Give A Day, Get A Disney Day!

So does everyone know from the title what I did today? I’ll give you another clue. I had to get special work gloves for today.

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I volunteered! Woohoo! Have you heard of the Give a Day, Get a Disney Day program that Disney is sponsoring for 2010? If not, here are the details – Disney wanted to inspire 1 million people to volunteer this year in their communities, so if you sign up on the Disney site with an approved charity and give a day of service, Disney will give you a pass for 1 day at any of their parks for free!

Pretty sweet deal right?

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So I signed up a few weeks ago with the idea that I would try to get a free pass for when I am down in Disney for the Princess Half. To my surprise, pretty much everything in the Philadelphia area was full! Everyone is volunteering to get a free day at Disney! It’s such a good thing. Disney is beyond pure genius!

I ended up finding something that was open and fit my schedule. It was called Invasive Species Removal.

I have to admit that I was a bit scared at the name of the volunteering project. The program was being run by the Philadelphia Zoo, which was cool, but I was a bit skeptical as to what I should expect. I really wasn’t sure if a free day at Disney was worth me possibly cleaning up Elephant poop. That would be a bit much!

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I googled “invasive species removal” and it talked a lot about removing plants and shrubbery, so I had my fingers crossed when I showed up today. And much to my surprise, that’s what it was!

We were cleaning out a big space of land in order for new native plants to be brought in for a project that was being run by the Philadelphia Zoo and the Fairmount Park Authority.

I was so happy I wasn’t going to be cleaning out cages or anything! Win! We started off the day by putting some fencing around a few trees that had been recently planted for protection.

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I did this one all by myself! Its a work of art, if I do say so myself!

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Check this out. There was random corn kernels all over the little field we were working in. Someone has been coming in and throwing this stuff all over the place. Who would do that and WHY? We assumed it was to attract possibly deer or some other animal, but we are trying to get this area clear to keep some animals out so the trees will grow!

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I was seriously bundled up in a million layers. Ok, maybe not a million, but I had 2 layers on the bottom and 5 on top! After I started  working for a bit, I started to shed my layers. I was working up a sweat!

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Under my sweatpants I had on long spandex!

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Check this out! Its on the tree on the left in the middle of the picture. Its a pod that will hatch in the spring, and out will come baby praying mantis’! Nature at its finest!

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The man in charge – Jason – from the Fairmount Park Authority

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Check out all the shrubbery we had to battle through! I have thorn picks all over me. Volunteer battle scars!

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My weapon of choice against the thorns!

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After we cut back the shrubbery we had to dig up the roots so it wouldn’t grow back again! Here I am in action.

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Happy Volunteer!

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Kevin was the other volunteer with us today. Here is he sawing down a branch. Hardcore!

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This was all shrubs and thorns before we got through with it! The 4 of us did a lot of work and made some good progress.

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After we cut back lots of the weeds and thorns, we found a creek!

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This was all covered in invasive species before I got into it! I was quite proud of my efforts today! I used muscles in my arms with all the cutting and digging and raking today that I haven’t used in a long time. I know I’m going to be sore tomorrow! It was a good workout!

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The team at work.

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This last root was our Everest! It took all 4  of us to get it out!

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It was a beautiful area we worked in today. It’s going to be a great space when all the work is completed.

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Jason, Kevin and me. Kevin and I were working for our Disney tickets!

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To give you an idea of some of the work and progress we made today, here is the Before:

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And here is the after. You can see that we cleared out a good bit!

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It was really awesome to volunteer today. The people were all super nice and its a great project they have going on. I hope to go back again and help out soon!

I feel good because I helped out my community and my wallet feels good because I saved a good bit of cash on a park ticket when I go to Disney in a few weeks for the race!

Do you volunteer? Share your story! I would love to hear what other people do to help out their communities. Everybody wins when you volunteer because you feel good after you do it and an organization that needs help gets it!

Put volunteering on your to-do list today!

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  • Reply Ashley Lauren February 4, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Last week I read to a 5th grade class for a ticket, and my husband is volunteering with the local NPR station for their pledge drive next month 🙂 It was such a great experience!

    I belong to a volunteer organization that works with underprivileged children in my city, and my husband does pro bono law work. It's so good to give back! It's definitely one of my passions.

  • Reply Allie February 5, 2010 at 9:56 am

    That's awesome, good for you. Next year my daughter will be in pre-k for 2 1/2 hours a day and I'm thinking of volunteering during that time, maybe something different everyday, we'll see.

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