Keeping the Volunteer Spirit Alive at Home

Heather North and Graham Mitchell with oysters 695x352

CBF Virginia Oyster Restoration Specialist Heather North and young oyster gardener Graham Mitchell select baby oyster spat on shell for Graham's oyster garden.

Kenny Fletcher/CBF Staff

Despite the stay-at-home orders these days, we can still work to save the Bay

I think I speak for all Chesapeake Bay Foundation staff when I say how frustrating it is to have the springtime, one of our busiest times of year (aren't they all!), dangling before us and not being able to engage in the hands-on way that we typically do.

This is especially true for those of us on CBF staff whose lifeblood is grassroots work, where we meet face-to-face and work hand-in-hand with the public for healthy waterways and, ultimately, a cleaner Chesapeake Bay.

Our offices, events, and carefully crafted programs like Clean the Bay Day, Grasses for the Masses, and oyster gardening have been impacted as we adhere to the state stay-at-home orders and CDC guidelines to protect our volunteers, staff, and others across the watershed.

But still we continue to do what we do best—engaging the public to take that extra step for the sake of our natural resources. An old adage goes: "Those who can do, do. Those who can do more, volunteer." There is still plenty to do from home when it comes to saving the Bay (see our list below).

For most, volunteering is what they give in their extra time.

For some, volunteering is a necessity unto itself, like the food or oxygen that we all need to make life complete. In my experience, you see both in the same person over time.

In any case, during even the best of times, I marvel at the extraordinary strength of character I see in our volunteers, people from all walks of life who take that extra step to advocate or volunteer for CBF.

I never take their time for granted. I could spend half my days profusely thanking people for their time!

Those who know me in my territory of Hampton Roads, Virginia, will recognize the adage: "We simply cannot do it without you." Nothing has changed that belief or that reality.

Which brings me to my main point: When all this blows over, we will need you more than ever.

If volunteerism is a muscle, it needs to exercise lest it atrophy. So however you do it, whether it is for water quality, for your neighborhood, or for those working the front lines—from nurses to cashiers—here are some suggestions and handy links to things you can do to keep your volunteer muscle lean (and maybe inspire your family and friends!).

Please, let us know what you did by sharing on social media—your dedication and effort are our lifeblood, our food, and our oxygen. And thank you. We simply cannot do this work without you!

Tanner Council, Hampton Roads Grassroots Manager, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

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