STROUD TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Hundreds of people took off from work today in the Poconos but it wasn’t to play hooky.
Instead, volunteers from different businesses helped out various nonprofits today as part of the Pocono Mountains United Way Day of Caring. Photojournalist Tom Gregory made a stop at the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge where rakes, shovels, and clippers were in full use.
“Today we’re out volunteering with the united way helping with our community service program, to help clean up the nature preserve here,” said John DeCusatis of Barry Isett and Associates. “Today we’re out weeding some curb appeal on the entrance getting ready for an event,” he added.
“We thought the nature preserve was right up our alley, being an engineering company. We do environmental work. We’re familiar with native plants and landscaping,” noted DeCusatis.
“So the more we can make this site more public accessible and more appealing to the public, more people will learn about the refuge and the importance of clean water,” added Bob Heil, Executive Director of Brodhead Watershed Association.
“As we all know, when we have a yard, it keeps growing and there needs to be maintained. Trails need to be cut back a little bit. Native plants in the flower gardens need some mulch and some care,” Lia Mclaughlin, Deputy Refuge Manager told Eyewitness News.
“We only have one dedicated staff member here on the refuge so volunteer help is really what we need in order to do what we do,” added McLaughlin. “So the beautiful thing about this location is that we have a series of paved paths because it used to be a golf course and that allows a lot of different types of user groups to enjoy the refuge.”
“The built-in trails here are probably a great asset to be able to go around and navigate and see some of the natural plants,” DeCusatis noted.
“We really can’t do what we do without volunteers,” stressed McLaughlin.
Volunteers helped at over a dozen nonprofits in Monroe County this year.