On a warm Saturday in May, volunteers gathered at Ancarrow's Landing, a park near downtown Richmond, Virginia. With the city's skyline in the distance, more than 50 volunteers spent the morning collecting litter and debris from the shores of the James River. The event, called Día de la Bahía, or "Day of the Bay," is CBF's first shoreline cleanup promoted in English and Spanish.
The event was scheduled to coincide with CBF's annual Clean the Bay Day in Virginia, an event that has engaged 46,000 volunteers over the past 28 years. This year's event marked the first time CBF conducted bilingual outreach, providing CBF's first introduction to many of the day's participants.
"I wasn't familiar with the foundation or the program," says Marvin Cáceres, a Día de la Bahía volunteer and Richmond resident who originally hails from Honduras. "I really like it because we can show our kids, and they are going to pass it on." As Cáceres notes, a number of families with young children participated in the event. The kids learned an important lesson in conservation, while delighting in the time spent outdoors.
"It's really nice to see that the kids care about the environment and they understand the importance of what we are doing," says Rocio Gonzalez Watson, then Director of Programs at Sacred Heart Center in Southside Richmond, a hub for the city's Latino community. The center was vital to helping to get the word out and encouraging volunteer participation.
"This opens it up for so many more people to come out and make a real difference," says Kenny Fletcher, CBF's Virginia Communications Coordinator. "Believe me, we need all of the help that we can get when it comes to saving the Bay."
Looking ahead, plans are underway to further CBF's outreach to Latino communities throughout the watershed, from additional events in the Richmond area, to translating portions of our website. To start, we published a blog post about the event in Spanish, to further engage our new advocates for clean water. Meanwhile, Día de la Bahía was a great first step towards reaching a new audience and a source of pride for the day's participants. "After you finish, you feel proud because you know that you are saving nature. I feel really proud, really happy," says Cáceres.
For years, Efrain Carcamo and his three young children, on their own, have regularly cleaned up trash along the James River in Richmond. Find out why, and how they are inspiring others. LEARN MORE
Photo Credits: 1. Kenny Fletcher/CBF Staff, 2. CBF Staff, 3. CBF Staff, 4. Jay Fleming.