GEOMEER believes in the importance of nurturing our communities by creating connections and working together. Sometimes being active in your community requires more effort in the summer. School-sponsored activities die down, and lots of extracurriculars like sports teams and choirs are on a break. Life is busy, even in the summer, but here are some easy, summery ways to help out in your community during the next few sunny weeks!
1. Save the Bees!
Most of you have probably been hearing about the crisis our bees are facing all over the world. Bee colonies are collapsing at an alarming rate: so quickly that scientists are worried about bees disappearing completely within a few years. Things like the destruction of bees’ habitats, increasing use of pesticides, and increasing monocultural practices are contributing to the bees’ decline. Bees are important not only because they produce honey, but also because they are key pollinators of the crops we grow: here is a list of foods we will lose without bees. Helping save bees is helping not only your local community, but also our global community and entire planet!
You can get involved by:
-eating lots of honey, especially local honey!
-even considering becoming a beekeeper. It’s pretty easy!
-planting bee-friendly flowers and plants like lavender, thyme, cilantro, borage, sage, fennel, hollyhock, crocus, buttercups, snowdrops, geraniums, asters, calendula, sweet asylum, poppies, zinnias, sunflowers, and heliotrope.
-letting “weeds” like clover and wildflowers grow on your lawn. Bees love them!
-putting out a small dish of water for the bees. If you put little stones in it for them to crawl on, they’ll love it even more!
2. Go to a Festival!
Edmonton’s festivals are part of what makes our city vibrant and thrumming with culture. There are festivals for everyone: from the thrills of K-Days, to the cultural kaleidoscope of Heritage Days, to the decadent dishes at Taste of Edmonton! Check out a full list here, and support the festive, ever-changing Edmonton spirit!
3. Pick Up After Litterbugs!
This one sounds a lot less exciting, but we promise it can be fun! Get a bunch of your friends to come on a nature walk in your neighbourhood or in our river valley one summer afternoon, and pick up garbage as you wander. Bring music, snacks, and organize a reward after you’re done–an evening movie party or barbecue in your backyard! You’ll be helping beautify your community while also giving our planet a break.
4. Yard Sale!
It’s relatively easy to set up a low-key yard sale! Get a bunch of your friends to donate anything from old clothes, to books, to handmade arts and crafts. Make signs so people know where to find you. Then, you get to hang out with your friends all day, and afterwards you can donate the proceeds to a local non-profit, charity, or initiative you’re passionate about.
5. Help Animals!
You can help out animals in tons of different ways:
-adopting an animal from a shelter.
-volunteering with animal shelters to hang out with dogs and cats who need attention and affection.
6. Pledge to Vote!
There’s a federal election coming up in the fall of 2015 that promises to be a big deal. In the last federal election, nearly two out of every three young people did not vote. Be a part of a huge change in our community and our country by pledging to vote, and badgering your friends to pledge as well! (Note: This link is oriented specifically at youth, but everyone can raise awareness and pledge to vote!)
7. Craft Time!
Do you sometimes miss the simple markers-and-glue times of kindergarten art projects? Then this idea is for you! Make cards or cheery posters with your friends or by yourself, and mail them out to children’s hospitals or senior’s homes.
8. Donate Blood!
If crafts aren’t your thing but you’re not squeamish about needles, consider donating blood with Canadian Blood Services at the U of A Health Sciences. It’s easy, pretty quick, and at the end you’ll get free food and juice! Giving blood requires relatively little energy on your part, and helps people who desperately need it.
There are myriads of volunteer opportunities all over Edmonton. You can volunteer with the City, with the Stollery Children’s Hospital, with Canadian Blood Services, at festivals, and at many other places. Here’s a useful search engine that can help you find tons of volunteer opportunities where you can share your energy and talents. Also remember that you can always volunteer right here, with GEOMEER! Contact Geoff Casey for general information about our volunteer positions. From Creative Services Director, to Special Event Photographer, there are plenty of ways to get involved.
10. Give Your Positive Energy!
There are tons of smaller, low-time-commitment things you can do every day to help your community. You can make sure you and your friends are driving responsibly, supporting local businesses, and showing up to community events. Use your creativity and energy to sustain and energize community connection and life. The summer is bursting with opportunities to give to your community, whether it’s by volunteering your time, by building connections with your neighbours and peers, or by just showing up to a park and giving your positive energy to everyone out and about in the sun. Just be sure to wear sunscreen. Have a great summer!