Posts Tagged ‘wetlands restoration’

9 Days, 4,000 Bags, 1 Amazing Experience

Fresh from the bayou, Team Timberland’s Erica Sarcione shares her final thoughts with us about her week-long service sabbatical as part of In Good Company — a partnership of businesses committed to making a difference through hands-on volunteerism for communities in need.  Erica and her fellow service warriors spent their week working on wetlands restoration to help stabilize a fragile barrier island in south Louisiana, where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico.

Where the River meets the Gulf. Courtesy of In Good Company.

Well, we did it!!! Lots of time, energy, effort and care was put in over the last 9 days extended to the wetlands restoration project. Many thanks to our partners, Restore the Earth Foundation and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries.

Our accomplishements:

· We packed over 1,000 Gulf Saver Bags with 22,000 pounds of composted humus.

· We moved 4,000 Gulf Saver Bags from barge to boat and from boat to beach.

· We planted a total of 15,000 native plants (Black Mangrove, Smooth Cord Grass, Marshay Grass, Black Needle Rush Grass).

· All in all, we planted approximately 5+ acres!

Our efforts will help to stabilize a fragile ecosystem, add valuable wildlife habitat, and strengthen a much-needed hurricane buffer.

It was an amazing week and I feel privileged to have been chosen for this incredible journey. I am truly a different person because of this experience, and look forward to making more of a difference in this world going forward. I’d also like to send a heartfelt thank you to all the amazing people I met along the way! I will NEVER forget you!

- Erica

In Good Company 2012

We’re proud to support In Good Company and individuals like Erica willing to give their time and energy to projects like this.  To learn more about In Good Company and the good work this year’s team did in Louisiana, visit their Facebook page.

In Good Company Takes to the Air

Part of the joy of putting in hard effort is seeing its impact — and that’s exactly what Timberland service sabbatical participants Erica Sarcione and Kerri Hewatt did.  Erica and Kerri are spending this week in Louisiana working on a wetlands restoration project with In Good Company – a partnership of businesses committed to making a difference through hands-on volunteerism for communities in need.

The In Good Company crew took time out from filling, hauling and planting 4,000 “Gulf Saver” bags (biodegradable bags filled with native plants and grasses that, when planted, help to stabilize areas of rapid erosion) to get a bird’s eye view of the area and their work. Erica captured the experience to share with us:

Up we go!

Nothing but smiles mid-flight

Bird's eye view of our job site

Erica reports, “That was an AWESOME day.  You really can’t 100% grasp the size and beauty of this place until you see it from above.  I hope by the pictures you can appreciate the importance of these wetlands and understand the need to do everything we can to save them.  There’s so much at stake here!”

With their week-long service experience winding down, we wish safe travels to the entire In Good Company team and look forward to posting final thoughts and photos from Erica and Kerri when they return.

8 Days of Gulf Coast Adventure (and Service) — In Good Company

For the past several years, Timberland has been proud to be a part of In Good Company – a partnership of businesses committed to making a difference through hands-on volunteerism for communities in need.  Each year, employee volunteers from each of the participating companies gather for a week-long service sabbatical to create a positive impact.  This year, Timberland’s representatives are Erica Sarcione, associate product manager at Timberland’s headquarters in Stratham, NH and Kerri Hewatt, assistant store manager for our Timberland Factory Outlet in Commerce, Georgia.

Erica and Kerri are spending this week in Louisiana, working side by side with volunteers from 16 other values-driven companies to help protect and restore parts of the Gulf Coast.  Over the course of the week they’ll learn more about the efforts of local nonprofit organizations, meet local activists, and experience plenty of local culture.

Erica and Kerri took a few minutes out of their jam-packed days to update us on what they’re doing and how the experience has been so far:

Everyone’s spirits are high and we’re all eager to get to work — and we have plenty of it ahead of us! We’re planting 4,000 “Gulf Saver” bags in the marsh lands this week (Gulf Savers are biodegradable burlap bags filled with native plants and grasses that are planted to jump start growth and stability in areas of rapid erosion). They lose about a football size piece of land every hour down here – and we’re here to help fix that!

