Category Archives: environmental volulnteers

Environmental Volunteers Build Bridges

IMG_0865Photo by Robert Barossi

by Robert Barossi

That headline certainly has a literal and figurative meaning. On one hand, volunteers build bridges between environmental organizations and the surrounding communities. People often, if not always, get to know organizations through meeting and speaking with volunteers. One the other hand, volunteers are sometimes tasked with building literal bridges, like the one volunteers are considering along the Illinois River Trail in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area in Oregon. There are actually around one hundred bridges in need of repair in the area and the Siskiyou Mountain Club is leading the effort to give some attention and care to the worst of them. Check out the full article for more information on just how the group plans to achieve this impressive and important goal.

Check out many more environmental volunteer stories in my eBook, Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day

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Volunteers See the Forest for the Trees

IMG_1108Photo by Robert Barossi

by Robert Barossi

A little searching this morning revealed a number of forest-related volunteer stories. Tree planting and forest protection are among the most common, and most important, environmental volunteer tasks. And its happening everywhere.

In Washington, numerous volunteers, including Friends of North Creek Forest and students from University of Washington, have gathered to restore the North Creek Forest.

In Encinitas, near San Diego, community volunteers planted a “Food Forest” of fauna which will provide food for the surrounding community.

On the other side of the country, in Lafayette, Louisiana, volunteers are planting a similar forest of fruit trees at Acadiana Park Nature Station.

Finally, back in the other direction, even farther away, volunteers are planting trees in Hawaii to rebuild a forest area destroyed by fire.

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

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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 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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Environmental Volunteers Coast to Coast

Foliage Reflected

by Robert Barossi

This morning, I noticed three environmental stories that just happened to perfectly span the United States, proving once again that volunteers are working on important environmental projects from sea to shining sea.

On the east coast, in Hackensack, New Jersey, over one hundred volunteers took part in an annual event to clean up litter in open spaces around the city.

Right in the middle, in Champaign, Illinois, volunteers are working to make the city greener with a focus on recycling and litter reduction.

And on the west coast, in Sacramento, California, almost 200 volunteers picked up over 20,000 pounds of trash.

These are the kinds of inspiring environmental volunteer stories you’ll find on this blog and in 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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Volunteers and Drones

367(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

This volunteer story jumped out at me immediately this morning. The topic of drones and their use, whether military, commercial or personal, is a hotly debated one these days. Drones have become one of the primary means through which the U.S. military does its job. And corporations like  Amazon are trying to use them to revolutionize the way they do business. There are countless other ways drones can be used, including humanitarian efforts. In Great Britain, both drones and volunteers are being used to survey and study the impacts of sea level change and coastal erosion. Working together, drones and volunteers will gather information and data that will indicate how the changing sea is impacting the coast and important historical sites along the shore.  There are many other potential uses for this kind of drone/volunteer work related to the environment, such as surveying populations of endangered species or finding areas of pollution in bodies of water. While using drones is highly controversial, it can have both positive and negative impacts and is an issue that likely won’t be settled any time soon.

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. Available at the following links:

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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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