Volunteering can not
only work muscles you
forgot about, but it can
also help heal.
Volunteering is Good
for the Soul
It was late June and steamy hot outside.
Vicki Dabrowka would have been
justified staying in the air conditioning
or by the pool. She is a school teacher,
after all, and summer is supposed to
be for well-deserved relaxation, doctor
appointments, or maybe binge-watching
Instead, Vicki gathered her two children
and volunteered to clean shells at CBF’s
Oyster Restoration Center in Shady
Side, Maryland. The team left sweaty
and dirty, with aching muscles. A few
days later they volunteered at CBF’s
Clagett Farm, harvesting cucumbers
and squash and mulching tomato plants.
“We discovered muscles we didn’t even
know we had. Different ones, of course,
than those that were achy last week,”
Each year hundreds of volunteers give
tens of thousands of hours of their time
to CBF. They help plant forests along
farm streams in Frederick County, grow
oysters and help around the Shady Side
oyster center, and harvest vegetables at
Clagett Farm, among other chores. And
this is just the manual work. Thousands
of CBF members also advocate for
policy changes in local, state, and
CBF couldn’t succeed without its
volunteers and advocates. The
Dabrowka family and so many others are
indispensable parts of our Bay-saving
family. We at CBF extend a virtual hug to
all our Maryland volunteers. It feels like
an especially important time for that.
Two days before the Dabrowkas
volunteered at the Maryland oyster
center, five journalists with the Capital
Gazette newspaper in Annapolis were
shot and killed. In the CBF headquarters
building as elsewhere in the community,
the news hit hard. The Capital is the
hometown newspaper. We know
Vicki Dabrowka, who lives and teaches
in the Annapolis area, said volunteering
was perhaps the best thing her family
could have done after the shooting.
“It felt good to be part of something
bigger than you,” she said.
It also felt good to contribute to
the community, to be in control of
something, and even work out a little
aggression, she said. The physical work
also was therapeutic.
“Sometimes physical work is exactly
what you need. You get into a bit of
rhythm. Physical movement and a little
bit of sweat and muscle ache are good
for the soul,” Vicki said.
So, the Dabrowkas shoveled recycled
shells till their backs ached and then
bent over to pick cucumbers.
“Each of these oyster shells, once part of
someone’s meal, are now going forward
to help become the new home of future
oysters, which will filter the water and
help clean the Bay. That reward will come
back around to all of us who enjoy fishing,
canoeing, boating, swimming, and playing
in—and eating from—the Bay,” Vicki said.
Thank you, volunteers.
U CBF has many unique volunteer
opportunities for families and groups.
To find out how you can get involved,
Vicki Dabrowka and her two kids have been helping CBF out at our Oyster Restoration
Center in Shady Side, Maryland, and Clagett Farm in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. CBF has
many unique volunteer opportunities for families and groups.
SAVE THE BAY 23