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Connect for Good Outside

It’s a clear-skied, beautiful summer in Santa Cruz County so far, and with so much uncertainty regarding the Delta variant and what activities are safe, there has never been a better time to volunteer outside. 

Volunteering outside is the safest way to put your values into action, make a lasting impact and connect with your community for good. This month we are highlighting outdoor volunteer opportunities and one of our community’s true champions of environmental volunteerism. We’re hoping you’ll feel inspired by her story, join her in her mission, or connect with us in any number of super fun and impactful activities listed on our website. 

CityServe Volunteer Jane Mio, who leads the Valley Women’s Club Estuary Project and the City’s Benchlands Program, is one of our most dedicated volunteers.  Anyone can volunteer with the project the 3rd Saturday morning of every month, where Jane and her core group of about 10 volunteers, including 4-6 Downtown Streets Team members, nurture the native habitat on the San Lorenzo River Estuary from the Laurel St. Bridge to the river mouth. They remove invasive species, take care of and plant native plants and learn about the Estuary habitat. 

“I love the river,” Jane says. “She is so feisty and wants to live in spite of all the torture she has endured.” Jane said she got sick of hearing herself whine about the state of the San Lorenzo River, so she got involved. Now she marvels at the improvements, like the Mike Fox Skateboard Park section where native plants are blooming and there is an increase in butterflies and birds. She said the Laurel St. section is thriving as well. 

“I’m so grateful for all the volunteers who have made the Estuary Project a success – we couldn’t have done it without them.” Jane states. “It’s lasting and truly making a difference. I’m not sure they realize how important they are. They make the time and show up, it’s incredible.”

Want to join Jane in transforming the San Lorenzo River Estuary? Learn more and express Interest here.

Don’t have the time to join Jane but want to be part of this critical project? Donations of tools (shears, loppers, ect) and native plants such as Lizard Tail, Lindley’s Varied Lupine, Coyote Brush and Coffeeberry are always needed. Contact Jane via the link above. 

We have lots of other great outdoor opportunities in our August list from Santa Cruz Shakespeare, the Homeless Garden Project, Farm Discovery, CZU Fire Recovery or volunteering with Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. There’s also chances to volunteer with SC Mayor Donna Myers or Supervisor Manu Koenig, so check out your options.

Want to do your own thing? Organize your own volunteer group of up to 12 people, including kids, and sign up for a group Graffiti Paint Out. 

Wrap up your summer by giving back to your community and joining us at one of these events. All the opportunities listed above and several others can be found on our website HERE.

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