112 service projects in 29 states and Canada were recorded in the first annual Serve Outside September (S.O.S.) campaign. A BIG thank you to everyone who participated! The service events ranged from the Girl Scouts and their families in Anchorage, Alaska, raking leaves, shoveling gravel and removing litter and invasive plants to a kindergarten class in Denver, Colorado, that studied plants and then planted 400 tulip and daffodil bulbs with the help of their parents and their 6th grade buddies. Teacher Allison Shea reported, “The kids were proud of their work and so much more anxious to get their hands dirty after this project.”
High school students in San Diego, California, spent Friday mornings removing invasives along the Chollas Creek bed to relieve the pressure on the willows and other native plants. Virginians collected acorns, black walnuts and Chinese chestnuts for the Virginia Department of Forestry’s nurseries. Vermonters pulled together to clear brush, shovel mud, haul trash and direct traffic at the dump to help neighbors in the aftermath of hurricane Irene. Michiganders rallied neighbors to spruce up Glens Fall Park in Riverview and enjoy a potluck meal together.
Many people planned their service events to celebrate National Public Lands Day. Chicago Wilderness hosted Corporate Council Days of Service throughout the Chicago area to remove buckthorn and brush, mulch trees and trails, clean vacant lots and playgrounds, and collect native seeds. Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge in Idaho hosted a day for folks in the community to give back to one of their favorite public lands. Atlanta, Georgia was the site of an urban campout and day of service. Sauda Jackson of the Greening Youth Foundation said, “ This was an awesome event for high school students who had not had any camping experience. We provided them a city-scape in which to camp on a National Park site. They awoke to a hearty breakfast and went to work on a service project at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.”
Based on survey results, we estimate that more than 5,000 adults and 5,000 children and youth worked on habitat-related service projects during this month, donating more than 60,000 hours of service. Participants in S.O.S. report cleaning, enhancing or restoring a total of 56 miles and 939 acres!
Read more about the Natural Leaders service project in the report out by Natural Leader Rosie Rosie Williams.
C&NN gratefully acknowledges REI, The North Face, Sierra Club, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and National Public Lands Day for their support of S.O.S.