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WeLoveU’s Sawgrass Nature Center Environmental Cleanup

WeLoveU’s Sawgrass Nature Center Environmental Cleanup

Sawgrass Nature Center & Wildlife Hospital

Located in beautiful Coral Springs, Florida, the nature center dedicates to rescuing and rehabilitating native animals before releasing them back into the wild. However, for animals deemed non-releasable call the Sawgrass Nature Center and Wildlife Hospital their permanent home. 

In addition to helping animals, the center provides a variety of interactive educational programs for adults, children, and visiting groups. 

The WeLoveU Foundation East Coast Region mustered up volunteers to give a helping hand to the center by carrying out a cleanup on World Wildlife Day

#WeLoveWildlife

On Sunday, March 3, 2019, at 10 a.m., more than 30 WeLoveU volunteers traveling from Lake Worth, Florida stopped by the Coral Springs nature facility. The morning rays shined heavily on all participants with their vivid blue polos that read ‘WeLoveU.’

Volunteer Coordinator Heather Nelson welcomed the volunteers, explaining more about the center’s mission and their vision. Overall, the center expressed their gratitude for having so many supportive volunteers. That’s because they rely heavily on donations, grants, and volunteers with the upkeep of the facility.

Nelson said, “It really means a lot because without it, there is nothing we can do. Every living creature on the planet matters, whether it be wildlife or human. What you guys are doing is amazing! It is spreading love and community, so keep doing the work that you are doing!” 

Afterward, she led the group of WeLoveU volunteers on a tour of the facility, educating them on the animals they currently care for. Heather also brought out an owl, showing the volunteers who their environmental efforts will help in the long-run. 

Team Work Makes a Clean World 

After their walk-thru tour, the 30 volunteers organized into four teams. They grabbed their gloves, trash bags, hedge clippers, rakes, shovels, and wheelbarrows provided by the nature center. Each team moved to their designated work site, ready to start!

A team focusing on the gardens removed prolific weeds. Meanwhile, the rest of the teams cleared out all the overgrown tall grass and weeds in areas the nature center will install an apiary for visitors to check out. An apiary is a collection of beehives where honey bees are kept.

Two and half hours later, WeLoveU volunteers tied up a total of 45 heavy-duty trash bags. This simple action inspired the Sawgrass Nature Center staff and visitors alike. 

Executive Director, Allan Rose, responded to the group’s efforts by saying, “We would like to book you to come back!”

He extended an invitation to WeLoveU to attend their 3rd annual Orchid Festival in April. About 800-1,000 people attend from all over the country to browse over 20 orchid, plant, and garden vendors. At the festival, volunteers can set up an area to spread awareness about WeLoveU and its initiatives. 

Volunteer Coordinator Heather Nelson said, “For us, it means everything! It is amazing to see people that really care about wildlife and about our environment, who are willing to come out when it is 90 degrees outside and trump through grass, snakes, spiders and bees to help us out.”

UN SDG #15 & #17

WeLoveU’s partnership with the Sawgrass Nature Center and Wildlife encompasses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals specifically Life on Land and Partnership for the Goals. By collaborating, ambitious targets of the 2030 Agenda will be achieved. The nature center’s passion for protecting the animals and WeLoveU’s dedication to preserving the environment brought forth wonderful results. Both parties look forward to working together again. 

In addition, WeLoveU’s Clean World Movement continues to spread awareness around the world the importance of environmental protection in the face of climate change. 

Read more about WeLoveU’s environmental cleanups

 

Fifty WeLoveU Volunteers Tidy up North King Street in Virginia

Fifty WeLoveU Volunteers Tidy up North King Street in Virginia

Cleaner City, Cleaner World!

The start of every year is full of vitality, new opportunities, and most commonly—resolutions. It’s the same case for the International WeLoveU Foundation East Coast Region. In 2019, WeLoveU is planning and mapping out fresh and new ways to positively impact the global family. In spite of new ideas, there’s nothing like WeLoveU’s roots of carrying out volunteer service.

More than 50 volunteers from various backgrounds joined together to tidy up the streets of Hampton, Virginia. In this worldwide effort to raise awareness about environmental protection, volunteers targeted a one-mile stretch along North King Street.

The volunteers working joyfully cleaned the area thoroughly and collected more than 200 bags of trash. The debris collected at this year’s cleanup ranged from items like bottles and mattresses to old tires and file cabinets, just to name a few. The total estimated weight of the debris from the cleaning frenzy is more than 7,000 pounds.

One Step at a Time

This cleanup was in partnership with the Hampton Clean City Commission and the Hampton Police Department. A local news station also supported the team by broadcasting WeLoveU’s efforts. By working with local agencies, WeLoveU can have better insight into the needs of the community. As a result, volunteers can work towards the same goal and work in unity.

All the participants hope to inspire neighbors and families locally and globally to make any and every effort to maintain a cleaner city and overall—a cleaner world. A cleanup of this size may be seen as small compared to the vast amount of land there is to clean. However, to WeLoveU volunteer’s, they’re motivated to help even in the slightest way.

Through these efforts, they’re working towards environmental protection in five main areas: clean water, oxygen, region, life, and descendants. These components make up the Clean WORLD Movement that WeLoveU has been working on for many years. This movement also works towards fulfilling the United Nations SDGs, specifically Climate Action, Life Below Water, and Life on Land.

WeLoveU Volunteers Kick-Off 2019 with Albemarle Road Cleanup

WeLoveU Volunteers Kick-Off 2019 with Albemarle Road Cleanup

It’s Go Time!

Tasked to clean their region, more than 30 volunteers in Charlotte, North Carolina set out to conquer their first cleanup of 2019. On January 20, the group of volunteers, who prepared to clean despite the cold weather, met on Albemarle Road.

The busy intersection in East Charlotte showed signs of heavy littering.  The volunteers walked the mile-long stretch on Albemarle Road. Along the way, they picked up debris from glass, plastic bottles, to remains from previous car accidents. In total, they filled up more than 20 bags of trash.

They lightened the neighborhood by removing trash from in between the bushes, the grass, and from the street curbs. The path they walked on Sunday in unity, paved the way for a greener neighborhood.

All of their efforts are in order to beautify the streets of Charlotte while creating a cleaner and safer environment. This volunteer service activity also caught the attention of local residents. Given the high volume of drivers, residents asked the group what they were doing exactly.

Cleaning One Area at a Time

Essentially, the WeLoveU participants were taking the first steps in purifying the world. The WeLoveU Foundation tackles five areas in environmental protection: clean water, oxygen, region, life, and descendants.

Each facet is equally important to maintaining a Clean WORLD. In fact, the Clean WORLD Movement is WeLoveU’s worldwide initiative to raise awareness of the importance of environmental protection in the face of climate change.

Volunteers across the board enjoyed participating in this activity. The weather in Charlotte ranging between 40-50 degrees could not deter them from accomplishing what they set out to do. A local TV station also aired the volunteers Sunday afternoon cleanup.

Cleaning up the local streets is no trivial deed. A beautiful community is only possible when we make efforts to clean our neighborhoods hand-in-hand. Whether it’s cleaning streets, parks, or public facilities, WeLoveU encourages family and neighbors alike to participate in environmental cleanups.

WeLoveU Volunteers Adopt Comfort Tyler Park in Syracuse, NY

WeLoveU Volunteers Adopt Comfort Tyler Park in Syracuse, NY

Since adopting Comfort Tyler Park, WeLoveU volunteers collected 62 bags of leaves, 30 bags of weeds, and shoveled five inches of snow.

Syracuse—a city tucked in the corners of New York State—is home to the Erie Canal Museum and its well-known educational institution, Syracuse University. The city frequently implements new programs to better the lives of its residents and the community. One of those programs is the Clean-up ‘Cuse Trash and Litter Program, otherwise known as the “Adopt-a-Block” program.

