Saturday is National Make a Difference Day. It’s celebrated with enthusiasm in Clark County, where we have many eager volunteers and many organizations that offer Make a Difference Day events. Sadly, the pandemic has put the kibosh on some of these gatherings this year, but not all of them. Here are several designed to encourage Clark County residents to make a difference, safely.
The Watershed Alliance of Southwest Washington is hosting a tree planting on Saturday near 1806 N.E. 41st Circle, Vancouver, with three planting times: 9 to 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. or 2 to 4 p.m. Choose a time when you register at www.thewatershedalliance.org; click on “Make a Difference Day” under the “Events” tab.
Each tree-planting area will be sectioned off and separated from other planting areas by at least 6 feet, and all volunteers must wear masks to keep each other safe. All members of a participating household will plant trees within their own sectioned area. Tree-planters should wear long pants, work gloves, closed-toe shoes and weather-appropriate clothing. Usually the Watershed Alliance provides free snacks and water to show its thanks, but this year volunteers are asked to bring their own snacks and liquid refreshment.
Bring a tree home
Vancouver’s urban forestry program is celebrating Make a Difference Day with a drive-thru tree giveaway from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. One free tree plus a bag of mulch will be given to registered households while supplies last. Register at www.cityofvancouver.us/urbanforestry, where you can choose the type of tree you’d like, get directions to the drive-thru location and get instructions on proper planting. The city will provide yard tree delivery and planting for those with limited physical mobility; email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-487-8327.
Take on a challenge
Clark Public Utilities’ StreamTeam is presenting a Make a Difference Day Challenge through Saturday that features a range of activities you can do by yourself or with your family at home. Snap a picture while birdwatching, leaf-pressing, recycling or riding your bike, among other activities. For crafty folks, post a picture of your upcycled or recycled art project. Draw a picture of a salmon habitat. Plant flowers, pull weeds at your local park or pick up litter in your neighborhood. Share your favorite seasonal finds from the farmers market or build your own compost bin. For the complete list of suggested activities, see www.clarkpublicutilities.com/event/make-a-difference-day. Email photos to email@example.com or post them on social media with the tags @clarkpud or #madd2020.
Exercise your green thumb from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Vancouver’s Water Resources Education Center, 4600 S.E. Columbia Way, just south of Highway 14. Volunteers are invited to help (in a physically distanced way) with general garden maintenance. The center is working toward becoming a demonstration garden in the Backyard Habitat Certification Program. Volunteers must RSVP at www.cityofvancouver.us/publicworks/page/volunteer-garden-cleanup-water-center or by contacting Ashley Conley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-946-1077. After you sign up, you’ll be sent a confirmation email. Bring a mask, water bottle and garden gloves and dress for outdoor work.
Help all month
The city of Ridgefield is going all-in this year, celebrating not just Make a Difference Day but also an entire Make a Difference Month. The event launches a little later in the season, beginning on Nov. 7 and lasting through Dec. 5, the day of Ridgefield’s annual Hometown Celebration.
Make a Difference Month will have weekly themes, including stewardship, small acts of kindness, gratitude and community connection. City staff will post activity suggestions on the city of Ridgefield’s Facebook page inspired by the current week’s theme, featuring service-oriented challenges and ideas for COVID-safe ways to improve your community. Those who complete all the challenges will receive a certificate and a thank-you card from Ridgefield Mayor Don Stose.
This monthlong community service event may originate with Ridgefield, but anyone of any age in Clark County can participate by visiting bit.ly/RIDGEFIELDCARES or checking for updates on Ridgefield’s Facebook page.
“The themes we’ve chosen are important in every community,” said Lee Knottnerus, Ridgefield’s deputy city manager. “They’re even more critical during 2020 because of the pandemic and all the difficult incidents we’ve been going through. If any individual or any community wants to be involved, I’d be happy to have them join.”
Ridgefield has hosted a Make a Difference Day events before, Knottnerus said, but this year Ridgefield city staff felt it was more vital than ever to get people working together — especially now that colder, wetter weather means we’re not able to safely socialize outdoors as much.
“We need to connect to each other and be reminded that kindness goes a long way, so let’s get out there and help each other,” Knottnerus said. “Let’s make this more than a day. It’s not just a one-day issue, it’s an everyday issue.”
If you do live in Ridgefield, you can help make a video to promote Make a Difference Month. To share what you’re thankful for in the Ridgefield community, respondees of every age are invited to email email@example.com by Oct. 26.