Archive for October, 2010

Chicken Coops and Veggie Beds

Below, the latest update from Sandy McDowell and Courtney Baumann, our two Timberland Earthkeepers who have spent this week creating positive social and environmental impact in West Oakland, California:

Today I went to Serenity House — a facility for women recovering from addictions to drug and alcohol.  They were so excited to get a garden.  We put in two raised beds and planted their garden with them.  It was an awesome experience because without our help, they could not have achieved this.  It took awhile for some of the women to warm up but when I left, one woman was so overwhelmed she expressed how grateful she was that we were there to do this for them.  I was really moved that we could really make a difference in their lives.  This is what it’s all about.

-Sandy

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Hello!  I have been working on building chicken coops for the last three days!  On the first day, I thought we would be finished before the day was out, but not the case … :)   We were really involved in the creative aspect of the whole process and allowed to give our input on how to make it better.  I picked the chicken coop project because I felt like this was something that I could take home and possibly do myself — I would love to start something similar at my home.

After finishing today, I was filled with so much pride.  One of the chicken coops we made is going to Makeda and Myron, two community members who have helped with this project all week.  It was really inspiring to see how excited they are to receive it.  They already have a garden in their backyard, aided by City Slicker Farms, and it’s just really great to hear how much it means to them.

This week has really flown by, and we have really accomplished some great things.  We can’t wait to deliver our coops tomorrow!

-Courtney

West Coast Update

Our daily update from Timberland Earthkeeper Sandy McDowell, halfway through her week of community service and revitalization in West Oakland, CA:

Yesterday we installed solar panels on two houses in West Oakland.  The company we worked with is called Grid Alternatives: they supply the solar panels and we install, with their help.  I talked to a neighbor who said it reduced his electric bill to 8 dollars a month!  We will finish that job today, and tomorrow we are building raised garden beds in West Oakland for City Slicker Farms.

I have met some awesome people in the neighborhood who are passionate for a better life.  Can’t wait to share all of those stories.

Sandy

Postcards from California

Timberland Earthkeeper Sandy McDowell sent this short update from her week-long community service sabbatical in West Oakland, CA:

We arrived in California on Saturday and met the rest of our crew.  On Sunday, we did a tour of the California Missions and saw all of the murals that are historic to the area.  We then went to West Oakland and got some history on our project and work for the week ahead.

Today (Monday) was the first day of work.  We weeded and planted in Wildcat Canyon Creek, then moved on to West Oakland and planted bamboo to help with the ecosystem.  Tomorrow we start with City Slicker Farms (a local organization focused on meeting the immediate and basic needs for food security by creating high-yield urban farms and backyard gardens).  Having a awesome experience so far!

Sandy

Keeping Good Company in California

For the third year in a row, Timberland is proud to join forces with “In Good Company,” a coalition of companies dedicated to volunteerism.  As part of the program, candidates  from each of the companies participate in a week-long community service sabbatical in an area of need, working with local residents and nonprofit organizations to create positive impact where and how it is most needed.

For the first two years, In Good Company volunteers left their footprints and their impact in the city of New Orleans.  This year, sabbatical recipients will convene in the San Francisco neighborhood of West Oakland – a neighborhood that suffers disproportionately from asthma, diabetes, obesity and other environment-related issues.  Over the course of their week-long service experience, volunteers will help to create sustainable food solutions, green neighborhood homes and work on environmental restoration issues to make life a little easier for West Oakland residents.

We’re pleased to introduce the two members of Team Timberland who head out to West Oakland this weekend to begin their week-long service sabbatical and will be sharing their experience with us here on the Earthkeepers blog:

Courtney Baumann lives in Austin, TX and has been a sales manager at Timberland’s retail outlet in San Marcos for over seven years. Her passions include working with plants and playing with her pet turtle. Four years ago, Courtney started a recycling program at her mall, which continues to be a success!

Sandy McDowell is a fifteen year Timberland veteran, currently serving as the assistant manager at the Timberland store in Grove City, PA.  An “empty nester,” Sandy and her husband grow organic food and sell it at a low cost to their local community.

We’ll be hearing more from Courtney and Sandy over the course of their week in West Oakland – stay tuned.

Growing Goodness

We’re only a few weeks into fall and already missing the warm, vibrant days of summer … but comforted by the following video of Timberland’s Victory Garden in full bloom.

The Victory Garden has taken up residence on the front lawn of our corporate headquarters for 3 years now, expanding each summer to offer a broader variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers … which in turn increases the amount of support we’re able to give to the NH Food Bank.

If you’re not familiar with the model, we (humbly) think it’s a pretty good one: Timberland employees built the raised garden beds, plant the seeds, tend to the growing “crops” and pick, pull or otherwise harvest the good when they’re ripe.  The produce is then sold at the Timberland “farm stand,” located in our front lobby.  Employees get good, fresh-from-the-ground veggies, the proceeds go to the NH Food Bank … and we’re putting our corporate landscape to good, green use.  See for yourself:

Have questions about starting a victory garden in your own yard or company?  Inquire here and we’ll have someone from the Timberland Victory Garden committee get back in touch.  And remember … only 149 days til spring …

“They’re Gonna Feed Themselves”

“They’re gonna feed themselves.  They’re gonna be a proud, independent nation.”