- Erica

Volunteers planting Gulf Saver Bags. Photo courtesy of Restore the Earth Foundation

We are making great progress on our project here in Louisiana. On Sunday, we got a taste of what it’s like to fill the Gulf Saver bags — our team filled 1120 of them!  On Monday, we started loading the Gulf Saver bags off of a barge and onto smaller skiffs, then we offloaded them on the shore. Once all the bags were unloaded, we distributed them in intricate patterns and started planting the new grasses and trees.  Tomorrow we’ll get a chance to fly over the site and see our work from an aerial point of view.

- Kerri

A beautiful day for wetlands restoration. Photo courtesy of In Good Company

For more real-time updates and phenomenal photos of this week’s volunteers in action, follow the In Good Company page on Facebook.  We’ll also be sharing more updates from Kerri and Erica here on the Bootmakers Blog.

Reflections on Service

The following post comes from Alan Jones, one of the Timberland service sabbatical recipients who spent a week in Louisiana last month working on a large-scale restoration project.  Turns out, the project’s impact extends far beyond the wetlands where Alan and his companions worked:

Since returning from the sabbatical, friends and family have asked me to explain the experience and how it impacted me.  Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been able to express it in a way that does justice, and I don’t know if I ever will.

Imagine this:

Get off a plane and shake hands with 30 or so faces you’ve never met.

Spend the next 8 days and nights with these people in comfortable (but tight) quarters.

Meet locals and taste the flavor of an incredible culture deep in the Mississippi Delta and swamplands and learn that the fastest land erosion in the world is happening in your country and at the rate of 2 football fields every hour.

Learn that 40% of our fishing industry is supported by this eroding ecosystem, and that one small nonprofit has been given the green light by the government to make it better.

Spend the rest of the week working with a team to rebuild a 5-acre site that will protect another 20 acres of marshland from saltwater intrusion and land loss.

Learn that this project is the largest implementation of it’s kind, and if successful will serve as the pilot program and catalyst for future restoration efforts.

Connect to people and land in a way you did not think possible, then bid them farewell, knowing that although you knew them not for long, you knew them well.

Realize that, in addition to the thousands of trees and grasses planted in the bayou, there is something unexpected growing inside upon your return.

What did I take away from this sabbatical?

to plant.

to grow.

to laugh.

to live.

Sustainable Impact, Cajun Style

Timberland’s service sabbatical recipients Alan Jones and Heather Jackson shared the following from their week-long environmental restoration project in Louisiana.  Our thanks to Alan and Heather for taking time out from their daily lives and duties to be a part of this powerful team and its inspiring results!

In Good Company 2011, courtesy of Anne Hamersky

Wow. We did it! Nearly 5 acres of dissolving beach transformed into a landscape of Gulf Saver Bags sprouting mangroves and spartina grass!

That’s five acres of restored wetlands that have the chance to spread and expand, reducing coastal erosion, mitigating hurricane storm surges, creating wildlife habitat, stabilizing shipping routes, and enhancing the economic and cultural life of Deep Delta Louisiana. Collectively, we have impacted the Gulf Coast in a powerfully positive way.

THANK YOU for your immense effort and thanks to all your respective companies for sponsoring you on this community service experience.   May you all find inspiration in the incredible week we shared and continue to generate ripples of positive change in your communities.

- Anne Hamersky and the In Good Company planning team

Even Gulf Savers Need a Day of Rest

As promised, here is a video of Timberland’s service sabbatical participants Alan Jones and Heather Jackson, along with the rest of their In Good Company comrades, during a well-deserved day off from wetlands restoration.  Alan’s commentary:

Last night was a rare treat as we all hosted a Cajun Zydeco band and danced till it hurt! I will miss these people at week’s end … what a group.

4,000 Bags of Gulf-Saving Goodness

Our Timberland service sabbatical recipients, Alan and Heather, are several days in to their week-long Louisiana bayou immersion.  The two have been hard at work, but took time out to share the following update and incredible photos with us:

It has been a blast living and working with the 27 teammates of the 4th annual In Good Company partnership event.

We are spending much of this week working with the Restore the Earth Foundation, an incredible nonprofit focused on environmental conservation, protection and restoration.  One of Restore the Earth’s initiatives is called Gulf Saver Solutions, and it entails “deploying” Gulf Saver bags — full of native marsh grasses and oil-eating micro-organisms which help to protect and restore natural wetland ecosystems and habitats.  This week, our team has been working on filling, moving, staking and planting 4,000 Gulf Saver bags.  Ours is the largest deployment to date! Read the rest of this entry »