Several months ago Molly Landrith and Hazel Watson joined forces to put together the first-ever Silicon Valley Volunteer Fair. The idea was to bring together several environmental organizations that use volunteers in one event so that interested volunteers could find out more about the organizations’ impact and what types of volunteer roles they have.
“I have noticed, from talking to prospective volunteers, that there is a strong desire to take positive action for the environment. Environmental Volunteers, as a leader in this space, created this fair to bring together diverse organizations that are working towards positive environmental impact.” -Brittany Sabol, Education and Training Director, Environmental Volunteers
There were a total of 17 organizations who set up tables along the duck pond. They brought hands-on activities, even live animals, to engage guests and explain what their organization does. The baby goat that got to go for a walk on a leash through the fair was a favorite by many, but every booth had a great display. Martin and his Green Guitar inspired fairgoers with songs about the value and importance of our planet
To quantify the potential impact of human resources that this represents, just 6 of the organizations which had the information available on their website inspire 14,000 volunteer hours a year. That is the same as 68 people working full time to improve and protect our natural resources.
The organizations were really varied in the ways they have a positive impact on the environment. We had several organizations that organize watershed and beach cleanup. Organizations that support parks with restoration, docent tours and improving accessibility to the parks. Several organizations, including Environmental Volunteers, focus on education through field trips and hands-on experiences and others focus on wildlife protection.
The impact of volunteers on the environment and local ecology is far-reaching and diverse. It was wonderful to see the interest and support for sharing the love of and protecting nature in the Bay Area and beyond. Several attendees said they were inspired and are signing up to volunteer. One high school student said she wanted to start a chapter of one of the organizations at her school which will engage even more people.
Educating the next generation of environmental stewards is central to the mission of Environmental Volunteers. We believe that if you appreciate nature you will be inspired to protect it.
“No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they have never experiened”David Attenborough
A morning in the Baylands is also an opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty that is so close to where we live. Many people enjoyed one of the bird walks hosted by Environmental Volunteers. Two of our volunteer docents guided groups of guests who had a variety of birding levels. Many people live near the bay or walk in the Baylands and want to know what birds they are seeing.
Knowing the names of birds is one reason to take a guided bird walk, but it is also an opportunity to highlight and notice the differences between the birds that call the San Francisco Bay their home. Some things that were discussed were differences in body shape and the beaks, as well as their behavior and also their coloration. The inquiry-based teaching method in which our volunteers are trained makes a bird walk an opportunity to learn something about the way birds live and survive.