Sunday, May 27, 2012

Earth Day Volunteers

Aquarium volunteers removed invasive
weeds and planted native vegetation.

Volunteers of all ages helped out on Earth Day.

The Living Planet Aquarium offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for all ages, including behind-the-scenes support, assisting with special events, and interacting with visitors. Volunteers also work in the great outdoors helping to conserve Utah's natural areas. Each Earth Day (April 22nd), the aquarium offers opportunities for individuals and groups to get involved in caring for our beautiful planet. This year, the aquarium organized cleanup and restoration events at four different locations: Hidden Hollow, Wasatch Hollow, Jordan River Migratory Bird Reserve, and the aquarium itself.

Volunteers removed trash from the waterways to
prevent it from doing damage to wildlife downstream.

At the Jordan River Migratory Bird Reserve, volunteers weeded out invasive thistle and planted native willows. Willows help purify the water, prevent erosion, and provide habitat for Neotropical migratory songbirds. These birds, such as Western Tanagers and Lazuli Buntings, live in Mexico, Central America, and South America during the winter and breed in the United States and Canada during the summer. The reserve, located between 9800 and 111000 South, is one of the last remaining habitats along the Jordan River for these birds. Great Salt Lake Audubon has been working to restore the 120 acres of riparian habitat that make up the reserve. They helped coordinate the efforts of the aquarium volunteers.

Volunteers at Hidden Hollow and Wasatch Hollow cleaned up debris from the land and streams and removed invasive weeds. These non-native plants tend to grow out of control, choking out native species and displacing the animals that depend on native vegetation. At the aquarium, volunteers removed trash from the parking lot and the canal that runs alongside the property. This not only got rid of the unsightly refuse, but prevented these items from causing damage to wildlife further down the waterway. Over the course of three days, 168 aquarium volunteers devoted over 500 hours of service. They planted 230 trees and removed 761 pounds of trash, including a paint can, shoes, and a picnic table!

Volunteers cleaned up the parking area at the aquarium.

Volunteers collected over 700 pounds of trash!

The aquarium welcomes new volunteers year-round. If you are interested in animals, the environment, working with people, getting outside, or making a difference, check out the opportunities on our website.

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