Earlier this year, Mayor Ben Walsh announced the program to inspire residents to pick up trash year round. This sparked the interest of local WeLoveU volunteers who feel strongly about serving their neighbors through volunteerism. The group adopted Comfort Tyler Park in July that’s nestled by Comstock Avenue and East Colvin Street. Adopting a street or park requires monthly cleanups for two years.

“Make this world better, we’ve got this together!”

Since its adoption, WeLoveU volunteers visited the park to clean and maintain it regardless of the weather conditions. Because of the changes in season, volunteer’s tasks varied as the park required different types of maintenance. For example, in the summertime, volunteers picked up trash, pulled up weeds, and laid down fresh mulch. Meanwhile, in the fall, the group raked up leaves and shoveled snow in late November. Before cleaning, volunteers huddle and cheer together saying, “Make this world better, we’ve got this together!”

Thirty WeLoveU volunteers cleaned Comfort Tyler Park for the first time on July 22, 2018. Teams split up to pick up litter, remove weeds, and lay fresh mulch. A handful of volunteers traveled from Watertown and Rochester, New York.

Volunteers are seen removing trash intertwined in fences and removing dead branches on August 26, 2018. This effort is part of WeLoveU’s Clean WORLD Movement, making a pleasant and bright environment for neighbors.

More than two dozen volunteers were raking leaves and pulling up weeds on the playground in the fall. Volunteers typically spending 2 hours at each cleanupA local TV station covered the volunteer’s efforts.

WeLoveU volunteers braved the cold weather to shovel five inches of snow for the safety of the community. Unexpected snowfall in November covered the sidewalks encompassing Comfort Tyler Park.

During the last cleanup of 2018, volunteers diligently raked up leaves. Mayor Ben Walsh and Maria Maldonado-Lewis, the Director of Constituent Services, stopped by to greet the group. Read more about this cleanup on Localsyr.com.

The Streets in Suffolk County Are Abuzz With WeLoveU Volunteers

The Streets in Suffolk County Are Abuzz With WeLoveU Volunteers

Starting The Week Off Right

The town of Babylon was bustling with volunteers from the WeLoveU Foundation Sunday morning on October 28, 2018. Fifty volunteers gathered in Babylon—a town in Suffolk County—that’s located in Long Island, New York. They came together for a street cleanup along Acorn Street from Deer Park Avenue to Straight Path. The total distance averaging about one mile. According to the town’s Chair Councilwoman Jacqueline Gordon, who attended the event, Acorn Street is an economic area.  A number of businesses are located there that generate commerce.

It’s especially important to keep those areas clean and presentable as it attracts residents and out-of-town visitors into the area. Determined to spread love through volunteerism, WeLoveU planned this community service to provide a better environment for all.  Councilwoman Gordon says that this was only the beginning of our ongoing relationship between the Town of Babylon and the WeLoveU Foundation as she kicked-off the event. She then shared a few more words thanking all the volunteers for sacrificing their Sunday morning to attend this cleanup and help the town. She continued by saying, “My hat goes off to you, I salute you.”

Working as One

The cleanup started at 9 a.m. and the group raked leaves up and down the street, collecting garbage until about 11 a.m. Working together brought great results. To clean efficiently, the work was divided into three parts. The volunteers filled roughly 170 bags of trash, leaving the street spotless. While cleaning, people came to the WeLoveU tent to know more about the foundation. The volunteers played a brief introduction video about the organization that depicts its history, diversity, and number of volunteer activities worldwide.

 After watching, she extended her words to WeLoveU’s Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah saying, “I was completely amazed of the numbers of people you’ve been able to mobilize, and the number of people you have involved in the WeLoveU movement has exponentially impacted millions of people.”

In addition to Councilwoman Gordon, Chief Robert Macaluso from the Deer Park Fire Department, and Ambassador Genine Rigney from Deer Park’s Beautification Department also joined the event. The fire chief expressed his gratitude as he believes such an event helps everybody. He added words of encouragement saying, “I think you guys are doing a great job.”

