Protecting Our Waterways
There is a new collaboration between the United Nations Environment Programme and Rotary. Through this partnership, Rotarians are encouraged to clean up, protect, and monitor their local waterways. The strategic partnership aligns with both the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and Rotary’s environment area of focus.
The partnership “brings together Rotary’s community-based solutions and UNEP’s technical expertise,” RI President-elect Stephanie Urchick said when announcing the partnership in January. 
At the center of the partnership is a program enabling Rotary and Rotaract clubs to make commitments to the health of their own nearby waterways. Called “Community Action for Fresh Water,” the program encourages clubs to organize river cleanup days, raise awareness in their communities about the importance of healthy waterways, conduct basic water quality tests, and report their findings.
These locally based activities are crucial to protecting the environment on a global scale, says Rafael Peralta, regional director and representative for the UNEP’s office for North America.
To participate, Rotary and Rotaract clubs can identify a local body of water (river, lake, wetland, or natural reservoir) and commit to protecting and restoring it. They can then engage with the local community and other relevant groups to identify any major threats to the body of water and ultimately develop a plan of action in coordination with nongovernmental organizations, private enterprises, or government agencies.
If your club is interested in learning more, and perhaps adopting a waterway in your area, you can reach out to the District Environmental Sustainability Team for some guidance.
The District Pilot Pollinator Garden at Camp Edmar in the Kutztown area is thriving. The Kutztown Rotary Club led an effort on the Rotary Day of Service to remove leaves and weeds from the garden beds. It appears that all 130 plants survived the winter with no frost, deer, or rabbit damage. Our fingers are crossed that the bees and other pollinator insects will show up soon.
A big thank you to all the Rotarians around our District who participated in an environmental project this spring. Your work to clean up our communities, plant trees, and create pollinator gardens grows every year.  The District Environmental Sustainability Team appreciates all the work you do. We’re looking for more Rotarians to join our team. Please consider it.
Terry Reed
District Environmental Sustainability Chair