Life’s Most Persistent and Urgent Question

By Jaclyn McIlwain and Tom Damm

Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s compassion and commitment to service, citizens across the country will be volunteering their time and talents to improving their communities this Monday.

Still haven’t decided how you’ll pitch in?

If you live in the Delaware Valley, join us for a trash cleanup at the Bristol Marsh Preserve, located in Bristol Borough, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Trash collected during 2012's Bristol Marsh Clean Up

Trash collected during 2012's Bristol Marsh Clean Up

For the second year in a row, a group of our EPA regional employees will mark the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service by participating in the Heritage Conservancy’s annual Bristol Marsh Cleanup.  It’s one of the initiatives of our employee-led EPA Region 3 Emerging Leaders Network (ELN).  ELN’s Community Service Crew organizes and participates in service events in the greater Philadelphia area.

In the spirit of EPA’s mission and Dr. King’s imploration for service, the ELN and its members are committed to improving our natural spaces, where we gather, recreate, and recharge.

The Bristol Marsh Preserve is one of those special areas.

This freshwater tidal marsh – a type of wetland rarely found in Pennsylvania – offers important feeding grounds for migratory birds, waterfowl and wading birds.  It also provides spawning and nursery areas for fish, improves water quality by removing pollutants and adding oxygen, and supports a variety of recreational activities, like bird watching, nature study and fishing.

The cleanup from 10 a.m. to noon is being organized by the Nature Conservancy, the Heritage Conservancy and Bristol Borough.

Can’t make it to Bristol?  Service projects are happening across the country during this long weekend.    Click here for information on a project near you.

This Monday, take time to answer through action one of Dr. King’s most famous questions, “What are you doing for others?”

About the Authors: Jaclyn McIlwain is a Life Scientist in the Office of NPDES Permits and Enforcement working on coal mine permitting.  She graduated from the University of Delaware with a BS in Environmental Science, and serves as the ELN’s Community Service Crew Lead for the Mid Atlantic Region.  Tom Damm has been with EPA since 2002 and now serves as communications coordinator for the region’s Water Protection Division.