HAWAII RESIDENTS USE ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP TO STRENGTHEN THEIR COMMUNITIES MID-PANDEMIC
Local environmental nonprofit, 808 Cleanups, tracks record-level community engagement with their “Adopt A Site” program amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
From 808 Cleanups, March 29, 2021
O‘AHU, HAWAI‘I – Environmental stewardship has never been this popular. Despite the raging COVID-19 pandemic, the volunteer-based nonprofit, 808 Cleanups, has sky-rocketed their environmental impact through a sudden increase in community engagement with their Adopt A Site program.
“During the pandemic, we've actually had even more people reach out to us than before,” said Michael Loftin, Executive Director and Co-Founder of 808 Cleanups. “It’s a very engaging outdoor activity, so it does help people on a physical, mental, and emotional level.”
The Adopt A Site program allows volunteers of all ages to become stewards of meaningful places in their own community – whether it’s a favorite park, hiking trail, beach, or underwater reef. By simply downloading the 808 Cleanups App, volunteers are given the tools to adopt their own site, request cleanup supplies, link up with nearby volunteers, and coordinate based on their own schedule.
Environmental stewardship has become one of the few COVID-safe outdoor activities that Hawai‘i residents can engage in – allowing volunteers to maintain a connection with their community and environment while still safely practicing social distancing.
“It tends to go along with the rules naturally – people clean up solo or with their families and neighbors – in their social bubbles, so to speak,'' said Loftin. “Even through the quarantine period there have been over 400 volunteer engagements each month.”
By providing local community members with the resources to organize their own cleanups, the nonprofit has now tracked a grand total of over 6,000 site cleanups, 33,000 volunteer engagements, and 600,000 pounds of litter removal.
“I’ve always wanted to help the community, and with the pandemic I had a lot more free time, so it was a great opportunity to start,” said Jen Miya, a new volunteer steward of Pu‘u o Kaimuki. “I think every little bit counts. If each person picked up one piece of trash, if everyone just does their part, we can keep places clean.”
“The Adopt A Site program provides a great opportunity to do cleanups on your own time,” said Jay Lee, a volunteer steward of over six years based in Downtown Honolulu. “It is unfortunate to see the ridiculous amounts of trash ending up on our beaches, parks, neighborhoods, and hiking trails. All it takes is initiative to get involved.”
“It’s a team effort. When you take pride in your community, the community thrives and grows,” said Deb Cadiente, a volunteer steward of over four years in Liliha. “The other volunteers are so supportive and willing to teach, so it’s become a really good ‘ohana. I think everybody should do some kind of volunteerism. It helps you find a little bit of purpose.”
To learn more about volunteering with the Adopt A Site program, visit https://808cleanups.org/adopt-a-site/, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 808-892-3464, or DM “808 CLEANUPS” on Instagram or Facebook.