In these features, 5enses highlights individuals and organizations in the community that are making a difference. They were inspired by Alert Reader Aarti Pani and community leaders Sadira DeMarino and John Duncan. Thank you, Aarti, Sadira, and John.
Want to nominate a do-gooder or a doing-gooder group? Email tips to 5ensesMag@Gmail.Com with “Do Good” in the subject line. Don’t like who we feature? Do some good deeds or start your own group and tell us about it. Remember, our community is whatever we make it.
Get Involved: Citizens Water Advocacy Group
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Leslie Hoy, and I’m a board member of the Citizens Water Advocacy Group. I’m also the media coordinator and the membership chair, too. Our mission is to promote a sustainable water future for the Upper Verde River Basin and the Prescott Management Area. We educate the public, encourage citizen action, and advocate for responsible governmental decision making. … You have to start the discussion with the fact that the Upper Verde is threatened by ground water pumping. Scientific studies have shown that over-pumping in the Upper Verde watershed and Big Chino Aquifer will diminish base flow and average flow, which means the Verde River could eventually dry up. We’d like to see the river maintained. It’s so important for the wildlife and vegetation in the area, and we really need to think about water for people, too.
The group does a lot of things. As far as advocacy goes, we do attend all the public water meetings. We don’t lobby too much, as we’re a 501 (c)(3) and there are limitations on that. What we try to do, though, is educate decision makers. We were founded in 2002 and we’re all volunteer with no paid employees. We also do projects. We had one with a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to install rain water harvesting systems downtown at Prescott Station. We also host a candidate forum related to upcoming elections. And we also have a demonstration garden at Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, where we hold our monthly meetings. We do a lot of things to educate the public, including guest speakers at our public meetings and the candidate forums so voters can make informed decisions. We also have a speaker’s bureau and send people out to local organizations that request information.
How can we get involved?
We’d love to have new members. We’re mainly supported by memberships which are $25 per household. We also have a student rate of $10. We’re at about 170 members at the moment. If people want to get a taste of what we do, we have a monthly meeting that’s open to the public. We also have two emails we send out you can subscribe to on our website. One of them is a weekly calendar of water meetings in the area. The other is a periodic email with news and views that I compile related to the local area. We’re also active on Facebook.
One of the best things people can do is practice personal water conservation. Outdoor conservation is really the most important part of that. Try to plant low water-use plants for landscaping. Native plants are also part of that. The city of Prescott’s website has a great section about that with lots of information and pictures of really nice landscaping. The Native Garden specializes in native plants, and they’re a great resource, too. It’s also good to request that kind of info from other garden stores. The more you request, the more they’ll carry those kinds of plants. Indoors, it’s little things like turning your sink off when you’re not directly using it, like when you’re brushing your teeth. The toilet is probably the biggest water user in the house. If you don’t have and can’t afford a low water-use toilet, you can always fill a water bottle and put it in the tank to help reduce the amount of water it uses. Little things like that add up.
Find out more about the Citizens Water Advocacy Group at CWAGAZ.Org or via Facebook.
Get Involved: United Animal Friends
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Jennifer Casey, the vice president of United Animal Friends. We’re an all-volunteer group of about 175 and were founded in 2003. We provide rescue programs and services to animals and those who care for them. Our adoption program mainly draws from high-kill shelters. We provide fosters for them, as much as possible, and have the Kitty City space in PetCo, which is donated by PetCo. We don’t have a shelter, proper. If we have to, we’ll board a cat or dog to save its life. A lot of the pets we rescue, maybe 75 to 80 percent come from Gallup, N. M. The reason we go so far out of the area is because when we started working with their Humane Society, they had a 95 percent kill rate. They don’t have spay and neuter on the reservation and they can’t adopt out so many wonderful animals.
We have local listings for people who want to relinquish their pets for whatever reason that helps cut out the fosters and makes for smoother transitions. We also have a low-cost spay/neuter program to help low-income families. We also have a regular free spay/neuter clinic via the Chino Valley Animal Hospital and Kachina Animal Hospital for those in the most need. We also have a community pet food bank that distributes food once a month for needy cats and dogs. In some instances, we also do that for horses or goats. The pet food bank is actually a feed program for the spay/neuter clinic because we require all animals that get food be spayed or neutered. And we also have an emergency medical program and we help out as we can with medical costs. Because our mission statement is to provide services to animals and the people who care for them, we encompass just about every need that we can fill in the community. We’re not just taking cats and dogs and finding them homes.
How can we help?
We can always use more volunteers, especially young volunteers and male volunteers. Our volunteers are primarily female, and it’d be nice to have some muscle to help with the pet food bank. There are also volunteer opportunities for people to be fosters or help with adoption events or with the monthly pet food distribution. We could also use help with transporting animals, fundraising events, and grant writing. There are some volunteers who just pick up the phones or answer phone messages.
And, of course, we can always use donations. You can reach out to do that through the website or our P.O. Box address. Dog and cat food is always appreciated, and you can drop off donations at PetCo. Whiskers Barkery has also been very good with holding stuff for us for a couple of days until we can get someone down there. Our biggest goal right now is to get a facility. We’re hoping the right property will come along soon. It’s a matter of finding and funds. … In terms of fostering animals, the average is probably a couple of weeks to a month. Puppies usually get adopted fairly quickly. We stand behind all of our animals, though, and occasionally we’ll have an animal for better than a year. We’re not going to give up on them, though.
Find out more about United Animal Friends at UnitedAnimalFriends.Org or by contacting 928-778-2924 or P.O. Box 11133; Prescott, AZ 86304.