Annual Statewide Volunteer Day Set for Saturday, April 28
Michael P. O'Connor
LINCOLN, MA—Did it seem like winter would never end this year? Mass Audubon is helping put “the spring” back in everyone’s step with an invitation to participate in its 12th annual Statewide Volunteer Day on Saturday, April 28.
Families and individuals, students, community-service groups, and others can choose from 17 of the conservation organization’s statewide network of wildlife sanctuaries and help get them ready for another busy visitation season.
The spring-cleaning tradition invites Mass Audubon members and the general public to spend the morning of the 28th at specific sanctuaries and engage in a little “sweat equity,” designed to help people connect with nature in multiple ways.
Depending on the sanctuary, tasks run the gamut and include projects suitable for all ages and abilities. Here’s just a sample: preparing community gardens; trail clearing and other maintenance; beautifying bird, butterfly, and turtle gardens and habitats; parking lot work; sprucing up nature play areas; raking and winter debris removal.
The work parties will wrap up by noon, so participants are encouraged to bring lunches, enjoy some down time, and then explore the array of natural amenities the sanctuaries have to offer.
While Statewide Volunteer Day is designed as a fun way to form a community with a common cause, it has a serious side as well: that of helping Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries protect the thousands of acres of sensitive habitats under their stewardship.
Last year, 750 volunteers dug in and helped out 16 wildlife sanctuaries. The 2017 event showed what can result when enthusiastic volunteers, teamwork, and a worthy goal combine on a weekend morning in spring. Among the accomplishments:
- 8 truckloads of invasive plants removed
- 53 trees planted
- More than 1,000 yards of trails groomed
- 21 campsites cleared of winter debris
- A new 165-foot trail created
- 30 stumps removed
- 11 gardens readied for spring
- 20 bags of trash and recyclables collected
For the 2018 event, a 17th sanctuary has been added, so there’ll be even more opportunities to pitch in!
“Statewide Volunteer Day is always a fun and worthwhile way to greet the season of renewal, and in light of March’s onslaught of late-winter nor’easters, we’re all ready to get outdoors and give Mother Nature a hand with spring cleaning,” said Peggy Sagan, Coordinator of Mass Audubon’s Statewide Volunteer Programs.
“Each year, we welcome familiar friends and new faces, to pitch in for nature at Mass Audubon sanctuaries across the Commonwealth,” Sagan added. “We continue to be grateful for their efforts and positive energy in helping to ensure our properties are in great shape for the busy visitation season.”
Mass Audubon is the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England. Founded in 1896 by two women who fought for the protection of birds, Mass Audubon carries on their legacy by focusing on the greatest challenges facing the environment today: the loss of biodiversity, inequitable access to nature, and climate change. With the help of our 140,000 members and supporters, we protect wildlife, conserve and restore resilient land, advocate for impactful environmental policies, offer nationally recognized education programs for adults and children, and provide endless opportunities to experience the outdoors at our wildlife sanctuaries. Explore, find inspiration, and take action at www.massaudubon.org.