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 protects more than 38,000 acres of land throughout Massachusetts, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all. As Massachusetts' largest nature conservation nonprofit, we welcome more than a half million visitors a year to our wildlife sanctuaries and 20 nature centers. From inspiring hilltop views to breathtaking coastal landscapes, serene woods, and working farms, we believe in protecting our state's natural treasures for wildlife and for all people's vision shared in 1896 by our founders, two extraordinary Boston women.
Today, Mass Audubon is a nationally recognized environmental education leader, offering thousands of camp, school, and adult programs that get over 225,000 kids and adults outdoors every year. With more than 135,000 members and supporters, we advocate on Beacon Hill and beyond, and conduct conservation research to preserve the natural heritage of our beautiful state for today's and future generations. We welcome you to explore a nearby sanctuary, find inspiration, and get involved. Learn how at www.massaudubon.org.