Program Spotlight: Mobile Baykeeper AmeriCorps Team
Host Organization: Mobile Baykeeper
MBK AmeriCorps Program Staff: Casi (kc) Callaway, Mobile Baykeeper Executive Director and Program Director; Cade Kistler, Baykeeper Patrol Site Supervisor; JJ Moody, Development Director and Volunteer Engagement Site Supervisor; Ilka Porter, SWAMP Site Supervisor; Emilee Foster, Mobile Baykeeper Administrator; Astoria Jellett, Communications Coordinator; Meredith Diskin, Program Coordinator; Elsa McVea, Membership and Events Manager
Counties Served: Mobile, Baldwin, Jefferson, Shelby, Calhoun, Etowah, DeKalb, Coosa, St. Clair, Clay, Chilton, Talladega, Cleburne, Elmore, Autauga
MBK AmeriCorps Description: The Baykeeper Patrol Program (including Coosa) researches local pollution problems to improve water quality, reduce impacts from stormwater, sewer, and/or industrial pollution. The Volunteer Program at Mobile Baykeeper seeks potential volunteers and cultivates them to become local environmental stewards by organizing and providing activities that will enhance our local environment and community. The Strategic Watershed Awareness and Monitoring Program (SWAMP) is a public awareness and education campaign and citizen-based environmental monitoring program.
Number of Members Serving: Baykeeper Patrol: 4; Baykeeper Patrol Coosa: 1; Volunteer Engagement: 2; SWAMP: 4
Member Responsibilities: The main responsibilities of the Baykeeper Patrol (including Coosa) members include conducting site inspections, patrolling local waterways, assisting with comment letters and policy issues, investigating citizen concerns, collecting water quality samples, documenting environmental pollution, and creating environmental issue fact sheets. AmeriCorps Members will receive experience with environmental issues including stormwater, sewer, and industrial pollution, state and federal regulations and permit reviews and gain skills in field sampling techniques.
The main responsibilities of the members of Volunteer Engagement include training and mobilization of volunteers, organize and host several community cleanups, recycling activities, and invasive species removals for volunteers. Members will also coordinate and collaborate with local community groups and non-profit organizations to increase overall participation in environmental stewardship activities and make a substantial difference in Mobile and Baldwin counties. AmeriCorps members will organize cleanups in specific waterways, recruit and communicate with volunteers, develop outreach materials, create recycling and greening options for of all Mobile Baykeeper events, document litter removal and recycling efforts, collaborate with local community groups and non-profits.
The main responsibility of the SWAMP members include outreach to students and citizen community groups; and dissemination of educational materials and lesson plan creation. AmeriCorps members will seek out interested organizations to develop, organize, and present school-based watershed presentations, as well as host volunteer monitoring workshops. Baykeeper and AmeriCorps members will empower citizens and train them as water quality monitors that test local waterways on a monthly basis. Members will also host community cleanups and additional experiential learning activities as needed.
What the program hopes to accomplish at the end of the program year: By the end of the program year, Baykeeper Patrol AmeriCorps members will have an increased knowledge of environmental issues including stormwater, sewer, and industrial pollution, state and federal regulations and permit reviews and increased skills in field sampling techniques including: temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, alkalinity, hardness, turbidity, and bacteria. Ultimately, the long-term outcomes of the program include a decrease in stormwater pollutants reaching Alabama's waterways, improved water quality resulting in healthier aquatic habitats, and the cultivation of environmental stewards.
By the end of the program year, Volunteer Engagement members will increase community knowledge of the following: Mobile Baykeeper, volunteer opportunities that are available, and environmental literacy. Long-term goals of the program include changes in community behavior about litter and pollution, a cultivated sense of responsibility among citizens, the development of a well-educated and trained group of volunteers that will be significantly more active in the watershed, and an improved environmental literacy leading to civic responsibility in the area.
By the end of the program year, SWAMP AmeriCorps members will increase the knowledge base of the participants in watershed basics, the environmental impacts the watershed faces, how to protect the watershed, recycling options, and ways to reduce impact including sustainability principles. The long-term outcomes of this program will improve environmental stewardship leading and create interest in participating in environmental stewardship in the future.