We know organizations are telling you to get involved in their work all the time. As a collective of environmental non-profits, we too think that you should help us take care of our planet. But you don’t have to take our word for it, hear what our volunteers have to say about it instead.
“Our planet is sending us signals that we need to take better care of it. Recent devastating fires and floods are both examples that come to mind. There is no doubt that action is needed so we can continue to live safely as a part of our complex world. Sometimes that feels daunting to me – how can I, as just one person, make a difference? But you have to start somewhere, which is why I volunteer my time with Friends of the Smokies. Earth Month is a great time to start doing your part, whether you restore a trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, cleanup trash in the French Broad River, or write a letter to an elected official, every step to better our environmental future matters.” – Judy Winchester, dedicated volunteer of Friends of the Smokies.
“I grew up with a family that encouraged exploration of the outdoors. As a young child, the woods always seemed so pristine. As I grew up, the childhood blindness of imperfections started to disappear; a tire in the river, beer cans on the side of trails. My first spring in Asheville, I spent almost every weekend on the French Broad River. I heard about the work MountainTrue and the French Broad Riverkeeper were doing and wanted to be a part of it. Since I was enjoying the river so much, I felt like volunteering was giving back to the river and the adventures it had given me. I’ve volunteered for just about two years, just an hour a week, which seems like no time at all for me. But during that time, I’ve helped uncover several sewer leaks and straight piping issues. That one hour a week has been more beneficial for our local environment’s long term health. To me, that’s an easy trade.” – MountainTrue 2019 Central Region Volunteer of the Year, Erin Gregory
“I have always hated seeing trash on the roadside and [the Adopt-A-Street] program allows us to make a real difference. Every month we meet and folks of all ages come to help. We hope that by getting our students involved, we will instill a life-long commitment to serving their community in similar ways. For me, it is just about making some small difference and to make our community one to be proud of.” Robin Allred, ArtSpace Charter School, Volunteer with Asheville GreenWorks
“We discovered Roan Mountain in the late 1970s. We fell in love with the beauty, the undisturbed land, and the opportunity to hike and cross country ski. Once we were ready to retire, we decided there was no better place to land. We learned about the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) once we moved to the area and realized how much they were doing to protect the land we had fallen in love with. At first, we began going on hikes led by SAHC. Through the hikes, we became aware of the amount of land, ridge views, headwaters and farmland SAHC was protecting throughout Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee. We began to ask, “how can we help?”. As retired public employees, we did not have a lot of money to give, but we did have time, energy and passion. That is when we began volunteering, then realized we were hooked. “ – Bettye Boone & Saylor Fox, Volunteers with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy