Work with Your Hands
Thank you for your interest in being a volunteer! Before you make a commitment to provide your service, we want you to know what kinds of opportunities are available in your community. When you make a pledge to provide a volunteer service, one of the Clear Choices Clean Water partners in our area will be notified and contact you with specifics on the kinds of activities that the partner agency has available for you to get involved in locally. Listed below are some of the general activities happening in our area. Depending on your interests, indicated in the Volunteer Service Pledge, you may be contacted by TMACOG, Partners for Clean Streams, Rain Garden Initiative, one of the local Park Systems, or even your local city or county. Many partners are working together to Give Water a Hand here, and you are the most important part of caring for our water.
In the greater Toledo-area, trash pollution is becoming more and more prevalent in our streams, rivers, and Lake Erie. The presence of marine debris has implications for water quality, wildlife habitat, recreation, the economy, and so much more. Local organizations, like Partners for Clean Streams, offer citizens the opportunity to volunteer for stream cleanup programs that work towards reducing and eliminating trash pollution. Partners for Clean Streams offers several stream cleanup programs throughout the year, such as Get the Lead Out and Clean Your Streams 365, which are flexible to fit your schedule and done with our supplies and guidance.
Perhaps the most recognized stream cleanup that Partners for Clean Streams coordinates is Clean Your Streams, a single-day cleanup in September where approximately 1,000 people work together to clean our waterways and collect tons (literally) of trash. All of these stream cleanups are great for groups of all ages and make a difference in caring for our water in our communities. Pledge to volunteer for a stream cleanup because water is worth your time!
If you see someone throwing or dumping trash into a stream or drain, please call your local law enforcement.
Storm Drain Marking
Along our city streets and highways, and in neighborhoods and parking lots are storm drains. Storm drains are designed to collect and redirect water from rainfall and flooding events into a series of pipes underground. In certain areas around town, these pipes are combined with the sanitary sewer system and the water collected is treated at the waste management facility. However, in most instances around Toledo, storm drains are a separate system of pipes that flow directly into our streams, rivers, and eventually Lake Erie. Being a separate system, the water that enters these storm drains reaches the nearest waterway untreated and unfiltered, causing water quality problems when contaminants from our streets and yards hitch a ride.
Local organizations, like Partners for Clean Streams, mark storm drains to remind residents and business owners that storm drains are for rain and rain only! Marking storm drains aims to reduce illegal dumping and raise awareness of how to properly maintain a storm drain. Good maintenance practices include: keeping drain free of debris like leaves and lawn clippings; being mindful of fertilizer and pesticide use on your property as the excess can run off and enter the storm drain; checking your nearest storm drain before a rain event to ensure it is not clogged or blocked, which can cause flooding; keeping the drain free of trash because the storm drain leads directly to the nearest river, and volunteering with Partners for Clean Streams to mark storm drains and help spread awareness about the importance of storm drains to keeping our waterways clean! Take a pledge to keep storm drains free & clear of debris and to stencil drains to raise awareness in our communities.
Helping rain gardens and native plants
Rain gardens and native plants are important to the health of our waterways and urban areas as they help reduce stormwater runoff, reduce soil erosion, remove pollutants, provide habitat for wildlife like songbirds and pollinators, and help reduce high temperatures caused by paved surfaces.
Native plantings, especially when planted in rain gardens, also help by capturing and storing rainfall and runoff and help the water infiltrate the soil, replenishing our groundwater supply and helping maintain water flow during dry times. Holding more water in place also decreases flooding and erosion downstream. Learn more about rain gardens here.
Whether you have a green thumb or you are new to gardening, rain gardens and native plants can use your help!
Volunteers of all ages and abilities can participate in native planting events and rain garden maintenance. Please be sure to consider age and ability when offering to serve as most of these events involve physical activity. And remember, with your service, you’ll be making a difference in the community and for our water resources!
Stormwater runoff is the number one cause of stream impairment in urban areas, click here to learn more about how rain gardens and native plants reduce stormwater runoff impacts.
Like native plants, trees play an important role in ensuring healthy waterways. Trees in our neighborhoods absorb rain water to prevent flooding and runoff pollution. When planted directly along stream banks and in floodways, trees play an even more critical part in helping filter pollutants, holding soil in place, and reducing some of the negative impacts of urban development.
Volunteers of all ages and abilities can participate in tree planting events. Please be sure to consider age and ability when offering to serve as most planting events involve physical activity. And remember, with your service, you’ll be making a difference in the community and for our water resources!
Did you know that Ohio has more Tree City USA communities than any other state in the country? These are communities that have committed time and resources to ensuring that citizens and the environment reap the long-term benefits of abundant and healthy trees. Find out if your community is a Tree City USA.
Stormwater runoff is the number one cause of stream impairment in urban areas, click here to learn more about how trees and native plants reduce stormwater runoff impacts.