A Passion for Hometown Shines Through Service
There are few things that compare to the love for a hometown. The traditions, local eateries, and generations of families of this setting are simply unforgettable. This spirit of togetherness and pride is a special part of the town of Dundalk, and is what drives many of the community members to serve as volunteers. A passion for improving their treasured community is met in a powerful way through the efforts of Andi Blohm, the Volunteer Maryland Coordinator at the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation.
Through Andi’s leadership and collaboration with the staff of her Service Site, Dundalk residents are provided with the firsthand opportunity to participate in various greening efforts that directly improve the quality of their local environment. Throughout Andi’s term of service, Andi has been working hard to improve the greening program, which provides the chance for over 75 volunteers to participate in tree plantings, community clean-ups, storm drain stenciling, stream watching, rain garden construction, and water quality monitoring.
Although Andi’s focus is diverse range of greening opportunities, Andi has been particularly successful in continuing to strengthen and develop the water quality monitoring program, which was created by the Volunteer Maryland Coordinator in the former service year. In the past service year, the program’s foundation was laid with resources and an initial base of volunteers who test piloted the service. Through Andi’s efforts, she has been able to maintain a solid base of six volunteers who regularly study the quality of water of eight monitoring sites within the Bear Creek-Old Road Bay watershed. Volunteers are committed to their ongoing service, and are proud to provide this information that will accurately capture the impact of pollution from excess runoff into the watershed.
Andi’s leadership involves not only the recruitment of these volunteers but training them in the usage and understanding of secchi discs, tools that test the clarity and various components that make up the water. Andi collects the data the volunteers gather from their service and develops educational material to share with community members, stakeholders, and partners, such as the Baltimore County Environmental Protection and Sustainability. In particular, Andi developed a water quality report card, which is a visual guide representing the results of the volunteers’ findings in terms that are welcoming and relatable. The report card allows for any one in the community to understand more about the water they drink and use for daily household tasks.
All in all, the water quality monitoring has been designed to give local residents a welcoming, informative, and impactful chance to study and improve long term aspects of the environment of their much loved community. Andi’s passion for service and her dedication to refining this blossoming effort is undoubtedly an incredible asset for the growth and appreciation of this community.