On Saturday, September 11th, Sierra Club members, partners, and supporters turned out at over 100 Serve Outdoors events in 36 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Together, they honored the spirit of those who serve our county every day and emphasized the importance of volunteerism in strengthening our communities and protecting our environment. On the 9-year anniversary of September 11 attacks, it was heartening to so many of the volunteers to be part of something positive and inspirational on the National Day of Service and Remembrance.|
Serve Outdoors is a youth-led project, and youth were out in force on Saturday to show their commitment to their communities and the natural world. Headliner events, each with over 100 participants, took place in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C., and featured in addition to lots of young people guests like Mayor Michael McGinn of Seattle (a former Sierra Club volunteer leader) and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. At events across the country, volunteers cleaned up beaches, worked in community gardens, created outdoor classrooms, performed trail maintenance, organized bike-a-thons, and other creative projects.
Reaching out to young people is a high priority to the Sierra Club, and Serve Outdoors demonstrated how successful the Club can be at engaging a new generation of supporters. Event organizers across the country heard from participants who wanted to know when they could volunteer next!
|Washington, D.C.: "Gathering at the FDR Memorial on 9/11, we opened our Serve Outdoors event on the National Mall with some words from our hosts, including Sierra Club's Jacqueline Ostfeld, who welcomed volunteers, offered some words of remembrance for those who tragically lost their lives at the Pentagon on September 11th, shared information about Serve Outdoors and highlighted the importance of FDR's legacy through the Civilian Conservation Corps and our 32nd President's success in pulling America out of the Great Depression through service to the land. We also heard from the CEO of the Earth Conservation Corps, a veteran from Veterans Green Jobs who shared how the organization was helping our returning heroes, Julie Rodriguez, Director, US Department of the Interior Office of Youth (Cesar Chavez's granddaughter), John Piltzecker, Superintendent of the National Mall. Volunteers broke up into three groups where they spread out across the FDR Memorial and along the Tidal Basin to pull weeds and mulch the area. Volunteers also had an opportunity to participate in a Raptor program and hear from the Natural Leaders/Global Population and Environment Program about water issues locally and globally." Click here to view more photos.|
|Seattle: "Seattle Serve Outdoors brought together 125 youth and adults under blue skies to work on invasive species removal at Hamm Creek, which is a restoration effort started by Jon Beal, a veteran who made it the last cause of his life to save the important watershed for salmon. His widow, Lana Beal, spoke movingly at the event. Additionally, students from John Muir Elementary School talked about how getting outside and serving outdoors helped them be leaders of their community. Iana Johnson, a sixth grader, said, "We are not leaders of tomorrow but leaders of today and are here to show our gratitude for those who have served and continue to serve." Loren Blackford, Sierra Club Foundation Chair and NYC resident talked about the impact that 9/11 had on the City and her own life and family. Mayor Michael McGuinn called for folks to go back to the days of 9/11 when we were truly 'one America.' It was a day of remembrance that also turned into a day of celebration for all." Click here to view more photos.|
|San Francisco: "The San Francisco Serve Outdoors event was a great success, with over 120 volunteers including at least 65 young people. The event was kicked off with a moving rendition of the National Anthem, sung by Yulia Van Doren a local opera star. There could not be a more befitting way to begin the service project, and many in attendance, both young and old, were a bit misty eyed by the touching performance. Following a moment of silence, Sierra Club Conservation Director Sarah Hodgdon addressed the crowd on what it means to Serve Outdoors and the importance of service and protecting our great lands. She also spoke to the current generation's commitment, enthusiasm, and dedication toward serving their communities and making our present and our future even better. The sun peaked out just as the beach cleanup began and participants scattered across Ocean Beach armed with gloves, trashbags, grabbers, and lots of smiles. Some had the opportunity to don special suits and paint the seawall. And after covering miles of beach and collecting 20-plus bags of trash (plus a small aquarium), all participants enjoyed a healthy lunch, sponsored by The North Face." Click here to view more photos.|
|Los Angeles: "Hundreds of young volunteers from all over Los Angels County joined together to repair and enhance the iconic Stanford-Avalon farm in the heart of South Los Angeles. Mayor Villaraigosa (pictured with Juan Martinez, Serve Outdoors Volunteer Co-Chair, and Sierra Club's Tiffany Saleh) dedicated a plaque in commemoration of September 11th, together with members of the Los Angeles Fire Department and community farmers who have helped turn this brown lot into a farm Sierra Club partnered with Los Angles Conservation Corps, National Corporation for National & Community Service, and many other local groups to make this event a success. In addition, Sierra Club’s Juana Torres joined young leaders at Griffith Park, Los Angeles' largest greenspace, for a native plant restoration and hike." Click here to view more photos.|
|Water Sentinels Michigan: "The Sierra Club Michigan Chapter partnered with the Grand River Expedition (GRE) 2010 Committee to hold a Lyons/Muir Community Cleanup Day. The Village of Lyons generously hosted the GRE overnight when they paddled by on their way downstream on the Grand River this past July. Lyons is approximately midway between the headwaters and the mouth of the Grand River where it flows into Lake Michigan. Just about the whole town came out to welcome the paddlers, and it was such a welcoming time that the GRE Committee wanted to give something back. Saturday's participants cleaned, weeded, shined, and picked up, and didn’t lose heart even when the steady rain began around 11:30 that morning! We all were soggy, but warm enough, and we grinned and got our work done." Click here to view more photos.|
|Sierra Student Coalition Event Las Vegas: "The Helping Heroes project, hosted by United Way and the Volunteer Center, focused on assisting at-risk and homeless veterans in southern Nevada in partnership with U.S. Vets, a local nonprofit organization. U.S. Vets provides housing, job training, and counseling for veterans in need. The volunteers who helped with the project re-painted the walls in the common living space, shampooed and cleaned carpets, washed cars (U.S. Vets fundraiser), helped cook lunch, and hosted games in the dining room. ReEnergize the Vote was there registering voters and more specifically encouraging everyone to get out and vote on November 2nd and asking people to pledge to vote. The Sierra Club is proud to be partners with these important groups." Click here to view more photos.|
|New Mexico: "The efforts in New Mexico offered the perfect example of the collective power of Sierra Club's wide variety of programs. Staff members Shrayas Jatkar and Kristina Ortez, Building Bridges to the Outdoors, Clean Energy Solutions, Environmental Justice, the local Chapter, and other partners participated in executing 10 successful events in New Mexico including trail maintenance in Santa Barbara Canyon in Penasco (near Taos), construction of an outdoor classroom at Bataan Memorial Park, in Silver City, and the transformation of a courtyard into a nice sitting area and garden (weeding, cleaning debris, laying plastic sheeting and gravel, planting shrubs and bushes and grasses) in Albuquerque. Young people were heavily involved in these events, and they garnered media attention for their good work." Click here to view more photos.|
|Florida: "111 volunteers came out early Saturday and helped plant over 7,000 sea oats plants at America's best beach, Ft. DeSoto. Volunteers included Sierra Club volunteers from the Manatee-Sarasota, Tampa Bay & Suncoast Groups along with members of Audubon, Friends of Ft. DeSoto Park, Tampa Bay Refuges, park staff, and the Florida Native Plant Society. There was a large group of students and faculty from St. Pete College, University of Tampa, USF Tampa and USF St. Petersburg, as well as two dozen 5th graders with the Tampa Bay ICO group. Thanks to all who worked in the hot sun Saturday morning to help create new habitat for the restoration of Gulf wildlife lost to the oil disaster on one of America's best beaches in an area of the Gulf that was fortunate to escape the impact of the disaster." Click here to view more photos.|