A group of twenty SmartBear employees started off their week by loading up on sunscreen and taking a fleet of canoes for a ride, but they weren’t skipping work. Instead, they were volunteering to clean up the Arlington Reservoir with the Mystic River Watershed Association.
The Arlington Reservoir is overgrown by an invasive plant called water chestnut, which damage the native ecosystem and disrupt recreational use of the water. The Mystic River Watershed Association relies on the help of volunteers to hand-pull the water chestnut every year in order to maintain the health of the reservoir.
The Mystic River Watershed Association is a non-profit organization that aims to monitor water quality and preserve the network of rivers, streams, and lakes that drain into the Mystic River.
The removal of the water chestnut is a major summer initiative that draws more than 950 volunteers each year, but they also host other events including an Earth Day cleanup and the Herring Run and Paddle.
After learning about the threat of water chestnut to recreation and wildlife, SmartBear employees geared up with life jackets and gloves, teamed up with a colleague, and launched canoes equipped with four to seven buckets for holding the water chestnut into the reservoir.
Each pairing rowed to the opposite edge of the reservoir, pulled out the water chestnut, and brought the buckets back to shore to be dumped, dried, and composted. At the end of the event, SmartBear had collected more than 200 buckets of water chestnut.
This event is coordinated to fulfill the paid community service day all SmartBear employees are allowed to take each year. Employees are given the opportunity to work at a nonprofit of their choice, or join one of the organized volunteering days, such as serving meals at Rosie’s Place.
Not only does this initiative encourage employees to take one day a year to give back to their community, but it also provides co-workers a fun way to get to know each other better outside the office.
To find out more about getting involved with the Mystic River Watershed Association, check out their volunteering opportunities and events.
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