WeLoveU Volunteers Tackle Philadelphia’s Litter on Summerdale Avenue

WeLoveU Volunteers Tackle Philadelphia’s Litter on Summerdale Avenue

Philly’s Efforts for a Cleaner City

Philadelphia—the city of brotherly love—launched a Zero Waste campaign to study the litter patterns and conditions of the city’s streets, vacant lots, transit stations, and other areas to name a few.

The city published an interactive litter index map online to illustrate neighborhood litter ratings throughout the city. In particular, the Oxford Circle section scored a litter index of four; the survey rating scale measures from one (cleanest) to four (most littered). In order to resolve this, a large cleanup effort is required or the use of heavy machinery to remove debris.

Tackling Litter Together

To help the city fulfill their goal of zero litter, 60 WeLoveU volunteers joined forces to clean the Oxford Circle neighborhood on Sunday, October 14, 2018. Specifically, they planned to clean a two-mile stretch along Summerdale Avenue.

This isn’t the first time volunteers have cleaned Philadelphia either. Recently, volunteers carried out a cleanup and revitalized the Tarken Park & Recreation Center and planted wildflowers for cleaner air. These activities were also carried out alongside Pennsylvania State Representative Jared Solomon who supports WeLoveU’s initiatives.

On Sunday morning, volunteers came ready with their brooms, shovels, and trash bags to tackle the task. Their goal was to restore the neighborhood streets by removing all the litter and trash. By doing so, the residents can enjoy a clean and safe area.

During today’s efforts, the WeLoveU volunteers filled 50 trash bags with litter, metal, glass, and other debris from the streets and sidewalks.

Community Support & WeLoveU’s Resolution

Dozens of neighbors came out of their homes to show their appreciation and thank the volunteers. Seeing the teams of WeLoveU volunteers in their signature blue shirts, commuters stopped their cars as they drove by to thank them for their hard work and care.

The WeLoveU Foundation will continue its efforts in Philadelphia to provide a safer and more sustainable environment. By working together with community leaders, WeLoveU hopes to encourage all people of the global village to make united efforts to achieve and maintain a clean environment.

The revitalization efforts are part of a global campaign called the Clean World Movement. WeLoveU launched this initiative and is seen in more than 500 regions worldwide. Click here to learn more about the Clean World Movement.

Lockport’s South Street Is Spruced up by WeLoveU Volunteers

Lockport’s South Street Is Spruced up by WeLoveU Volunteers

Thirty minutes east from the Niagra Falls is the city of Lockport, New York. It’s named after a set of Erie Canal locks found in the city. Within the friendly community with historic roots are seen volunteers from the WeLoveU Foundation. Forty volunteers traveled north from Buffalo, NY to participate in a cleanup on October 7, 2018.

How It All Began

Arriving in Lockport by 10 a.m., they drove to South Street where they stopped in front of an abandoned building. Next door neighbors refer to it as an eyesore because of its unpleasant graffiti on every wall as well as the weeds and dead shrubs that surround it.

Because of their concern, the building was brought up in recent town hall meetings. Residents asked for assistance to clean up the area. However, at the time, resources were limited and coordinating enough volunteers became a challenge. 

When the WeLoveU Foundation heard about their concern, volunteers sprang into action. They saw this as a golden opportunity to bring happiness to the Lockport residents.

With bright smiles and bright blue shirts that read WeLoveU, the volunteers covered the unsightly graffiti with a fresh coat of paint. Another team pulled up the weeds and removed the dead shrubs. They brightened the atmosphere by planting colorful perennial flowers. Also, volunteers picked up trash and litter along the walkways.

A Special Guest From Lockport Council

Among the volunteers came a special guest—Kelly VanDeMark, Lockport’s Alderwoman of the fourth ward. She wore a WeLoveU shirt and helped alongside volunteers. Afterward, she shared a heartfelt message with the group.

“I’m proud to be an Alderwoman for the fourth ward for the city of Lockport and we’re definitely fortunate to have this organization here today to beautify 232 South Street and I’m absolutely amazed by the positivity and sense the of community that I felt in just a short time so thank you again for all your volunteerism and your hard work and I definitely look forward to seeing this spread in our community.”

