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There’s a warm spring light at the end of winter’s tunnel, and you’re invited to celebrate the changing seasons with a morning of friends, fun and giving back!
“I think it’s important to give back to your community,” said Jennifer Campbell, Adopt-a-Park volunteer and organizer for participants from The Unit, which offers free boot-camp style fitness classes. “The Dayton region is blessed to have so many wonderful MetroParks. When I joined The Unit, I thought it would be an easy event for our group to get involved in. Year after year, we have many people join us for the event.”
Five Rivers MetroParks fosters environmental stewardship year-round, from programming with a focus on sustainability to protecting and restoring ecosystems in conservation areas. Adopt-a-Park is MetroParks’ largest day of service and the perfect way to celebrate Earth Day.
“We appreciate that MetroParks lets us use RiverScape for our workouts,” said Campbell. “Since we utilize the park, we like to help out by keeping the park nice, and we can do that during Adopt-a-Park.”
In 2016, almost 2,000 people volunteered at 50 sites to remove trash and invasive species, maintain trails, and prepare garden beds. Roughly 47,000 pounds of litter and 486 tires were removed, 31 miles of rivers were cleaned, and 3,500 trees were planted.
“It’s amazing to see so many diverse groups of volunteers share the common goal of protecting the region’s natural heritage – which is an important part of MetroParks’ mission,” said MetroParks’ volunteer services manager, Kevin Kepler.
In addition to cleanup, volunteers will plant trees, prepare garden beds, remove invasive species and paint. Adopt-a-Park volunteers also will help with conservation efforts to restore local forests by checking on tree seedlings that have been planted in past years, repairing protective tubes and making sure the seedlings are growing as planned.
Not only are groups of volunteers integral to the success of Adopt-a-Park, volunteering as a group has its own benefits, from inspiring others to developing healthy habits. Groups are able to volunteer at locations throughout Montgomery County. Thinking about gathering a group to volunteer during this year’s Adopt-a-Park? Here are some things you need to know:
1) Service is contagious: Volunteering not only helps your community, it provides you with a host of benefits. According to HelpGuide.org, volunteering makes you happier, increases self-confidence and provides a sense of purpose. After experiencing these amazing benefits, many volunteers continue serving their communities and inspire those around them to do so as well.
2) Team build by giving back: Businesses that are involved in their communities through service define corporate responsibility and build teamwork, reports Women On Business. Employees work together while they perform volunteer tasks, which help build community and camaraderie.
3) Doing good is a healthy habit: Create The Good notes there are both mental and physical benefits to volunteering. From decreased risk of depression and reduction in stress, to a boost in physical and mental activity levels, service is good for your body, mind and community.
4) Register early: Volunteers choose from multiple service locations during Adopt-a-Park — but on a first come, first served basis. With thousands of volunteers signing up, ensure your group has its first pick by registering early. The required registration is quick, easy and available online at metroparks.org/adopt or by calling 937-275-PARK.
“Anybody can help, and MetroParks does a great job of lining up the projects and tasks,” Campbell said. “I think we all need to take a vested interest in the free resources we have around us in the Miami Valley.”