Volunteer Appreciation Week: A Note From Emily Ford, Community Programs Manager

  • April 24, 2020
  • News

During this 2020 Volunteer Appreciation Week, I want to reflect on the powerful, amazing work that volunteers have done, and continue to do, for Galveston Bay.

Galveston Bay is one of the largest and most productive estuaries in the United States. The Bay faces many challenges such as loss of coastal habitat, reduction in wildlife populations, and insufficient freshwater inflows.

At Galveston Bay Foundation, we work to preserve and protect Galveston Bay on the upper Texas coast through programs in land conservation, habitat restoration, environmental education and outreach, advocacy and research. In order to increase public awareness about Galveston Bay and combat issues it faces, we developed and implemented hands-on volunteer events and programs.

Marsh Mania, one of our signature community-based restoration events, began in 1999 when a national record was set for a number of volunteers involved in a single-day marsh restoration event. Since then, more than 8,000 Galveston Bay Foundation volunteers have restored over 215 acres of marsh habitat in Galveston Bay. That is the equivalent of 165 NFL football fields!

Every year, thousands of volunteers help us complete marsh restoration projects, marine debris cleanup events, oyster reef restoration, land stewardship workdays, water quality monitoring, bottlenose dolphin research, environmental education, and the list goes one. In the year 2019 alone, over 2,600 volunteers donated over 11,700 hours of their time to help the Bay.  We could not succeed in preserving and enhancing Galveston Bay without our valued, hard-working, and dedicated volunteers.

During this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, we truly miss our volunteers. Though we continue to work as a staff to address the issues that Galveston Bay faces, it is just not the same without our volunteers. We are grateful for the volunteers who have helped with tasks like video editing, as we work to bring the Bay to you virtually, and the Water Monitors who are still actively and individually collecting water samples when and where they safely can.

I look forward to the day that we can safely get back to protecting the Bay, together.  For now, we have a virtual Bay Day Festival to look forward to on May 16th! I hope you are safe and well and that you can join us.


Emily Ford
Community Programs Manager & Chief Safety Officer