The Evolution of Earth Day
Categories: Boots On The Ground: Service Stories, Boots With Roots: Tree Planting, Making Our Difference: TBL CSR
It used to be that most Timberland employees worldwide celebrated Earth Day on or as close to April 22 as possible. I would wake up in New Hampshire and pull on my boots, jeans and service T-shirt, knowing that my colleagues in Asia were kicking their feet up after a hard day of service, that my European friends were in the post-lunch service push to get everything done before the end of the day, and that our West Coast teams would close the wave of service a few hours after us.
Over the past few years, we’ve added more flexibility to our global Earth Day events to maximize our impact and employee participation, and in recognition that it simply isn’t possible for every service project we lead across the globe to take place on the same day or even in the same week.
For example, the success of our tree planting projects (in support of our company’s commitment to reforestation) is much more dependent on seasonal weather than a date on the calendar:
Our team in China kicked off our global Earth Day “season” on April 1 by planting 350 trees – a continuation of the “Great Green Wall” program we launched a year ago. Meanwhile in India, it’s just too darn hot this time of year to put fledgling trees in the ground and expect them to survive. For that reason, our Indian colleagues will celebrate Earth Day in a couple of months when the weather will better sustain newly planted trees.
Somewhere between our events and China and India, other Timberland Earth Day events will take place. Projects and locations include:
- New York, NY: Timberland is partnering with GrowNYC to help maintain the Wanaqua Family Garden in the Bronx – a 10,000 square foot plot of land that contains 20 community vegetable beds as well as a children’s garden where students and area residents come to visit. Some planned activities for the day include digging post holes for a shade structure, planting vegetables with students, cleaning up wrought iron fencing and planting garden boxes.
- Madrid, Spain: We’re working with the Madridejos City Hall to plant 300 trees and build a fence to protect the area. Timberland’s 15 volunteers will be joined by 40 students who will engage in an environmental activity to learn the importance of reforestation and environmental protection.
- Santiago, Dominican Republic: Approximately 300 Timberland volunteers will be joined by over 100 partners and community volunteers to plant 5,000 – 7,000 trees in “Rafey’s Park” in Santiago City. This project marks the continuation of an ongoing effort to reforest the park.
- Dover, NH: 75 Timberland volunteers will serve at the Horne Street School in Dover, landscaping the area to complement the school’s newly renovated environmentally-efficient building. Sustainable landscape improvements will include a community garden, new fitness stations throughout the grounds, and outdoor group activities.
All in all, more than 7,200 volunteers will unite in Timberland-hosted Earth Day events – generating over 50,000 hours of service. At Timberland’s headquarters in Stratham NH, we will participate in eight community greening projects in the Seacoast area tomorrow, April 21.
If you’re busy on April 22nd and feel you can’t be of service on that day, lighten up a little and be flexible. No one said your commitment to better the planet needs to be focused on just one day a year. Do what you can, when you can … the important part is doing something rather than nothing.