Elin Jones is a true "Friend of the Lower Muskingum River." She not only volunteers with the watershed group, but also helps fund the organization through sales of her unique handmade market totes.
"I've been doing this for six years now. The totes are made of donated upholstry scraps and other donated materials, and they're quite beautiful, if I do say so myself," Jones quipped. "And I try to keep the price as low as possible so people will use them-we sell them for $20 apiece."
Income from the tote sales help support Friends of the Lower Muskingum River events like the annual Mighty Muskingum Raft Race as well as watershed activities, including stream monitoring and riverbank restoration projects.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Elin Jones works in the sewing room of her Muskingum Drive home where she produces market totes out of recycled fabrics. Sales of the totes help support the Friends of the Lower Muskingum River watershed group of which Jones is a member.
Marilyn Ortt, a longtime member of the friends group, said Jones' skill as a seamstress is a good example of how anyone can provide volunteer services for the organization.
"There are so many different areas where people can volunteer," she said. "Her sewing skill is something she can put into play as a volunteer from her home. Other people may go into the field to help with habitat restoration in the watershed. But there's a variety of things volunteers can do and we're always open to new ideas."
A resident of Marietta for the last 35 years, Jones, now 72, is the former operator of Mother O'Riley's, a bookstore on Third Street.
Occupation: Retired owner of Mother O'Riley's bookstore on Third Street.
Husband: Arthur H. Jones.
Volunteer Work: Volunteers with Friends of the Lower Muskingum River, League of Women Voters, and Mid-Ohio Valley Dragons (dragon boat group).
Elin uses donated upholstery and other materials to produce handmade market totes she sells for $20 each to help support Friends of the Lower Muskingum River efforts.
The group is also raffling off a special "Luke Chute" quilt made by Charlotte Robe, an artistic quilter from the Malta area. Tickets are $5 each, and the winner will be drawn during the annual Mighty Muskingum Raft Race in August.
To volunteer with Friends of the Lower Muskingum River or learn more about the organization, including fundraising activities and special events, visit the www.muskingumriver.org website.
"I became interested in the environment-it's the only one we have, you know," Jones said. "And that led to being offered the Natural Resources committee chair for the Marietta/Washington County League of Women Voters."
She later became involved with Friends of the Lower Muskingum River.
"That group was trying to do something to help people, and what's more essential to life than water?" Jones said. "And we all live downstream from someone. As riverkeepers we try to monitor what drains into our rivers and watershed-from industry, farms, septic systems and other sources."
The Muskingum and Ohio rivers are a big part of making the Marietta and Washington County area a destination for the outdoor adventure tourism industry, she said.
"If we are to love and use these rivers as our 'aqua playgrounds' we must keep them clean," Jones added. "I live here. It's my town, and it's my river and my playground."