Volunteers gather with their collected trash as part of Pearl Riverkeeper’s annual Pearl River Clean Sweep .
The 30th celebration of National Estuaries Week this year was a huge success. Organizations and volunteers from across the country gathered at their local bays, riverfronts, and classrooms to celebrate and learn about the importance of our estuaries and how they benefit our daily lives.
From September 15-22, more than 30,000 volunteers across 21 states, Canada, and Guam, participated in over 105 events.
For example, the Old Women Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve in Huron, Ohio hosted tours of the estuary and invited visitors to join in a bird hike, learn more in their science labs, and participate in canoe trips around the estuary.
On the West Coast, The Bay Foundation in Del Ray, California organized a community restoration event at the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve. Volunteers helped pull invasive species, like iceplant, from the reserve.
This year, National Estuaries Week garnered the most engagement ever on social media. On Twitter alone we had more than 1,200 mentions of #EstuariesWeek and a potential reach of more than 6 million. On Facebook, followers were actively engaging with RAE, sharing and liking our content throughout the week.
RAE once again partnered with CITGO Petroleum to offer Gulf Region Grants in celebration of National Estuaries Week. We regranted $17,990 to eight organizations across the Gulf to support local events.
In partnership with the Congressional Estuary Caucus, we also hosted the 2nd Annual Hill Expo. Representatives from several government agencies were in attendance to showcase their research and resources for coastal habitats. More than 60 staffers attended the expo to learn more from NOAA, EPA, USFWS Coastal Program, and the USDA NRCS.
Cover Photo: Volunteers at Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful’s cleanup event.
Sarina Katz is external affairs manager at Restore America’s Estuaries.