by James MacAdam, Green Streets - Green Neighborhoods Program Manager
There’s a lot going on at WMG right now—I wanted to tell you about it because we’re often so busy that we forget to tell people what we’re up to, and because right now you have a rare opportunity to have a big effect on our work through a matching campaign. So here’s a personal view from my perspective in WMG’s Green Streets program, and a personal call for your support:
Here’s what I’m excited about these days: we just held a volunteer workshop to totally makeover a Tucson family’s front yard. 15 volunteers transformed it from a sterile, black-plastic and rock-laden heat island into a runoff-capturing garden of native plants, organic mulch, and (soon) living soil. This workshop, which was followed by blessed afternoon monsoon rain showers, was just the second in some 24 public workshops that WMG is co-hosting with six different Tucson neighborhoods over the next year. Through these projects we will de-pave a closed alley to turn it into a pocket park, install rainwater-fed trees along the entrance of a school, and create rain gardens in the middle of a parking lot, among other things. We will do all of this alongside volunteers from each neighborhood. 20 of these volunteers recently completed a 5-month training with WMG to assess, design, build, and advocate for these kinds of green infrastructure in their communities.
We’re thinking long-term and large-scale, too: my colleague Tory is launching a program for neighborhood folks to teach them the organization, planning, and hands-on skills that they can use to maintain neighborhood green infrastructure features over the long haul. We are hosting a conference next March in Tucson where 200 practitioners from across the Southwest will collaborate, share, and learn about green infrastructure—that is, how we can use natural processes (plants, soils, water and sunlight) to make our communities more beautiful, livable and sustainable.
All of this is just a part of one of WMG’s programs! WMG is breaking boundaries in grassroots conservation and action from Santa Barbara, California, to Panchgani, Maharastra, India. I love the work I do, and I think it’s the work that our world needs: building communities; building human-scale, sustainable systems; and building an ethic of connection and care for each other and for the natural environment—no matter where we live.
Do you believe in this work? Does it contribute to the kind of world you want to live in? Are you (or could you be) one of the several people I hear each week who say “you guys are doing great work over there at WMG?” If so, I ask you to consider supporting the organization with a financial contribution of any size, now. Why now? Because somebody else got excited about our work, too, and decided to match all contributions to WMG between now and August 31. If you want to help, now’s the time to make the greatest impact. I hope you’ll join us.