Ron Tuohey—an Assistant Store Manager at a Lowe’s in Williamsville, NY, who lives on South Street—expressed his appreciation by bringing landscaping materials. He also participated in beautifying the area with the WeLoveU volunteers.

Overall, it was a meaningful event bringing residents, local store managers, and Lockport officials together. Everyone had the same goal in mind: beautify South Street and share neighborly love through volunteerism. The WeLoveU Foundation plans to continue working with the city of Lockport on future projects, including building a playground in the neighborhood.

70 WeLoveU Volunteers Clean Boston’s Back Bay Fens

70 WeLoveU Volunteers Clean Boston’s Back Bay Fens

Inside the Emerald Necklace

The Back Bay Fens, otherwise known as The Fens, is located in Boston, Massachusetts. The Fens is one of many parks that form the Emerald Necklace: a 1,100-acre parkland extending from Back Bay through Franklin Park in Dorchester.

Since its establishment in 1879, the park offers an eclectic mix of community gardens, athletic fields, picnic sites, memorials, and historic structures. To further conserve Back Bay Fens, WeLoveU volunteers participated in a cleanup.

Round Three!

It was here that 70 WeLoveU volunteers came together in Boston for their third regional cleanup on August 26, 2018. Volunteers traveled from New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine and from the local Boston area.

Beginning early in the morning, the group was joined by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, whom they’ve partnered with before on other projects. They supported the WeLoveU volunteers and supplied leaf and trash bags, rakes, trash pickers, and shovels.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

The large group divided into four teams to break down the work. One team was responsible for cleaning the benches, another the athletic courts, scoreboard and water gates.

Also, volunteers also stopped by the World War II Memorial, located southwest of the park, and cleaned for an hour. During that time, volunteers picked up dead branches, debris, waste, and raked leaves. By noon, volunteers returned to the meeting area with a total of 75 bags—estimating 750 pounds.

During the cleanup, people visiting the park noticed the volunteers and thanked them for keeping the park nice and clean.

A Boston resident said, “You’re awesome. I am a neighbor; I live across the street. I walk these parks every day and just really appreciate you all being out here. This really makes a huge difference. Thank you very much.”

In addition to cleaning, a WeLoveU information tent was set up near the basketball courts by Jersey Street. Panels depicting how WeLoveU’s activities align with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals were also on display.

While wrapping up the day’s activities, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department expressed their gratitude to the volunteers. In return, the department received an enthusiastic “We love you!” cheer from the volunteers.

Through this cleanup, volunteers hope to continue sharing their care and support for the neighborhood. Their goal of making a difference and promote cleanliness was accomplished through the unity of the volunteers.

Planting Trees to Develop Gainesville’s Community Garden

Planting Trees to Develop Gainesville’s Community Garden

Around thirty volunteers from the WeLoveU Foundation in Central Florida partnered with Keep Alachua County Beautiful for a  tree planting project in Gainesville, Florida.

Planting trees reduce air pollution by filtering dust and pollutants from the air we breathe. Additionally, volunteers are planting trees to develop Greater Duval Neighborhood Association Community Garden. The garden was founded for local citizens to take advantage of the natural resources grown within.

WeLoveU volunteers traveled from numerous towns and cities in Florida. They traveled from Leesburg, Orlando, Winter Park, Kissimmee, and Daytona Beach to participate in the tree planting volunteer service at 10 a.m on August 19, 2018.

Despite their long journey, traveling two and a half hours, volunteers were excited. For many of them, it was their first time participating in a tree planting project. Before hitting the ground, all the volunteers gathered for an opening picture in their bright blue WeLoveU polo shirts.

Meeting the Experts

Shirley McNish, Treasurer of the Greater Duval Neighborhood Association and Coordinator of the Community Garden, also participated. She was working alongside volunteers providing careful instructions. She mentioned that she has been waiting three years to plant this community garden, but not many working hands have been available. She expressed her gladness and thankfulness to the WeLoveU volunteers for joining today to expand the garden.