Timberland President & CEO Jeff Swartz

To create real and sustainable community impact, you’ve got to involve community in the process.  Our second Yele Vert video highlights the critical role local residents play in the success of the Haiti reforestation program — from sifting soil and planting seeds to cultivating the trees that will provide long-term environmental and economic support.

To learn more about Timberland’s Yele Vert program — and to contribute to our reforestation effort in Haiti — visit www.Facebook/Timberland and start your own virtual forest.

Trees for Haiti

“Pouring money on top of dry land isn’t reforesting.  Reforesting is, you’ve got to come out in the dirt.  You’ve got to talk to people.  This is your home, this is our passion … how do we put those things together?”

Timberland President & CEO Jeff Swartz

We’ve just announced a commitment to plant five million trees in five years to help create sustainable solutions in Haiti and China — two areas plagued by the disastrous effects of deforestation.

To help illustrate the need for — and impact of — those five million trees, we’ve produced a series of videos about our Haiti tree planting project, Yele Vert.  Episode 1 appears below … and you can watch the entire series of videos on our YouTube channel.

Inspired to help?  Visit www.Facebook.com/Timberland and start growing your own virtual forest.  The more virtual trees planted, the more real trees we’ll put in the ground in Haiti.

Excited About Planting Trees

Since last Tuesday, September 28, I’ve been coming to work excited. I’m talking two-stairs-at-a-time excited. Excited about planting trees and excited to think about how to get other people excited about planting trees.

It was last Tuesday that I monitored Timberland’s quarterly stakeholder conference call about “The Real Impact of Tree Planting.”  (You can listen to the podcast here.) Our CEO, Jeff Swartz, hosts these calls to discuss with stakeholders (who range from other CEOs to non-profit leaders to influential environmental stewards to Timberland consumers), topics that directly impact Timberland’s CSR agenda. The goal of the call is to share with the participants ideas we consider, challenges we face and best practices we develop as we go about our business of making boots and being an environmentally and socially responsible company. Jeff and invited partners get the dialogue started and then the stakeholders share their thoughts, ideas and challenges.

The quarterly calls are stakeholder engagement at its finest. It’s a cool concept – stakeholder engagement. And guess what, it really works! I know because I witnessed it last Tuesday.

After Jeff and Dave Deppner from Trees for the Future, our partner in the Yele Vert tree nursery project in Haiti, set up the call with some really meaningful comments, the callers started asking great questions and sharing some valuable insight. These were extremely smart, engaged people from organizations like Alcoa, the World Wildlife Fund and the New York Restoration Project – people who really care about trees and are managing these truly impactful projects, just like the ones Timberland is supporting in Haiti and China.

The questions and the ensuing dialogue got me thinking about the commitment to plant five million trees in five years in Haiti and China that Timberland made at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) the previous week. I wondered; how can we a) get people to understand why we plant trees and why it matters; and b) get other companies to join us to exponentially increase the impact.

Yeah, increase exponentially. If Timberland and its partners, Trees for the Future and Yele Haiti, can build six tree nurseries in Gonaives, Haiti in less than six months by engaging and training the local farmers, who will eventually take ownership of the nurseries, imagine what can five companies like Timberland could do with the help of five partners like Trees for the Future.

If our six nurseries will produce more than 1 million trees per year at full capacity, imagine what 30 nurseries will produce in a year – 5 million! And if those 5 million trees we’re planting annually provide the local citizens with sustainable resources for food, fuel, shelter and watershed management – not to mention jobs – well, imagine how many houses we can build, homes we can heat, stoves we can fuel and mouths we can feed.

And imagine – this is what gets really exciting – if the local farming population, which is now trained and engaged at every level of forestry and agriculture, arrives at the juncture where their crop productivity has increased to the point where they can not only feed their families but have enough corn and rice and other corps left over to sell – for a profit – to the very companies that initially helped the farmer set up their tree nurseries!

And then imagine if each of those companies implemented creative ways, like social networks, to tell the story of the farmer and his tree nurseries to their consumers. The stories would excite the consumers and inspire them to tell their friends and those friends told their friends and so on and so on – to the point where the company gained more consumers, sold more products and were able to invest more dollars into building more tree nurseries.

Imagine. Isn’t it exciting to imagine?

So what’s next? I’m going to start reaching out to leaders at other companies and see if I can’t get them excited and interested in planting trees with us. And you? For starters, you can check out our new Facebook application where you can cause real trees to be planted in Haiti by creating a virtual forest. The more virtual trees and virtual forests, the more trees we’ll plant in Haiti – in addition to the ones we’re already planting there. And while you’re surfing around the app, check out the videos that chronicle our projects in Haiti and share them with your friends. Then, share your ideas on how to get people more excited about planting trees on the application’s Wall, or join the conversation on our Earthkeeper Forum.  If you’ve read this far, you’re now officially a Timberland stakeholder and as such, we welcome your engagement at any and all levels.

Imagine a company that wants to engage with its stakeholders about the simple act of planting a tree. Isn’t that exciting?

Margaret Morey-Reuner
Senior Manager of Values Marketing, Timberland

Pictures of Purpose

A visual salute to the more than 4,800 employees and volunteers who worked inside, outside and upside down to create a positive impact in their communities during Timberland’s 13th annual Serv-a-palooza a few weeks ago.  A warm, sunny day and good company made the experience enjoyable … the collective power and passion made it unforgettable.