Posts Tagged ‘Dig It’

Rock the Bike!

Last week we mentioned the fact that Timberland’s Dig It event in San Francisco would be powered, in part, by human energy via a bicycle-powered generator.  Stone Gossard was so inspired by seeing the bikes in use during the daytime service event that he then used them to power his live concert at the Grand Ballroom that night.  You can view the bikes (and Stone) in action here.

One act of innovative environmental consciousness inspiring a second similar act of consciousness – that’s Earthkeeping at its best.  Our thanks to the folks at Rock the Bike for helping us make Dig It San Francisco a powerful event, in more ways than one.


Digging It in Outer Sunset

This Saturday, October 18 marks Timberland’s fourth and final Dig It event of the year, taking place in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood.  An environmentally-underserved community, Outer Sunset suffers from a lack of trees which exacerbates the city’s water drainage issue with serious consequences; water runs over the concrete jungle of the neighborhood, picks up a variety of chemical pollutants and runs untreated into storm water drains that take the water straight to San Francisco bay. 

To reduce the runoff issues and improve the environmental quality of life in the community, local nonprofit Friends of the Urban Forest will lead volunteers in planting nearly 200 trees this weekend.  Friends of the Urban Forest helps communities plant over 1,000 trees each year, while also engaging local residents in the ongoing maintenance of existing trees through its Tree Care program. 

Friends of the Urban Forest bringing green to the streets of San Francisco

Further increasing the positive environmental impact of Saturday’s Dig It event:  A bicycle-powered generator will help provide clean power to the effort, and volunteers will be shuttled around the service area in a bus fueled by 75% biodiesel.

Stone Gossard fans, this is your last chance this year to see him live in exchange for a few hours of Earthkeeping labor!  To register for Saturday’s Dig It event, click here … and stay tuned for photos, clips and results from all four Dig It events.

The Power of YES

The rigorous training program (8 hours a day, 5 days a week) teaches students the disciplines of landscape design, arboriculture, hydrology and urban forestry.  They learn proper techniques for pruning shrubs and trees, monitoring water quality and removing exotic species.  It sounds like a college-level course, but in fact it’s the Youth Environmental Steward (YES) program managed by North East Trees – a Los Angeles, CA nonprofit organization helping at-risk youth become environmental stewards.

North East Trees has several important initiatives aimed at restoring nature’s services in resource-challenged communities; to date, the organization has planted over 20,000 trees, created over 35 parks and facilitated other landscape improvements, including habitat restoration along the Los Angeles River and across Los Angeles County.  The YES program offers environmental and community support in a slightly different manner, combining education and training to help develop community work force, build individual character and ensure their restoration projects will be maintained into the future.  To date, thousands of local youth have completed the YES program, with many going on to find employment within the green industry.

Hands-on education in North East Trees’ YES program

North East Trees and many of its youth stewards will be on hand tomorrow, October 11, for Timberland’s third Dig It event taking place at the William Mead housing facility – one of Los Angeles’ largest housing public housing communities and home to some 1,400 residents.  In addition to planting 250 trees and creating a community garden, volunteers will learn how to select, plant and care for trees appropriate for their living environment. 

Click here to register for the LA Dig It event and for more information about the evening celebration at Avalon featuring musicians like Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard.  To learn more about North East Trees and their efforts to cultivate youth stewards and preserve local communities, visit their website.

No Sleep Till (we’re done greening) Brooklyn

The population of New York City is expected to increase by a million new residents in the next twenty-five years. That’s a lot more people living in an already crowded city … and an additional challenge to the effort underway to maintain and create parks and open space. Thankfully, organizations like the New York Restoration Project (NYRP) are up for the challenge. 

NYRP was founded in 1995 by entertainer Bette Midler to be the “conservancy of forgotten places” – to reclaim, restore and develop under-resourced parks, community gardens and other open spaces in New York City.  To date, NYRP and its partner agencies and community groups have reclaimed more than 400 acres of under-resourced and rundown parkland, removed over 875 tons of garbage from project sites and served over 10,000 at-risk urban youth with free environmental education programs.