Andrew Ingram, the Project Coordinator from Keep Alachua County Beautiful, also came and brought tools such as shovels and gloves for the volunteers to carry out the work. The trees were also donated with the help of several organizations in the city of Gainesville.

Planting Trees for Clean Air

After receiving gardening instructions from Shirley, an experienced gardener herself, the volunteers promptly began transporting each tree to its new home. In groups of three, they aligned beside each other and started digging. Mustering all of their strength, they struck the ground with shovels to create a resting place for each tree.

After the holes were deep and wide enough, they planted the trees, filling each trench with water followed by soil. Drops of sweat fell from their suntanned foreheads, but they did not stop until they accomplished their tasks. In only two hours, the volunteers planted 13 saplings; among the trees were apple, plum, pecan, fig, and crepe myrtle trees.

Lavarn, a WeLoveU volunteer from Winter Park, said, “This was a really amazing experience to come out here today in Gainesville to actually plant trees. Trees are very necessary for life because we need oxygen that comes from trees for us to live. So this opportunity was amazing for us because we can also beautify this area in Gainesville.”

Around 12:30 p.m., the volunteers wrapped up. Also, Keep Alachua County Beautiful prepared lunch for the group. Afterward, they came together for one last group picture with the coordinators.

Kind Words From the Coordinators

McNish expressed her happiness saying, “To all of the volunteers and WeLoveU, I encourage you all to just keep doing what you are doing. There are many people like the Greater Duval Community who need your help and they are waiting for it. You reached out to me, I did not know anything about you and I am in love with you all. Thank you, I appreciate you all.”

Ingram also shared words with the volunteers saying, “This community garden is a great thing; locals have been asking for it. The WeLoveU Foundation does great work, and this tree planting is just a little sample of what they do. The message they deliver through what they do cannot really get much better than that.  You cannot beat that!”

Responding to their kind words, volunteers chanted “We love you!” and headed back to their respective homes.

WeLoveU Volunteers Clean Philadelphia’s McVeigh Recreation Center

WeLoveU Volunteers Clean Philadelphia’s McVeigh Recreation Center

WeLoveU volunteers cleaned the McVeigh Recreation Center to make a pleasant and bright environment for their neighbors.

In the Suburbs of Philadelphia

The summer heat couldn’t stop 70 WeLoveU volunteers from traveling to the McVeigh Recreation Center for a cleanup on August 12, 2018. The center hosts after-school activities like arts and crafts, and outdoor activities. WeLoveU volunteers found it important to clean this space because it’s frequently used by children. The day’s agenda included collecting trash and removing graffiti around the building.

Graffiti’s Footprint on Society 

In Philadelphia, the spring and summer season report an influx in graffiti. In 1984, the city’s former mayor established an Anti-Graffiti Network to combat the spread of graffiti. It dampens the city’s reputation when it’s seen on businesses, parks, and schools. Environmentally speaking, graffiti is also toxic and emits fumes into the air, which promotes global warming.

By participating in this cleanup, WeLoveU is improving the center’s safety by removing graffiti and litter. This revitalization project serves to fulfill the organization’s Clean World Movement. It’s an environmental campaign aiming to provide a clean world not only for this generation but future generations.

Volunteers Working Together

Prepared and ready to go, volunteers brought with them shovels, trash bags, and supplies for removing graffiti. To tackle the big work ahead, volunteers split up into teams. One team removed the graffiti along the recreation center’s walls. Meanwhile, another team pulled up weeds and picked up the trash surrounding the playground and baseball field. Volunteers collected 35 bags of trash including metal, broken glass, and wrappers. 

The day isn’t complete without meeting the community members whom WeLoveU is directly impacting. Neighbors stepped out of their homes and spoke with some volunteers. They began thanking the volunteers after learning about WeLoveU and the motivation to clean the McVeigh Recreation Center. The volunteers certainly grabbed the attention of drivers with their signature blue shirts.

The WeLoveU Foundation will continue its efforts in Philadelphia to provide and maintain a clean and safe environment, inviting the community to participate in this global movement. Click here to read about other activities WeLoveU volunteers carried out in Philadelphia. 

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