AmeriCorps Week 2021

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AmeriCorps Week: Tribute to Cleanups

By Katie Fagan, AmeriCorps Member, Black Warrior Riverkeeper

This week is AmeriCorps Week, a time dedicated to highlighting the work of AmeriCorps members throughout the country. Black Warrior Riverkeeper hired me in September as its first AmeriCorps member and joined a large community of organizations, including many fellow Waterkeepers, that benefit from having AmeriCorps members serve with them.

My focus has been organizing cleanups throughout the Black Warrior River watershed and enhancing our volunteer engagement. I have enjoyed getting people outside to help tackle the litter problem that we have all seen. Since my start we have been able to host and support 15 cleanups, engage 245 volunteers, and remove 7,084.5lbs of litter from the watershed.  

I am equally excited about our new partnerships forged through this endeavor. Earlier this year we began a collaboration with Birmingham City Councilor Clinton Woods to host two cleanups a month in Birmingham’s District 1 to help remove litter before it reaches our water. These cleanups have been an amazing way to meet more community members that live in the watershed. I have been inspired by how hard people are willing to work to help keep their environment and communities clean. We have hosted 4 of these District 1 events so far and whether we are joined by 8 volunteers or 41, we have remove at least 300lbs of litter at each cleanup. 

Through AmeriCorps we have also been able to build on our relationships with neighboring Waterkeeper organizations in Alabama. Both Cahaba Riverkeeper and Coosa Riverkeeper have AmeriCorps members and through designated service days we have been able to collaborate on cleanups in all three watersheds. To celebrate AmeriCorps week, I teamed up with George Elliott from Cahaba Riverkeeper and Jake Lasseter from Coosa Riverkeeper to clean up a section of Yellowleaf Creek, spend some time exploring the Coosa River watershed, and learn about some of the specific issues impacting it. 

With the weather warming, I will continue expanding our cleanups and partnerships throughout the watershed. If you would like to get involved or know of a place that needs a cleanup, please contact us at [email protected]. If you would like to volunteer at one of our cleanups or just stay up to date on these events, please check out our Eventbrite page as well. Thank you, partners and volunteers!

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