Protecting the Wildlife’s Habitat
The WeLoveU Foundation partnered with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville, Florida. Around 500 species of wildlife call the National Wildlife Refuge their home. Within the refuge is the Sendler Education Outpost—a pavilion-style structure—which hosts environmental education activities and programs year-round.
More than 40 volunteers went to the outpost for a cleanup on June 17, 2018. The goal behind it is to create a cleaner and safer environment for the hundreds and thousands of students who frequently visit on field trips and the wildlife that inhabits the refuge. This effort is part of WeLoveU’s Clean World Movement to raise awareness about the importance of environmental protection in the face of climate change.
Getting an Early Start
The group of volunteers met at the gazebo in the Sendler Education Outpost around 9 in the morning. For some, this meant their first time participating in a cleanup. By 11 a.m., National Wildlife Refuge volunteer coordinators, Emily and David, began by introducing themselves and welcoming the volunteers. Before the cleanup even began, they presented WeLoveU with a Certificate of Appreciation.
In addition, the coordinators explained where volunteers can start from and provided equipment. Tools used to carry out tasks carefully included gloves, garden loppers, and rakes.
Working Together in Sendler Education Outpost
For three hours, they worked in small groups; each person with a different role. While some removed weeds entangled on trees, others cut thick palm leaves and tall grass with loppers. Another group grouped the debris into piles and others loaded them onto the Wildlife Refuge pickup trucks. From there, the trash was disposed in designated locations outside the outpost.
Despite the strong heat of the day, everyone worked hard without showing signs of slowing down until the job was completed. At the end of the cleanup, the volunteers double-checked to make sure all the trash was collected and all supplies were returned. The 40 volunteers successfully cleaned five acres of land and collected nearly 10,000 pounds of vegetation.
By the early afternoon, the group returned to the gazebo. The Merritt Island National Refuge awarded each volunteer with a free beach pass to the Canaveral National Seashore and a special sticker. The volunteers responded cheerfully, chanting their signature “We love you!” greeting to the Wildlife Refuge workers.