Tag Archives: eco-volunteer

Crowdsourcing for Invasive Species

ID-1005975Photo by Liz Noffsinger, Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Robert Barossi

This is one of the most exciting and fascinating volunteer stories I’ve come across recently. I had never even heard of eco-crowdsourcing until now, but in this day and age, modern technology being what it is, it makes perfect sense. As this story details, there is a project underway in Hawaii that allows volunteers to use an online crowdsourcing platform to pinpoint invasive species. By pouring over images taken from above, these volunteers are able to tag locations where invasive species are occurring, which gives organizations like The Nature Conservancy an exact location to focus their efforts. The work of these volunteers amounts to “20% of the users do 80% of the work, spending hours on the platform, scouring images for the invasive plants,” according to the article. There is exciting potential in this kind of crowdsourcing, from mapping invasive species to helping protect endangered species, and it’s clear evidence that not only can today’s technology help achieve environmental goals, it can and must be an essential and integral aspect of achieving those goals.

The page specifically for the initiative in Hawaii, called “The Hawaii Challenge,” can be found here, at Tomnod

For the Bird

ID-1002937Photo by Tom Curtis, provided by FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Robert Barossi

Ok, I admit it, I’m partial to birds of prey. I’ve always had a fascination with hawks, falcons, osprey and the like. So I just had to take a closer look at this great volunteer story out of Syracuse, NY. Volunteers are working as part of a “fledge watch” group, monitoring a baby peregrine falcon, to make sure it survives and thrives. The article, from Syracuse.com also has a link to a camera that monitors the bird constantly as well as a link to the Facebook page dedicated to the Syracuse peregrine.

The efforts to protect the peregrines are being led by the New  York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

And you can look here to learn more about peregrines in general.

Volunteers and The Deep Blue Sea

IMG_0632(Photo by Robert Barossi)

By Robert Barossi

It’s no secret that there is a lot of trash floating around in the ocean. It’s now common to hear stories and see photos of floating islands of trash, occupying vast stretches of the ocean. There’s also plenty of trash that is winding up on beaches, shores and coastlines all over the world. This post from the Southtown Star in Chicago notes that “For example, during Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup last year, volunteers around the world picked up 10 million pounds of debris in one day.” Whether it’s on one day or all 365 days out of the year, coastal cleanups are a massive, worldwide undertaking. And it’s volunteers who are doing much of the work to pick up all that trash.


From this story out of Tasmania to this one from the coast of Britain.


And on beaches from Nova Scotia to Texas.





Volunteering on Earth Day and All Year Round

IMG_0205(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

As we end March and begin April, Earth Day is fast approaching. The observance of Earth Day on April 22nd has been an important opportunity to celebrate the planet since the event first began back in 1970. Every year, volunteers are an essential part of Earth Day activities, with volunteers often taking an leading and inspiring role in numerous ways. This article from Atlanta INtown demonstrates how these activities and events take place all month long, not just on the 22nd. And at the vast majority of them, volunteers play a major role.

It’s not too early to start planning your own Earth Day activities. Here are a few helpful sites: Earth Day Network  and the U.S. EPA’s Earth Day Page

Environmental Volunteers from the Armed Services


(Photo by Robert Barossi)

By Robert Barossi

Today, a great story out of Marine Corps Base Quantico. Under the guidance of the Natural Resources Branch, 80 to 100 people volunteer on a number of conservation projects, from trapping turkeys for banding to posting signs and fixing bridges. Many of these volunteers are retired military personnel, including retired colonels. This article provides an example of how the military gets involved in environmental conservation and how volunteering for the environment is a rewarding and exciting activity for retired people from all walks of life. Check out the full story here.

Following the Parade

Rocks in Still Water(Photo by Robert Barossi)

Let’s face it, parades, while they are lots of fun, are often not environmentally friendly. Lots of trash and debris from all of those spectators ends up strewn everywhere, littering the streets and sidewalks. Much of it does get picked up and finds its way to landfills. Some of it takes the next opportunity to flow into storm drains. And some of it just sits there for a very long time. This year, during Mardi Gras in  Mobile, Alabama, volunteers will be helping to prevent the ecologically-unfriendly consequences of the city’s parades. This post from AL.com details how eco-volunteers will be cleaning up the streets during upcoming Mardi Gras parades. The volunteers will be following the parade with eco-carts, collecting recycling and litter along the way. These efforts will go a long way towards making Mardi Gras a lot greener in Mobile.

Some of the organizations connected with this effort include:

Downtown Mobile Alliance – www.downtownmobile.org

Alabama Coastal Foundation – www.joinACF.org