SCA and MUFG Team Up to Conserve Midwestern Bird Species, Clean the Florida Coast, and Restore a Southern River
Last November, as part of “MUFG Gives Back” Volunteer Month, SCA teamed up with MUFG Union Bank to kick off an expanded community engagement initiative with conservation projects in New York City, Seattle, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Oakland. This February, SCA and MUFG headed back into the field to bring community conservation to three new cities: Chicago, Atlanta, and Tampa.
In Chicago, February snowstorms didn’t stop volunteers from coming out to serve. SCA organized an indoor conservation service event at the Morton Arboretum, a 1700-acre oasis outside Chicago that seeks to educate the community with indoor and outdoor environmental activities year-round.
At the Arboretum’s Thornhill Education Center, 40 volunteers gathered to learn about the importance of bird conservation from Annette Prince of the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors (a volunteer program operating under the auspices of the Chicago Audubon Society). Annette, who got her first experience with bird conservation through an SCA internship at Point Reyes National Seashore, described the many challenges facing migratory birds traveling through the maze of Chicago’s skyscrapers, and her team’s efforts to rescue and rehabilitate injured birds.
Employee volunteers and families set to work alongside SCA youth leaders to assemble 500 bird rescue kits to be distributed to businesses in the Chicago Loop. In addition, they built 20 bluebird nesting boxes to provide new habitat for the spring nesting season — which SCA youth crews will install in green spaces across Chicago.
“I never knew that so many birds hit skyscrapers in Chicago, and that this was such an issue,” said MUFG employee Anjum Sarwar. “I’m taking a few of these rescue kits home with me — if I find a stunned bird downtown, now I’ll know what to do and who to call!”
“I hope everyone learned a few things they can take away today,” said Chicago Bird Collision Monitors Director Annette Prince. “Many of these songbird species ﬂy thousands of miles each year, and they need all the help they can get on this amazing journey. Thank you for helping us help the birds!”
Meanwhile, over 1000 miles south of the wintry Midwest, MUFG PurePoint volunteers joined SCA on the sunny beaches of Tampa to clean up the Florida coastline.
Working with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful — whose mission is to promote a culture of environmental stewardship through volunteer and educational opportunities across the Tampa region — SCA and MUFG PurePoint mobilized 50 volunteers to help clean up Picnic Island Park. Local SCA alumni and students from King High School and the University of South Florida joined in to collect trash and debris that had washed up along the coastline, including cups, bottles, even a kite stuck in a palm tree. They also found horseshoe crab shells — evidence of the local widllife they were working to protect.
“I live shortly away from this park in the Tampa area and never knew it existed until today!” said MUFG PurePoint volunteer Alex Ream. “It’s awesome working with SCA to clean the park up — I hope to come back to bring my dog here soon!”
In another kind of waterfront cleanup, MUFG volunteers in Atlanta joined SCA at Zonolite Park to help restore the city’s beloved Chatahoochee River. Despite rain showers, two dozen participants sporting galoshes and wielding trash grabbers headed down to the riverfront to collect and bag trash before it could enter the watershed and harm native plant and animal species.
Working in partnership with Chatahoochee Riverkeeper, which advocates for the protection of the Chatahoochee’s waters, volunteers also helped improve park infrastructure, refurbishing a bridge and drainage channel to help ensure that stormwater can be funnelled efficiently back to the river without eroding park trails.
By the end of the day, volunteers had removed almost 450 pounds of debris — taking care to separate out 150 pounds of recyclables — and improved 1/3 acre of riverfront.
“We volunteer every month, and this was a really well-organized event,” said volunteer Kat Ivey. “I appreciate the efforts of SCA and MUFG to conserve our local natural resources — thanks for all that you do!”
MUFG Union Bank has helped to mobilize more than 500 community volunteers across 8 cities as part of this year’s MUFG Gives Back partnership with SCA. Big thanks to MUFG for their support of SCA conservation projects across the country! Stay tuned for ways you can join the efforts in your community at www.thesca.org/events.