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Giving Tuesday Promotes and Celebrates Donating - November 22, 2015

    This week, people from all across America will be celebrating Thanksgiving, a day for us to gather with friends and family and celebrate what and who we are thankful to have in our lives. There are always a multitude of things to give thanks for; whether its spending time with your family after the busy summer months, having some time off to sit back and watch some football, or of course, the tremendous feasts that will be laid out for Thanksgiving lunch and dinner. And while these are all great things to be thankful for, sometimes we might overlook things that we take for granted everyday. 

    Although many people give thanks for their family, a roof over their head and a stable job, very few give thanks for clean air, potable drinking water and outdoor areas to go hiking, fishing, hunting and more. We often take these things for granted, however they are extremely important and without clean air and water, living here would be impossible. So join us here at the Maryland Coastal Bays Program as we give thanks for our wonderful coastal bays and all the hard work volunteers, individuals and organizations did this past year to help keep our coastal bays watershed happy and healthy. 

    This year the Maryland Coastal Bays Program will be partnering with the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore and many other local partners to help spread the word about Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is a global initiative that takes place the Tuesday following Thanksgiving in the U.S., this year it will be December 1st, and helps to encourage other similar events like Cyber Monday and Small-Business Saturday. However unlike Cyber Monday, Small-Business Saturday or even Black Friday, Giving Tuesday is not focused on buying gifts or toys for yourself or your family, but instead donating money, or time, to charities and non-profits and engaging with your local community. 

    Giving Tuesday is a relatively new initiative, being started by 92nd Street Y and their partners in 2012. The idea was simple; to connect diverse groups of individuals, communities and organizations around the world to celebrate and encourage giving and community involvement. Since 2012, the movement has really taken off and it now has over 30,000 partners in 68 countries including small businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, major corporations and more. It has also spawned over 40 civic campaigns across the U.S. in large cities to small communities and is built to enable local and regional partners to create their own off-shoot for their specific community. 

    Giving Tuesday has such global appeal because it is very well suited for social media and online use. Worldwide, everyone who donates or contributes on Giving Tuesday is encouraged to use the hashtag #GivingTuesday or tag @GivingTues to help flood friends timelines, news feeds and more with pictures and actions taken to help their local community and engage more people to participate. Of course, you can also go find more information about this movement on their website, www.givingtuesday.org to find tools to help, videos and photos to share and more. 

    Another reason Giving Tuesday is so successful it because it allows for partner organizations to create their own hashtag to encourage more people to donate in their immediate area. Some examples from around Maryland include #Shoregivesmore, which is specifically for the Eastern Shore, #MDgivesmore and #DCgivesmore. By using and sharing these hashtags we hope to help spread our message of giving and help engage more people from our local community. Since its start in 2012, the Giving Tuesday initiative has generated over 32.7 million twitter impressions, over 750,000 hashtag mentions and 15.4 billion global impressions in print and social media. All of this has helped lead to an increase of over 470% in online donations on Giving Tuesday since its start in 2012. 

    Here on the Eastern Shore we have another thing to be thankful for, the opening of The Forest at Naylor Mill! This area, located at 711 Naylor Mill Road, Salisbury, is free for the public to use for recreation, whether its hiking, biking, running, or photography. The forest serves to protect the city of Salisbury's water supply within the Paleo Channel, protect biodiversity, and provide outdoor recreational areas for locals. 

    The newly opened area is a source of local pride in Salisbury. In 2014, Wicomico County asked the city of Salisbury to donate the land for the construction of new softball fields for the Henry S. Parker Athletic Complex. Not wanting to lose this land, Salisbury citizens and university students joined together and voiced their concern over the destruction of this unique property at a public hearing. The Salisbury City Council member’s listened to the citizens and students pleas and agreed to keep the forest in its natural state and turn this land into a new public-use park. This past weekend there was a 5K fun run and 1 mile nature walk to celebrate the parks opening and encourage more visitors to come but in case you missed it the park is now open to public use year round.

    Here on Delmarva there is so much for us to be thankful for, from the beaches to the bay. So please join us this Giving Tuesday by donating to your local charities and non-profits and do not forget to use #GivingTuesday or #Shoregivesmore!

Harrison Jackson is the Education Coordinator for the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.

 



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