Environmental Volunteerism: An Associate Earth Day Q&A
On this Earth Day, we are pleased to introduce you to H&R Block associate, Bernadette Basham, who is a manager at The Tax Institute. Basham has volunteered at the South Grand River Watershed Alliance to Make Every Block Better. In recognition of Earth Day, we sat down with her to learn more about why she’s passionate about volunteering with an environmental cause and how she’s helping make a difference on our planet. Basham has been volunteering with the SGRWA since 2015, and she served as a Board Member for seven years and transitioned to a volunteer role last year. She works across various projects with them about six times a year.
What made you interested in volunteering with this organization?
I wanted to get involved with a local environmental group and try to make an impact in my community. At the time I lived in Raymore, Missouri, and the South Grand River feeds the Raymore watershed. The SGRWA is a very active and welcoming group and even though I don’t live in Raymore any longer, I still volunteer with them because they do such great work.
What is the main mission of the South Grand River Watershed Alliance, and how does it help the environment?
SGRWA helps protect the watershed by educating private citizens, landowners and public agencies about actions each can take to preserve, protect and restore its waterways. The group also works on community projects that serve as models that individuals, businesses and governments can adopt to protect water quality and water quantity.
What activities have you completed during a volunteer shift?
My favorite volunteer activity is “Stream Team” cleanups. We do these cleanups three times a year. A Stream Team cleanup includes cleaning streams, picking up tons of trash that has polluted our waters, removing invasive plants and planting native plants. It is tough but very rewarding work!
What does it mean to you to Make Every Block Better with H&R Block?
I’m very proud to work for a company that is committed to supporting our communities.
What does Earth Day mean to you, and how do you feel you’re making a difference to the planet with your volunteer efforts?
To me, it is a day for us to reflect how precious our planet is, knowing what we do today can make an impact for generations to come. We all need water to survive, and by cleaning the streams that provide water for our local watersheds, my work is benefitting these local streams. Planting native plants preserves water run-off, improves water quality, and offers essential foods for all forms of local wildlife. I’m excited about the work I do in helping our environment.
What do you recommend other Block associates do to give back to the environment?
I’d recommend landscaping with native plants, only! There are a wealth of resources available to help you learn more about the benefits of native plants and how to incorporate them into your landscaping: Deep Roots, Missouri Prairie Foundation, and Missouri Department of Conversation. I’d recommend getting involved at your local level, because there are thousands of stream team cleanups organized in the spring and fall. Find one locally and make a commitment to help to try to make the Earth a better place.
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