Working with Your Hands
Thank you for your interest in being a volunteer! Before you make a commitment to provide your service, you will want to know what kinds of opportunities are available in your community. When you make a pledge to provide volunteer service, the Clear Choices Clean Water sponsor(s) in your area will be notified and contact you with information on the kinds of activities they might have available. Listed below are some kinds of things you might do if you want to work outside.
Many of our streams, creeks and rivers are regularly polluted with trash. Littering and illegal dumping often results in unwanted trash and debris in our waterways. One way can you serve the community is by taking part in or planning a stream clean-up, which entails picking up litter and debris along the length of a stream either by foot or by boat. When participating in a large organized event, the organizer usually provides trash disposal. This can be especially important when collecting some of the heavy items you might find such as tires and appliances. Easier trash to pick up might be everyday items like plastic containers and aluminum cans. Consider your level of fitness and the terrain when deciding what activities you are able to handle.
Learn more about stream clean-ups and monitoring.
Tree or native plants planting days
Trees and native plants are important to the health of our waterways as they help reduce stormwater runoff, improve air quality, reduce soil erosion, remove pollutants, provide habitat for wildlife like songbirds and pollinators, and help moderate temperature. When planted directly along stream banks and in floodways, trees play an even more critical part in helping filter pollutants, holding soil in place, and reducing some of the negative impacts of urban development.
Trees and native plantings, especially when planted in rain gardens, also help by capturing and storing rainfall and runoff and help the water infiltrate the soil, replenishing our groundwater supply and helping maintain water flow during dry times. Holding more water in place also decreases flooding and erosion downstream.
Sometimes native planting events are done as part of building a rain garden. Learn more about rain gardens here.
Volunteers of all ages and abilities can participate in tree and native planting events. Please be sure to consider age and ability when offering to serve as most planting events involve physical activity. And remember, with your service, you’ll be making a difference in the community and for our water resources!
Stormwater runoff is the number one cause of stream impairment in urban areas, click here to learn more about how trees and native plants reduce stormwater runoff impacts.