NYRP volunteers revitalizing a community garden

This Saturday, October 4, Timberland and NYRP will work to improve the “green” quality of life for more than 4,000 residents of the Van Dyke and Tilden Houses in Brooklyn by planting 450 new trees and building community gardens.  This will be the second of Timberland’s Dig It events taking place this month, and volunteers who participate in the daytime service event will be rewarded with an evening celebration at the Warsaw Theater, featuring Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard among other environmental artists and activists. 

To learn more about NYRP’s environmental initiatives, visit their website.  And to experience Earthkeeping in action, join us in Brooklyn this weekend (click here to register).

Where the Wild Things Are

Boston boasts 39 city-owned natural areas, or “urban wilds,” totaling 250 acres.  These urban wilds host hundreds of species of birds, animals, insects, and plants.  Oak forests, open meadows and cattail marshes can also be found in these wild places, but as you might imagine, they have long been plagued by a range of urban problems – vandalism, illegal dumping, fires – in addition to larger regional issues, such as invasive plant and animal species, insect infestations and soil erosion.

Back of the Hill Urban Wild, Mission Hill

EarthWorks, a community-based nonprofit dedicated to creating a healthier and more sustainable Boston, is working to restore the city’s urban wilds and, in the process, provide city residents the opportunity to experience nature close to home.  Through several major programs, including its Urban Orchards Program, Outdoor Classroom Program and Urban Wilds Restoration Program, EarthWorks is actively engaging Boston neighborhoods in its effort to reclaim neglected urban space, and providing hands-on environmental education to city residents of all ages.

On Wednesday, October 1, EarthWorks will help host the first of Timberland’s Dig It events, as we descend on the site of the Boston Nature Center – the last remaining “green oasis” in the neighborhood of Mattapan.  What was once over 200 acres of open space has diminished over time to a mere 67 acres; our challenge for the day is to mitigate the impacts of invasive plant species by planting over 300 trees , which will also increase the area’s tree canopy and ensure the sustainability of its habitat for years to come.

To learn more about EarthWorks’ commitment to strengthening local communities through environmental service, be sure to visit their website.  And if you live in the greater Boston area, please consider joining your fellow Earthkeepers at next Wednesday’s Dig It event (more details and sign-up information can be found here).  We’d love to meet you.

Taking It to the Extreme

The Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) was established in 2006 by internationally acclaimed nature photojournalist James Balog.  Comprised of 26 time-lapse cameras positioned at 15 glaciers in Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, the Alps and Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, EIS aims to provide a startling photographic record of melting glaciers – one of the most visually dramatic indicators of climate change.

These icebergs were calved from Greenland’s Jakobshavn Glacier, which sends 11 cubic miles of ice into the ocean each year.  Photo courtesy of

The cameras will shoot once an hour for every hour of daylight until the project’s completion in fall 2009, when EIS plans to publish a book, followed by a feature documentary film.  In the interim, EIS team members return to the field periodically to download images – like those shown here — which can be viewed on the EIS website.

James Balog is widely considered a visionary in the art of photographing nature and wildlife.  True to form, the images he and the EIS team are capturing of the real-time impact of global warming are both breathtaking and thought–provoking.

An iceberg drifts in Columbia Bay near Valdez, Alaska. The source of this iceberg, the Columbia Glacier, has lost more than 10 miles of ice since 1984.  Photo courtesy of

Balog will be speaking about his work next month during Timberland’s Dig It event – a four-city tour that combines community service (in the form of urban greening) and the celebration of environmental activism, all in one day.  Dig It debuts in Boston on October 1, followed by events in New York (October 4), Los Angeles (October 11), and San Francisco (October 18).

To learn more about the Extreme Ice Survey, visit the EIS website (don’t miss the video clip of one of the largest glacial calvings ever documented on video – truly remarkable).  And, while we’ll be sharing more information about Dig It in the coming weeks, you can learn more and sign up to participate in one of the events by clicking here.