As Earth Day nears, people around the world will take part in events across the country and abroad to raise awareness about our natural surroundings and promote efforts to tackle pressing challenges facing our environment.
From individual efforts, like water conservation and recycling, to group projects, including park cleanups and tree plantings, Americans are coming together to celebrate Earth Day 2011 through actions, big and small.
Environmental Stewardship, one of six focus areas in the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Strategic Plan, calls on the agency to provide direct services that contribute to increased energy and water efficiency, renewable energy use, or improving at-risk ecosystems.
It also calls for support to increased citizen behavioral change leading to increased efficiency, renewable energy use, and ecosystem improvements particularly for economically disadvantaged households and economically disadvantaged communities. Everyday, CNCS programs are working toward this common goal, which aligns with the principles of Earth Day.
AmeriCorps members around the country find ways to celebrate Earth Day 365 days a year, organizing projects for communities to engage citizens in environmental service projects to raise awareness about Mother Nature.
Helping Mother Nature Survive and Thrive
Helping fish populations to survive in their natural ecosystems sometimes takes the assistance of willing AmeriCorps members who work to help fish thrive. In Washington, AmeriCorps members recruited volunteers to plant 5,000 native trees to help restore salmon and wildlife populations. In Massachusetts, AmeriCorps members went to work, clearing over 20 obstructions created by downed trees and brush to open the pathway for the migrating Cape Cod herring.
Protecting our water resources is a job that AmeriCorps members have made a priority, empowering citizens to take control and examine the water quality of creeks and streams in their own backyards. AmeriCorps members recruited residents in Teaneck, N.J. to monitor water quality in creeks and streams to aid the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in required reporting to the federal government about the Clean Water Act.
And who can forget wildlife? AmeriCorps members go to great lengths promoting efforts that keep track of wildlife populations while fostering appreciation for our four-legged friends. Recently, residents of Malbourough, MA. were on hand to participate in the “The Great Turtle Search”, organized by AmeriCorps members. The program seeks to provide a hands-on activity in conservation efforts by teaching residents to survey the local turtle population.
These are just a few ways AmeriCorps members are making a stamp on their communities through conservation efforts.
Kate Enos is a Public Affairs Specialist at the Corporation for National and Community Service.