Category Archives: California

High School Volunteers Clean Up Oil Spill

367(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

For this week’s second story, let’s stick with the theme of young environmental volunteers. Yesterday it was teens in Virginia involved in a myriad of important environmental projects. Today, let’s go all the way across the country to the coast of California, where a major oil spill recently hit the Santa Barbara area.

In this great story, three students from Santa Clarita Valley High School took action and got involved in the cleanup efforts. According to the article, they “took their two shovels, big plastic bags, masks, Home Depot buckets and gloves and went to work scooping up 70 gallons of oil off of the beach over the course of two days.” It’s another inspiring story that makes one feel optimistic about the environmental volunteers and leaders of tomorrow.

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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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.

For more environmental volunteer stories, download my eBook: Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day

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Volunteers Building Trails

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(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

This story isn’t so much about one particular volunteer or group of volunteers. Instead, it highlights one of the most important activities that environmental volunteers take part in: trail building. The focus here is on a redwood forest near the city of Arcata in northern California, tucked in along the coast and not far from the redwood-filled national forests that dot the landscape of that part of  The Golden State. Volunteers are playing an essential and vital role in the building and maintenance of trails in the Arcata Community Forest as well a newly designated community forest, the McKay Community Forest, which is in nearby Eureka. In that new community forest, volunteers will be helping to build new trials, with a planned opening for public use some time early this year. Here in the frozen northeast, volunteers will be just as busy, as the snow and ice begin to thaw and they head back out into the local forests to repair and maintain our area’s trails. It’s the same kind of dedicated work performed by environmental volunteers year round, around the globe.

If you have enjoyed any of 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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No Drought for Volunteers

P1000133(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

Cleaning up waterways is one of the most important and most frequent tasks performed by environmental volunteers. Wherever there’s a lake, river, pond or shoreline, there is likely going to be trash and debris strewn about. And it’s often volunteers who pick up all that stuff, often working with a local environmental organization that plans and executes cleanup efforts. This story out of California deals with a river cleanup but has a bit of a unique twist. Because of the severe, prolonged drought in that state, some rivers have dried up to the point where there is very little to no water left. This has given volunteers, like the ones in this story, the opportunity to get to the bottom of the river, to places they wouldn’t be able to reach if it was filled with water. Led by the organization known as Coastal Habitat Education and Environmental Restoration, these volunteers cleared out “five boats, two pickup trucks, two cars, an outboard motor, more than 1,000 tires and tons of trash.” As the article also points out, perhaps this is one small silver lining to be found in the drought. If these rivers ever get back to their full volume again, they will be a lot cleaner and have a lot less debris, thanks in part to the work of volunteers.

If you have enjoyed any of 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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Volunteers Help Land Recover After Wildfires

Up a Tree(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

According to the USDA, the Station Fire in August of 2009 was, “the largest fire in Los Angeles County’s recorded history, burning a total of 161,189 acres – or nearly 252 square miles.” All these years later, the recovery effort is still ongoing and volunteers are right in the middle of it. This story out of the San Gabriel Mountains focuses on the important work volunteers are doing around the area of Big Tujunga Creek and Canyon. One of the major ramifications of the wildfire was that it opened the door for a takeover by invasive species. These invaders have moved in and caused serious problems, including the fact that they drain so much precious water from the land. One major aspect of the volunteers’ work is the removal of these water-draining invasive species, a much-needed effort  when California is dealing with severe drought.  Volunteers are also rebuilding or moving trails that were damaged in the fire and collecting acorns which will be grown into trees and replanted in the area to replace some of those which were lost in the fire. As the climate changes, wildfires may become more frequent and more destructive. If that happens, this kind of volunteer work may unfortunately become more and more necessary and common.

Click here for more information on Big Tujunga and its importance to the Los Angeles area.

If you’ve enjoyed any of the stories on this blog, please consider downloading my eBook, Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact their Community and the Planet Every Day:

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