PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Volunteering: Helping The Environment

Do you love your mother-Mother Earth, that is?

Our towns, cities, parks, and green spaces need help just like people and animals do. Without the efforts of volunteers who care about the communities we live in, pollution and other problems could soon be out of control. Everyone wants to live in a clean, safe, and beautiful area, and volunteers help make sure we do. Here's how you can lend a hand:

Recycling
Recycling means taking materials like glass, paper, metal, and plastic, and helping to turn them into new products instead of just throwing them away. This also saves energy and resources by reducing the amount of brand-new stuff we have to make. As a "recycling ranger" you can:

  • Organize recycling drives in your area or encourage people you meet to take their unwanted materials to a local recycling center.

  • If your community has curbside recycling (a bin placed next to the regular garbage can), spread the word about how important it is.

  • Have a contest to see which street in your neighborhood can recycle the most material.

Planting trees
Planting trees and other greenery is more important than you might think! Plants can keep soil from washing away in the rain, make parks and public spaces more beautiful, and help create more oxygen to breathe. You can help by:

  • Talking to your family about buying and planting young trees on your property.

  • Participating in Arbor Day, a holiday set aside for communities to plant new trees.

  • Raising money for a national tree-planting group, or get involved in one in your local area.

  • Donating money or lending tools to help neighbors make your community more beautiful with new plantings.

  • Starting a club to plant flowers, trees, or other plants to improve your school.

Cleanup projects
Picking up litter makes a better, more beautiful environment for everyone, and gives people a reason to be proud of their community. Here's how you can help:

  • 48 U.S. states have "adopt a highway" programs where businesses and clubs agree to pick up litter on a certain section of roadway in their community. Contact your state government to join in, or organize a smaller project with the same idea.

  • Organize and publicize a "clean up" day for a park, beach, or area of woods, and offer prizes for the person or team who picks up the most trash.

Surf to it!
Here are some great Web sites with more information about volunteering to help the environment:

  • Earth Force
    http://www.earthforce.org

  • The Sierra Club
    http://www.sierraclub.org

  • Tree People
    http://www.treepeople.org

  • Global ReLeaf
    http://www.americanforests.org/global_releaf

  • Earth Day Network
    http://www.earthday.net

  • The Green Squad
    http://www.nrdc.org/greensquad

Is this right for me?
Environmental volunteer positions are a good choice for people who-

  • Have a love and appreciation for nature
  • Like to work outdoors
  • Aren't afraid to get dirty or muddy
  • Want to develop a "green thumb"

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