As our time as AmeriCorps Patrol and Monitoring Members is coming to a close, we wanted to reflect back on our amazing nine months with Mobile Baykeeper and give you all a little insight into what we have accomplished and everything we have learned along the way.
Over the past 25 years, AmeriCorps has evolved to meet changing community needs while continuing to develop its members into leaders. AmeriCorps, essentially a domestic version of the Peace Corps, has touched the lives of millions of Americans - many of them here in Alabama. The Governor's Office of Volunteer Services connects AmeriCorps Members to local service organizations such as Mobile Baykeeper, whose own AmeriCorps Members just wrapped up their 2018-2019 term.
“Last year, Mobile Baykeeper started the Litter-Free Mardi Gras campaign, and it was the most substantial volunteer opportunity I have experienced. This campaign allowed me to see first hand the impact Mardi Gras has on our local waterways.”
-an excerpt from “The Mardi Gras Epiphany” by Boris Kresevljak, Mobile Baykeeper AmeriCorps Member, Volunteer Engagement Program
With over 1,500 people educated, 40 presentations given, and 715 surveys taken since September, SWAMP is off to an amazing start! We are extremely excited to bring watershed awareness and education to Mobile and Baldwin counties and are working hard to reach as many students and citizens as possible.
Meet the Mobile Baykeeper AmeriCorps Members for the 2018-2019 Program Year. They serve in positions covering three programs: 1) Baykeeper Patrol (Patrol & Monitoring), 2) Strategic Watershed Awareness and Monitoring Program (SWAMP), and 3) Volunteer Engagement (Baykeeper AVE). These programs directly support our work for clean water, clean air, and healthy communities and are funded through the Governors Office of Volunteer Services.
First Apple Snail Roundup of the Year
By: Sarah Hogan, AmeriCorps Volunteer Engagement Member
We were greeted with a beautiful day on Saturday March 24 to launch our first Apple Snail Roundup of 2018. There were many familiar faces and lots of new ones who came out to help us remove apple snails from Langan Park.
Because the temperatures are cooler this time of year compared to the summer months, not as many snails were out and active. They avoid the cold by staying in deeper water and reducing their activity levels. However, this did not prevent our group from collecting 462 snails and 660 egg clusters! What a great effort by our incredible volunteers!
This roundup had the added plus of the Goodwill Easter Seals' recycling trailer being on site at Langan Park. As a result, we were able to sort out a significant amount of recyclable materials from our overall collection of litter. There were approximately 450 pieces of trash collected from the park, which could have easily ended up in our waterways if it wasn’t for all of the volunteers who helped do their part.
About Apple Snails
Because an invasive species, apple snails have no natural predator in this area. Our goal is to prevent them from spreading further beyond Three Mile Creek into the Mobile River and Mobile-Tensaw Delta. The snails will continue to grow in masses and eat their way through the local vegetation, causing an imbalance to our local ecosystem. One of the most alarming features of the snails is their capability to reproduce several times during our warmer months. The apple snails’ eggs are sticky, smelly, bubble-gum pink and found deposited along the water’s edge.
One of our community partners, Red Beard's Outfitters, graciously donated some goodies for a give away! Our volunteers who filled out the event survey were entered into a drawing to receive either a hat, t-shirt, and other gifts from our local outdoor store. Special thanks to our friends at Red Beard's for putting a fun spin on the roundup! We intend to apply more fun competitive incentives at other events in the future.
At our next cleanup effort, we plan to ‘Plog The Earth’ on April 22 (Earth Day) with our partners Fleet Feet and Serda's Brewing Company. What is plogging? It’s the newest craze which combines jogging and picking up litter! Click the link above to learn more about this exciting event and sign up online. We hope to see you there!