Supporting Conservation for Your Community- Giving More than Cash
By Jennifer Cummings, M.Ed.
In these economically strapped times it is very often that conservation groups, non-profit organizations, and even informal town groups will all express their need for greater donations to meet their missions. While not run to make a profit, all of these groups certainly suffer in the current economic times just as other businesses and even families do as well. But, although you may want to help, in these tough times you and your family may not have extra cash to share with other groups, regardless how worthy their cause. What can you do to support your local green group without spending your funds? Here are some cash-less ideas that you can offer to support your community groups, even in the late fall months:
Help with facility maintenance. You don't have to be a professional gardener or landscaper in order to help with weeding, mowing, planting, raking, snow shoveling and other maintenance tasks. Though not difficult, these tasks take a great deal of time from staff in order to keep a facility looking nice. Your donation of time and effort will certainly prove the adage 'many hands make light work'. Besides, you'll get to spend some time outside, too!
Offer to clean trails. Many conservation facilities that are open to the public have walking and running trails for everyone's enjoyment. When trails are used by lots of people, sometimes they need some TLC. Raking, trimming brush, weeding, resurfacing, and other maintenance tasks all help to keep the trails in safe, open, and in good working order for everyone.
Volunteer for programs or program support. Many non-profit organizations and conservation groups offer low or no-cost programs to members of their communities. In order to keep prices low, there are many different things that volunteers can help organizations to do. Many times groups appreciate doing office work, newsletter writing, grant writing, site preparation, clean up, or even if you offer to present a workshop for no fee! Many programs run into the late fall and winter months, when your family wants some indoor activities to do. These can not only support your local organization, but can help build your resume, too!
Offer to help with animal care. Some environmental groups or organizations have collections of animals, whether used for education programs, due to rehabilitation programs, or as examples of naïve species. Having animals is great for visitors, but as all pet owners know, animals take a lot of time and care. If your local group has animals, offer some time to groom, clean, or socialize the animals. This can be a great supervised activity for families with children, as many program animals need to be used to contact with kids. Not sure how to help? Call and offer your services, and training is often provided.
Serve on a board or committee. Non-profit organizations and even many informal groups use committees and boards to get the organization's day-to-day work done.
Welcome to Positively Green! It's a column dedicated to bringing you new ways of saving, interacting with, and using the natural world with activities that both help the environment and help you grow healthy families and healthy communities. Each month will feature information for your family about a positive green activity, book, program, or community idea. So c'mon, join the fun and go Positively Green!
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