October 7 – Volunteer San Diego closes its doors, impacts the community

Local environmental organizations remind that volunteer opportunities still exist

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 6, 2011 – On Saturday, September 17, around 10,000 volunteers will visit 90 coastal and inland cleanup sites for a one-day attack on marine debris and inland pollution. This year, Coastal Cleanup Day coordinators I Love A Clean San Diego and San Diego Coastkeeper highlight on their website several green “in need” cleanup sites, where data from the annual event show a higher demand for volunteers. To reduce the event’s carbon footprint and individual waste, organizers also ask volunteers to select local sites in their own communities and to bring reusable buckets, bags, work gloves and water bottles.
“Trash travels from inland communities into storm drains which empty into our canyons, creek beds and eventually the ocean,” said Pauline Martinson, Executive Director for I Love A Clean San Diego. “That’s why it’s especially important for volunteers to lend a hand in their local neighborhood—our entire county needs a cleaning.”
To encourage participation in areas that need extra hands, San Diego’s Coastal Cleanup Day website, www.cleanupday.org features “in need” sites labeled in green in areas such as Clairemont, Normal Heights, City Heights, La Mesa, Tijuana River Valley and more. These sites were identified based on data from previous cleanups, indicating that some inland sites recover more debris as well as larger items such as tires, couches, and more.
“A recent statewide survey shows that this event significantly increases knowledge about the causes of marine debris—and that’s the first step in stopping the problem,” said Alicia Glassco, Education and Marine Debris Manager at Coastkeeper. “We see Coastal Cleanup Day as a hands-on educational event that connects residents to their neighborhood while removing harmful debris.”
I Love A Clean San Diego and San Diego Coastkeeper also ask volunteers to reduce their carbon footprint while participating in the event. Instead of traveling long distance to a site, volunteers should stay at their local cleanup locations and remember to bring their own reusable bag or bucket, work gloves and water bottle.
Last year in San Diego County, volunteer involvement rose to approximately 9,000 participants, with another 3,000 volunteers lending their support across the border in the U.S./Mexico-shared Tijuana Watershed. Volunteers removed close to 100 tons of debris from more than 80 cleanup sites along the coastline and in canyons, creek beds, lagoons, estuaries and open spaces.
This year, volunteers should register on the San Diego County event website at www.cleanupday.org. The website includes an interactive Google Map with all cleanup sites in the region, including a handful of green “in need” sites. Sites where registration is at capacity are denoted in red. Information for children, scouts, and groups are also available on the website.

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 7, 2011 – Volunteer San Diego, an organization matching community members with the local volunteer opportunities, announced it will discontinue its service. Thousands of San Diegans used Volunteer San Diego to find opportunities to improve their local community. Some even relied on it to fulfill requirements for school or court. Even though the community will miss the closing non-profit, local environmental organizations remind that opportunities are still available.

San Diego Coastkeeper, San Diego River Park Foundation and Project Wildlife came together to announce that while they will feel the loss of the valuable volunteer recruitment service, they still have many volunteer needs. All three organizations will increase their volunteer opportunities for community members to help them find meaningful projects as well as create chances to fill community service requirements.

“Volunteer San Diego played a major role connecting our needs with volunteer resources in the community and we’re all saddened to see the organization close,” said Dylan Edwards, volunteer coordinator of San Diego Coastkeeper, “There’s no doubt that our local environment can continue to benefit from volunteer service and I’m proud of this group of environmental non-profits coming together to connect people to our community’s needs.”

San Diego Coastkeeper has opportunities for volunteers in a variety of its programs including beach cleanups, Water Quality Monitoring, Pollution Patrollers and community education.  Volunteers can visit localhost/sdcoastkeeper for more information.

The San Diego River Park Foundation has opportunities for volunteers in helping create and care for parks, river clean-ups, nature education and more. A list of current opportunities can be found at www.sandiegoriver.org.

Project Wildlife is always looking for volunteers to help care for wildlife patients, answer hotline calls, educate the public on wildlife issues and provide administrative support. For more information or to download a volunteer application, visit www.projectwildlife.org.

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About San Diego Coastkeeper
Founded in 1995, San Diego Coastkeeper protects the region’s bays, beaches, watersheds and ocean for the people and wildlife that depend on them.  We balance community outreach, education, and advocacy to promote stewardship of clean water and a healthy coastal ecosystem.

About San Diego River Park Foundation
The San Diego River Park Foundation is dedicated to creating a better future for the historic 52 mile long San Diego River through the creation of a river-long park system and offering programs to conserve this incredible natural resource.  For more information, visit www.sandiegoriver.org

About Project Wildlife
The mission of Project Wildlife is to improve the quality of life for local wildlife and the community as the primary resource for wildlife rehabilitation and education. Project Wildlife serves as the voice for San Diego’s wild creatures through leadership in the areas of wildlife education, conservation and advocacy. Visit http://www.projectwildlife.org/ for more information.