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There’s Sump-Thing Happening Here

Americorps volunteers visit

Tanner’s Pond for Sandy Relief

For many in Nassau County, the lights went out last October when Hurricane Sandy ravaged much of the East Coast. For some, the lights are still out as many communities are still trying to rebuild from the destruction left by the storm. Months later, fellow Americans are doing their part and proving that actions do speak louder then words.

Last month, a group of 40-50 volunteers stopped by Tanner’s Pond Environmental Center’s Garden City Bird Sanctuary to do their part. The volunteers, stationed on Long Island through a FEMA sponsored AmeriCorps project are full-time workers and devote their days off to help remove the damage that Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent nor’easter had left.

The volunteers themselves are stationed in Long Island on the South Shore to help rebuild damaged areas as part of a 10-month stint with AmeriCorps. Ranging from ages 18-24 and coming from states like Pennsylvania or California, these young men and women have helped move more than four tons of trees and debris throughout the bird sanctuary.

“They could be out partying,” said former Director of Tanner’s Pond, Suzie Alvey. “Instead they chose to help us and we really appreciate that.”

The process for this volunteer effort happened quickly and was all self-motivated by the volunteers themselves with a little assistance from Diana O’Neill, executive director of the Hempstead Long Island Volunteer Center.

“O’Neill called last week and asked if we needed any volunteers,” said Alvey. “Since a big group was needed, we were on a short list of people who needed these volunteers.”

Suzie Alvey and her husband, Rob Alvey, have committed their lives to volunteerism. Rob, current director of Tanner’s Pond and Suzie, a former director, who still plays a large role there, have helped transform a neglected and trash-filled storm water basin into a community nature preserve. The vision statement of the group was simply “to establish a local green space for the demonstration of environmental stewardship through education and volunteer community services.”

Having been a huge help to the community with their efforts, the AmeriCorps volunteers were warmly welcomed during the village’s time of need.

“We couldn’t survive without them,” said Alvey in regards to what the volunteers’ work means to them.

Although the Garden City Bird Sanctuary is normally closed from Dec. 1 until March 1, they are currently taking all the help they can get. For more information on what’s going on in the former sump turned environmental center and to volunteer, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .