Archive for 2009

Painting, Progress and Puppies

This is the final update from Timberland Earthkeeper Lynn Woodrum, who spent last week lending her time and energy to rebuilding efforts in New Orleans.  Our thanks to Lynn, and fellow Earthkeeper MacKenzie Mosca, for sharing their experience with us .

Friday, November 13

The day started well with our team getting a lot of our house project completed. With the inside mostly finished, it was time to give the outside a new coat of sea green paint. The house really came a long way from Monday, with only one room we didn’t finish – the handicap-accessible bathroom which professionals need to do.

All week a little puppy had visited us at the house site, she was so cute. The owner came over on Friday and offered to give the puppy to an electrician (Steve) who worked with all of us and the Rebuilding Together group. Needless to say it was a tearful moment… he named his new puppy Holly, as the house is located on Hollygrove St.

About 12:30 we wrapped up the day and said our goodbyes to the Rebuilding Together employees and to Ms. Alice (the new home owner) and her family. Another tearful moment.  Then we went back to the garden project and what a sight it was!  The last time I was there was on Monday, and it looked so different. A walkway had been added, more fruit trees, a trench dug, and the privacy fence started. It was just beautiful!

I feel like I walked away with many new lifelong friends and helped to rebuild a community. I think that In Good Company gave back hope to many families by just being there; showing people that there are others out there willing to get dirty, and help others. My week in New Orleans showed me how much I have, and how important family is to me. If there is ever a chance to help again, I hope that more people will get involved and experience this opportunity!

- Lynn Woodrum

Bayou Rebirth

Let me start by saying I am very afraid of water.

Today, we joined a wetlands restoration organization — Bayou Rebirth — and were able to go canoeing in a swamp to view the different types of marsh, trees, and wildlife (birds). So, MacKenzie and I pulled on our boots and were a canoe team. She had done it before … for myself, refer back to the first sentence of this blog post. Thank goodness for MacKenzie for getting me out of there alive!

The canoe ride lasted about 2 hours, and then we all loaded up to go plant some marsh and other brush for the water to build up and restore some of the habitats. We actually saw an alligator today, but it was far away — don’t worry! We also went to the spillway to view the levee, large ships, and barges. It was another wonderful day … but just so everyone knows I will probably not do the canoeing thing again.

- Lynn Woodrum

Congratulations to Timberland Earthkeeper Lynn for making it safely back to dry land … and our thanks to her for continuing to share updates from her week-long service sabbatical in New Orleans .

Moving Pictures

Thanks to Timberland Earthkeepers Lynn and MacKenzie for the following update from their week-long service sabbatical in New Orleans :

Today was a fantastic day! The day started @ 7 am with breakfast, then everyone loaded into 5 vans and off for a day of working. We have 2 projects for the week, The garden project, and the house project. I went to the garden project today, where we shoveled and sifted dirt to be used for fruit trees and vegetables and removed weeds and debris to make way for a privacy fence still to be built.

Everyone’s help is needed at the house project, trying to get it ready for the family to move into it this week. The house needs a lot of TLC – painting, caulking, adding new trim, and the list goes on! I went over and helped with the caulking on the outside of the house, and hopefully if the rain goes away we’ll be able to do some outside painting tomorrow.

My new found friends make each project so much fun!

This is very short and sweet, as supper is ready – pasta night – and I can’t wait to lay down!

- Lynn Woodrum

Notes From New Orleans

We’re pleased to offer these first updates from Timberland’s own Lynn Woodrum, one of two employees spending the week in New Orleans to help rebuild a community in need:

Saturday, November 7

Lots of thoughts went through my head as I sat in airports today. What will the other people be like?  Will we all get along? What is New Orleans going to be like?

Well, I am able to answer the first question for now. Everyone has arrived and all are great! Every person is willing to jump in and help with anything, from cooking to decorating.

We had a wonderful dinner tonight to socialize with everyone.  It consisted of chicken tortillas, rice, and some great caramel ice cream. We all had a great time getting to know one another. Cleanup was fast as everyone was willing to pitch in and help.  Now to try to get some sleep (been up since 2 am) and see what tomorrow brings!

Sunday, November 8

Today was a very adventurous day! It started out with a fabulous breakfast, chore sign ups, a tour, and a wonderful dinner!

We toured the Hollygrove Market with our guide, Pam. The market was created last year by the In Good Company team and has really grown! It grows fruits and vegetables for the local community for $25 a week for 1 box — every family has a chance to receive some of the great food.

As we proceeded on the tour, it was just devastating to still see so many homes that were still boarded up, with dates painted on their front doors showing when someone checked the house for residents in the wake of Hurricane Katrina . The hurricane hit on August 28, 2005 — and some of the dates we saw on houses were as far out at September 18! We also learned that many building contractors came in following Hurricane Katrina and attempted to refurbish homes, but didn’t always do the grandest job – and that when homeowners then tried to contact the contractors, they had packed up and left without finishing needed requirements. Apparently a large amount of people were overtaken by these contractors, and are now trying to do the best they can with what they have. Our tour was 4 hours long and it really makes you very thankful for what you have.

We arrived at Cafe Reconcile at 6:00 to have dinner, and the food was so great! This cafe is all about giving back to the community and teaching local students the etiquette of the restaurant atmosphere. All the fruits and vegetables served there are grown within the local community, and all the leftovers (if any) are composted back into the garden. Everyone is very big on the whole recycling process and it is so great!

It has been another great day of fellowship, food, and fun. Tomorrow I will be going to a garden to help build a fence around it, weather permitting …

Gearing Up for Good Company

A year ago, we chronicled the journey of Timberland’s community engagement coordinator Brianne Wood as she joined 25 fellow volunteers from other companies for a week of Earthkeeping and community building in New Orleans .   This year, we’re proud to be packing up two of our Timberland colleagues for the second annual In Good Company experience:

  • Lynn Woodrum works in the human resources department at Timberland’s Danville, Kentucky distribution center.  She is bravely leaving four children, ages 17 to 17 months, in the capable hands of her husband as she sets off for a week of restoration and revitalization in New Orleans.  Lynn’s biggest concerns heading into the service week: “Have I taken care of my responsibilities for next week at home, at work?  Am I taking enough supplies for my trip?  Have I remembered to buy all the needed necessities for home?”  A mom’s work is never done …
  • MacKenzie Mosca is an associate at Timberland’s factory outlet store in Long Island, New York.  An outdoor enthusiast with a penchant for hiking, the beach and her three dogs, MacKenzie is looking forward to personally contributing to post-Katrina rebuilding efforts in New Orleans.  In her own words, “People working together … are capable of limitless possibilities.”

Please stay tuned, as we’ll be featuring regular updates from Lynn and MacKenzie throughout their weeklong service experience here on the Earthkeeper blog … interested Earthkeepers can also follow MacKenzie on Twitter (Timberland_MacK).  We wish them both safe travels, and applaud their willingness to take time out from their personal and professional lives to devote hours and effort to creating a positive impact for a community in need.

Climate Change, Common Sense and Copenhagen

Channel 4 News in the UK featured the following clip yesterday focused on the flurry of activity taking place in advance of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference — including fevered lobbyists, costumed activists, public uncertainty and a divided business community.  Timberland’s President and CEO Jeff Swartz is featured — not as a lobbyist or activist, but as a voice calling for "common sense to prevail:"

Will you be watching at the plate glass window to see if COP15 gets the final question right?  Share your thoughts with us here .

Batkeeping in Benelux

Our Timberland colleagues in Benelux spent their recent Serv-a-palooza service day at Fort Walem — part of the old fort belt built around the city of Antwerp in the mid-to-late 1800s.  The fort is now under the protection of Natuurpunt (a nature conservation organization based in northern Belgium), whose members and volunteer partners are working hard to make the former fort a haven for “nature recovery.”

Our Serv-a-palooza volunteers spent their day cleaning out the old fort’s tunnels filled with thousands of gas masks, filters, rusty tubes and rotted boxes.  Once cleaned out the tunnels are used, essentially, as "bat caves" – providing shelter for bats seeking a safe, comfortable spot where they can hibernate out of harm’s way for the winter.

Congratulations to our Benelux Earthkeepers for a creative "recycling" effort — creating new purpose for an old fort,  and providing much-needed wildlife habitats for winter-weary bats.

Service with a Smile

If the cliche is true and a picture really is worth a thousand words, then we ‘re saving ourselves a lot of writing by sharing the following video with you.  It depicts the spirit and the impact of our annual Serv-a-palooza event more powerfully than written words could … plus it’s more fun to look at.

