Volunteer Opportunities with BREN
Boise River Cleanups
Looking for a group volunteer opportunity? River Cleanups are great for both small and large groups. BREN hosts cleanups year-round, although for safety reasons, we avoid times of high water which are typically in late spring. BREN supplies the trash bags and hauls them away after the event. Other items to bring include: gloves, grabber sticks, bug spray/sunscreen, closed toe shoes.
To schedule a river cleanup please email BREN at firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Your Mother Doesn’t Live Here’ Annual Boise River Cleanup
The first annual ‘Your Mother Doesn’t Live Here’ Boise River Cleanup was held in 2023. We are currently planning the 2024 community wide event. Check back for details.
Crayfishing for the University of Idaho Mercury Crayfish Study
For the last 3 years BREN has assisted the University of Idaho with their project to document mercury levels in the Boise River using crayfish. In late August or early September volunteers head to a pre-determined spot on the river to catch as many crayfish as they can. This is a family friendly event and children are not only welcome but are often the ones who catch the most! All you need is a bucket, shoes that can get wet, some patience and a sense of adventure.
BREN will be collecting again in 2024 so keep checking back for details or follow our social media pages. More information on the crayfish project can be found here: https://crayfish.nkn.uidaho.edu/
Black Cottonwood Gather & Grow
Each June volunteers gather black cottonwood seeds from up and down the river. These seeds are planted in germination trays, then tended all summer and into fall until seedlings are big enough to transplant. BREN cares for the trees for 2 years with the help of our community partners such as the Foothills Learning Center. The trees are eventually planted along the Boise River to help create a genetically diverse cottonwood forest.
Why? Before Lucy Peak Dam and other methods of flood control the river would flood seasonally. These flood waters cleaned debris away and created an ideal seedbed for black cottonwood seeds to germinate in. As floodwaters receded gradually, the cottonwood roots would grow deep into the soil to maintain close contact with the water table. Since the river is no longer to flood like it used to, it is more difficult for cottonwoods to germinate and grow along the banks. Many of the mature trees are nearing the end of their natural lifespan and the newer trees have grown from runners and are genetically identical to their parent tree. Collecting seed ensures genetic diversity and maintains a strong population of trees.
Watch of social media pages and newsletter for information on this volunteer opportunity. Volunteers can do as little or as much as they like. Some just gather seeds and help plant them into the germination trays, other people prefer to keep their cottonwood until fall until they are transplanted into larger pots.