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.

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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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Volunteers Restore a Riverbank

Roaring_Fork_from_backyard(photo courtesy of MarcelBeauchamp94 at English Wikipedia) 

by Robert Barossi

Man-made changes to the land sometimes lead to man’s returning to try to change it back. Just outside of Aspen, Colorado, along the Roaring Fork River, volunteers are working to restore the land along the river’s bank to something similar to what it once was. The area, part of the North Star Nature Preserve, was once used for agriculture, which wiped out the plant life along the river. Now mostly barren, a number of organizations, led by the Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, are working to restore the land. Volunteers from near and far came together for the event, which included planting “about 1,200 willow and cottonwood seedlings and clippings along the banks of the Roaring Fork River,” according to the article.

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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Composting Volunteers

Underwater Leaves

(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

Food waste is a huge problem in the United States and across the globe. Some of the facts and figures, all of which are shocking and rather depressing, can be found here and here. In Maine, a number of stakeholders have come together to provide composting services for the community, through the Farmington Compost Cooperative. As this story details, the effort is being spearheaded by University of Maine professors, current and retired, as well as members of the community. The new compost cooperative is open to the public and the people working there are volunteers, including students from the University. Hopefully this kind of project, with cooperation from government, businesses, the University and the public, will be a model for other composting efforts in other parts of the country.

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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International Coastal Cleanup 2015

by Robert Barossi

International Coastal Cleanup Day took place over this past weekend. I’ll let these stories speak for themselves in describing just how many volunteers showed up, how many  miles of coast they cleaned and the incredible amounts of trash they collected.

Here’s a story from Miami.

Another one from Guam.

Two stories about preparations for the event in India and South Africa.

A story about volunteers in Jamaica.

A story about the work of rowers in Virginia.

And back to Florida for a story about mangrove  planting in conjunction with the event.

All of these stories and many more like them demonstrate the success of the Ocean Conservancy’s 30th annual International Coastal Cleanup Day. Much of that success comes from the inspiring and amazing work of volunteers (according to the Conservancy’s website, 560,000 volunteers in 91 countries.)

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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+

Great Ways to Get Involved and Volunteer

Sunset on Lake Michigan(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

I thought I’d start this week off with something a little different. Although every story on this blog includes ideas for how you can get involved in your own area, I don’t often post stories that specifically offer advice for getting involved. This is a great list that I found this morning, with some fantastic ways that anyone can work for the planet, no matter where they live. While you’re there, check out some of the other great stories on One Green Planet.

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 Keeping Wales Beautiful

Through the Trees(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

Short on time this morning but came across this story from Wales and wanted to share it. In the town of Barry, volunteers are working to rebuild and restore an urban garden near a church. Their work will help to keep a patch of green space alive and well in this highly developed seaport. What’s also notable about this story is that the garden project is being funded by a grant from Keep Wales Tidy, a grant which is funded through a partnership with Tesco, a British retail giant (it’s akin to Target in the U.S., judging from their website). These kinds of environmental organization/business partnerships are essential and invaluable as we continue to work towards preserving and protecting our planet. And it’s often volunteers who are the “boots on the ground,” benefiting from the partnerships and the resources they can provide.

If you have enjoyed the stories on this site, download m 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 Protecting Grey Seals

1024px-Grey_seal_animal_halichoerus_grypus(Photo by Amanda Boyd, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

by Robert Barossi

As animals live their lives, migrating, feeding, breeding, etc., they come into frequent, if not constant, contact with us humans. And we are often the ones who have to protect the animals from ourselves. This story out of Horsey Village, in Norfolk County, England, demonstrates how environmental volunteers are working to protect a colony of grey seals along the Horsey coast. As the seals come ashore, up to 500 of them, according to the article, volunteers will work to keep onlookers from interfering with the seals. The volunteer effort, led by Friends of Horsey Seals, will also include educating the public about the seals and the dangers of disturbing their natural and necessary activity on the beach.

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 Birds of Prey

P1000369(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

Two fantastic volunteers stories this morning, both detailing how volunteers are playing an essential role in monitoring and protecting birds of prey.

The first story comes from the east coast, where volunteers in Delaware are counting hawks. Over the fall months, volunteers will take place in a “Hawk Watch,” where they will spend time at monitoring stations, watching and recording the many hawks who fly by as they migrate south. The volunteers have, over the years, observed 18 different hawk species and have collected data which helps local experts “better understand the timing, movement and behavior of these birds as they pass over Delaware,” according to the article.

Three thousand miles away, on the west coast, volunteers in this second story are doing a similar kind of work for another important bird species. As this story from the San Fransisco area details, volunteers are an integral part in the ongoing recovery of the California condor. The volunteers take part in many tracking and monitoring activities related to these birds who have made a comeback but still need more of our help to continue thriving. That help will come largely from environmental volunteers and their efforts.

If you have enjoyed the stories on this site, 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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Telling the Stories of Environmental Volunteers

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