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Thanks to Riverkeeper Volunteers – and 10,962 Hours of Service

Albany happy hour 1

Dana Gulley toasting to Albany Volunteers
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Dana Gulley toasting to Albany Volunteers

Dana Gulley toasting to Albany Volunteers

Riverkeeper volunteers dedicated over 10,962 hours of service to the Hudson River in 2014. To acknowledge the remarkable work of our Ambassadors, Citizen Scientists and Sweep Leaders we held five happy hour events from New York City to Albany in early November. Over the past few years the Riverkeeper volunteer program has grown tremendously, demonstrating the public desire to engage in our work. Because volunteers give our organization so much we wanted to show our appreciation and raise a glass in their honor. Giving volunteers the opportunity to connect with one another and with Riverkeeper staff is an important part of building community.

Our tour of Hudson Valley watering holes began at the Albany Pump Station in downtown Albany. After visiting Peekskill Brewery, the Newburgh Brewing Company and Keegan Ales in Kingston our tour fittingly ended on the southern end of Manhattan at Little Town NYC. Over 120 Ambassadors, Citizen Scientists, Sweep Leaders, and community partners joined us along the way to celebrate their commitment and dedication to the river. Volunteers in 2014 donated through service the equivalent of nearly $300,000. This is an incredible contribution and is just the beginning of what we have planned for volunteerism in 2015!

Riverkeeper Ambassadors: Sign up for a workshop near you
Ambassadors help expand our reach through tabling at farmers markets, fairs and festivals. Indeed, thanks to our ambassadors we engaged the public at over 60 events from Manhattan to Troy: signing up new members, activating citizens on irresponsible crude oil transport, and educating folks about sewage pollution in the Hudson. Ambassadors helped us gather over 1,200 petition signatures on crude oil transport and sign up 275 new dues-paying members.

This winter the Riverkeeper outreach and volunteer team is offering Ambassador workshops in five locations across the estuary. Workshops are designed for existing and new ambassadors to attain a deeper knowledge of issues facing the Hudson, along with communication best practices for community engagement. Sign up to attend a workshop in Manhattan, Ossining, Beacon, Kingston (Esopus) or Albany.

Riverkeeper Sweep: A call for new site leaders
sweep-2014-graphic-v1-200x180May 9, 2015 will mark the 4th annual Riverkeeper Sweep and with your help, we look forward to organizing the largest cleanup of the Hudson yet. Sweep 2014 engaged over 1,900 volunteers (up 27% from 2013) at 82 projects (up 12% from 2013) removing approximately 31 tons (down 18% from 2013) of trash and debris from our river. The Sweep leaves us all with an irreplaceable sense of accomplishment for making a visible difference in our communities. A river with clean shorelines is not only healthier for the wildlife that depend on it, but it is also less likely to suffer future pollution. Ultimately, the Sweep wouldn’t be possible without dedicated Sweep Leaders who organize cleanup sites along the river and its tributaries.

Organizing for Sweep 2015 has started earlier than ever. Already, commitments from leaders to continue work at their 2014 sites are rolling in. We need your help expanding the Sweep to your community. Leaders and co-leaders pick suitable cleanup sites and recruit volunteers from their community to join them on May 9. Sign up here to learn more about leading a cleanup site in your community.

Citizen Science Partners
water samplingAs Dan Shapley notes 2014 has been an extraordinary year for Riverkeeper’s water quality program. Partnerships with citizens and grassroots watershed groups sampled at 149 sites along seven Hudson River tributaries and New York City’s waterfront. The data collected by citizen scientists with the New York Water Trail Association, Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance, Quassaick Creek Watershed Alliance and many other partners is transforming how local and state officials address the problem of sewage contamination in our waterways.

On the Wallkill River, for example, the work of our citizen science partners has galvanized Village Mayor Jason West to organize a summit in 2015. The summit will bring together regional officials and partners to discuss a long term plan for improving water quality within the Wallkill River’s watershed. In Orange County, as a result of sampling from the Quassaick Creek Watershed Alliance, the city of Newburgh funded additional sampling to track down the sources of sewage contamination into the creek. These results would not be possible without the reliable and dedicated support of our citizen science partners.

Administrative Volunteers
Riverkeeper has a dedicated corps of administrative volunteers who make our programatic work possible. Without their help in the office in membership and development, much of our work would not be possible. While administrative volunteering may not be glamorous, it is one of the most important ways you can help us protect the river.

We need your help in our Ossining office in the new year! If you are available to help us stuff envelopes in early January 2015, please reach out to our Development Assistant, Chloe Heintz, at [email protected].

Your passion and why we fight

Raising a glass at the Newburgh Brewing Company

Raising a glass at the Newburgh Brewing Company

At Riverkeeper we are incredibly proud of the contribution volunteers and partners bring to the shared vision of a safe, clean and swimmable Hudson. Without your steadfast support we could not accomplish our goals and achieve the victories we achieve. Throwing happy hours across the estuary is the least we can do to say thank you to our volunteers and partners. It is together that we win our fight—for a cleaner Hudson. We look forward to continuing to work with you!

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