Eco-dining at its Best: Primo

The following blog post comes from our very good friends over at Green Living Project (GLP), a non-profit organization that films sustainable programs across the world for inspirational and educational purposes.  In GLP’s two-year history, the organization has documented over thirty diverse projects in ten countries across Latin America and Africa.  This past August, Adrienne Rosenberg joined Green Living Project’s first domestic trip, which showcased a myriad of inspiring sustainable initiatives across the state of Maine .

As I sat on the back steps of the renovated Victorian house, a line cook caught my eye as he hopped over the salvia and lunged around the basil to snip a few sprigs of mint. At any other restaurant, if you are out of an ingredient, you are out of luck- but not Primo. Primo restaurant , co-owned by Chef Melissa Kelly and Pastry Chef Price Kushner, strives to pleasantly blend the ideals of sustainability with palate-savoring pleasures.

Like many students desperate for a quick financial fix, I have made my circulations in restaurants across the nation, often experiencing the same harrowing episodes: a chef with a large ego, quick hands to dump “waste” from plates, customers oblivious to the substandard food cultivation, piles of the same-ole, imported Sysco ingredients, and a sort of impassive, nightly performance by the wait staff. But at Primo, diners receive an unparallel experience of local, organic Portland fare.

The cuisine brilliance begins and ends on the four-acre garden. Unlike other restaurants, Primo’s gardeners decide each morning what seasonal produce is ripe for the evening’s delights. Pulsing with life, the garden also provides chickens, herbs, grapes, edible flowers, honey, and even hops. True to their commitment to local ingredients, Primo also purchases its seafood from Portland fishermen. By the end of the night, the pigs feast on the ensuing compost of uneaten food or organic waste from the kitchen.

Primo’s garden provides much of the bounty that ends up in its dining room

In addition, Primo invites guests to explore the garden so they may come into contact with the elements that will later arrive at their table. As Melissa remarked, so often chefs will put their ego on a plate. Her philosophy, however, is to fashion her dishes so they teach others about where food comes from and how it is grown.

Inside the kitchen, Primo hosts several line cook stations, a pastry prep area, expo tables, a wood fired oven, and a downstairs prep room complete with storage and a batch of brewing beer. The chalkboard-painted door at the top of the stairs lists the specials for the night as well as displays a flyer on “How to Become Green”.

Primo’s décor pleasantly complements the organic, robust flavors of each dish. Downstairs exhibits rustic merlot colored walls and a traditional dining set up along with several art pieces while upstairs has a contrasting chicness with wrap-around couches, rectangular shaped designs, and a copper bar. Primo also seamlessly excels at energy efficiency and water conservation through their use of Maine produced biofuel as well as dual flush and waterless urinals.

After a long afternoon of dodging the staff while filming the high action atmosphere of the kitchen, Green Living Project was able to relax to fork fulls of scrumptious fresh cuisine, such as the house special baked oysters and the black spaghetti with braised cuttlefish and heirloom tomatoes, knowing that a majority of the ingredients were sustainably harvested only yards away from our table.

Adrienne Rosenberg
Green Living Project

Earthkeeping in the Dominican Republic

The following post was shared with us by Juan Rodriguez, the senior HR manager at Timberland’s Recreational Footwear Company (our manufacturing facility located in the Dominican Republic).  Thank you, Juan, for a wonderful story — and pictures — of cross-collaborative service and sharing the best of what we do with Timberland partners and community neighbors alike.

During the first week of October, Timberland invited 23 key customers and franchise partners from Italy and Spain to the Dominican Republic for a special “Timberland experience” – including a visit to both our manufacturing facilities in Santiago, DR and a local tannery, and a day of community service.

Timberland partners get a hands-on lesson in bootmaking in our DR factory

The service day took place in Villa Gonzalez, a town close to the Timberland factory. The project consisted of painting and repairing a basketball court used by the Villa Gonzalez community. In addition to the European visitors, other community members also participated in the activity.

Repairing and repainting the community basketball court

The service day was hot and sunny … but at the end of the afternoon, all of the volunteers had the satisfaction of making a difference for the young people of the community — some of whom were present at the service event, working shoulder to shoulder with the European group and at the end of the day were excited and grateful for the work accomplished.

Earthkeeping volunteers leaving their footprint on the Villa Gonzalez community