Calling all volunteers!
Volunteers are playing an increasingly important role in restoration programs all around the Bay. We usually hear about the work that citizen volunteers do only in those rare instances where some very high-profile person or event is involved.
When the rainstorm earlier this year washed out great sections of the C&O Canal trail, for example, we read in the papers about the huge numbers of people who showed up to help the National Park Service repair the damage. The Park Service, in fact, has been fairly overwhelmed with volunteers!
Here at the Alliance, we see evidence that individuals are helping to do good things throughout the Bay watershed on a daily basis - often completely unheralded and sometimes, I dare say, without the proper "thank-you."
We often wonder, in fact, just how many people are out there quietly doing things that benefit the Bay, as well as local communities. Of course there is no way to know - but here are a few samples of the kinds of things Alliance volunteers have been doing this year:
- 54 volunteers planted more than 2,500 trees, shrubs and perennial flowers on Molly's Leg, an island created from dredged spoil in Solomon's, Md.
- More than 40 volunteers worked at different times to plant 2,000 trees on Hart Miller Island near Baltimore - the beginning of a large-scale habitat restoration project.
- Throughout the year, nearly 150 individuals have been volunteering as citizen monitors, collecting water samples; conducting simple analyses and recording data; preparing samples for laboratory analysis; attending training and quality control sessions; and logging their results into their own personal computers. This small army of monitors is collectively creating a database about near-shore water quality conditions that promises to be invaluable to managers hungry to know if pollution abatement efforts are working.
We have been fortunate this year to have had a Volunteer Maryland staff person, Kathleen Miller, assigned to us. The skills we are developing and the lessons we are learning about how to recruit and use the army of potential volunteers who live in this region will help us in 1997 as we work to expand a number of our programs.
In both water quality monitoring and habitat restoration work, we believe there is a growing role for citizen volunteers. In December, Dr. Matthew Sabo joins Glenn Page in the Alliance's Baltimore office to expand our volunteer program. Matt will be coordinating all our water quality monitoring projects while Glenn continues to manage our habitat restoration work.
Sarah Richardson and Joyce Brooks are our Virginia staff for these projects, while Brook Lenker and Rebecca Wertime cover these bases in Pennsylvania. We are very excited that Matt has joined the team and we are looking forward to many new projects in 1997.
If you want to become a volunteer, please give the Alliance a call!
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