth-bound locations that are impacting the local environment, such as fracking well sites.  Images taken from space can be now be an important part of environmental activism and advocacy as well as an essential element of citizen science efforts aimed at collecting environmental data.

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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Fifty Years of Volunteer Work

Through the Treesphoto by Robert Barossi

by Robert Barossi

Many environmental volunteer stories deal with a one-time event or shot term project. Others stories, though, demonstrate how volunteers are often involved with a particular place for a long period of time. In upstate New York, just outside of Syracuse, the Baltimore Woods Nature Center has been connecting local citizens with their natural surroundings for five decades. And, as this story points out, community members and volunteers have been a part of the nature center’s work since the very beginning. Speaking of those volunteers, Executive Director Kate Intaglietta says, “Very few of them, if you ask, really knew each other before they came to Baltimore Woods. What’s inspiring for a lot of us in the work we do is … to see what that’s done for the organization in the past 50 years and to see what they’re excited about for the next 50 years.”

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 at the Film Festival

IMG_0304

Photo by Robert Barossi

by Robert Barossi

After a long holiday-season hiatus, I’m finally posting the first story of the new year. A year which I’m sure will bring many more great stories of environmental volunteers and their inspiring, amazing work. There are countless ways for people to get involved and support environmental causes. This story out of Nevada City, California features volunteers who are doing just that at an environmentally-themed film festival. Along with nature and the environment, film is one of my other great passions and the Wild & Scenic Film Festival sounds like a fantastic event. I wish there were more festivals like this around the country, festivals which get people to connect with nature in new and different ways.  This one also gives people a chance to show their support for the environment by volunteering at the event. If you’re in the area, be sure to check out the festival, and while you’re there, be sure to thank the volunteers for all that they do.

There are more great environmental volunteer stories in 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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