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Observing the Day of Service

Volunteers remove crab traps / CEC file photo

Last week, we called on you to add making the environment better to your list of resolutions, whether through donating money or time. This week, with the National Day of Service coming on Monday, we’re going to focus on the donating time aspect.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is Monday, Jan. 16. In 1994, Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act, making the day one of service and calling it a “day on, not a day off.” That goes with many of Dr. King’s quotes, that “whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.”

And one way of affecting everyone’s destiny is by working on the environment. AskHRgreen.org advises people to pick up litter in a park or along a river, clean up debris and keep it out of storm drains, join a community garden, or volunteer with groups that gets kids outside and into nature. NOAA’s Office on Response and Restoration offers learning more about the land you live on and the historical stewards of that land, planting native plants, participating in a solo or small group community cleanups, and more on this day.

If looking into local opportunities this year, the CEC Calendar is filled with great ideas for your friends and family to join. The Woods Project – a local nonprofit that partners with low-income Houston high schools to create wilderness education and exploration experiences – is gearing up for their annual Gear Inventory and Tent Setup. If tree planting is your thing, Big Thicket National Reserve is looking for volunteers to help restore native plants in the Big Sandy Creek Unit.

And there are plenty of opportunities to get involved throughout the week, not just on Monday. On Saturday, Jan. 14, the High Island Volunteer Work Day will be set up at the Houston Audubon to help beautify one of their sanctuaries. You can join SPLASh to clean up a Surfside wetlands or volunteer with Houston Parks and Recreation Department to help plant trees at Blackhawk Park.

If you have time on Tuesday, Jan. 17, head over to UHCL to participate in Environmental Institute of Houston’s Habitat Work Days. On Wednesday, Jan. 18, volunteer with Exploration Green to help with wetland planting. These are just a few of many opportunities for friends and family to get involved.

And if you are an organization planning upcoming events, contact news@cechouston.org. We’d love to get your event showcased. If you can’t make any events but would still like to give to the environment, your donation to CEC Houston can benefit the continued success of environmental awareness to the community.

Yes, the National Day of Service is one day, but we hope that people who volunteer their time to improve the environment keep doing it. Whatever affects one of us, affects all of us.