FedEx employees plant native flowers at the entrance of a new multi-use trail extension at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum in Philadelphia. The extension will connect the refuge with local communities. Audubon Pennsylvania helped organize the event. Photo by USFWS
Across America, employees are going green in a new way.
They’re clearing trails and planting native flowers at national wildlife refuges, with enthusiastic backing from their supervisors. Sometimes, their companies even pay them to volunteer.
“Company Spirit” — this week’s theme in the National Wildlife Refuge System’s new series of online stories — showcases some of these refuge initiatives.
Luann Coen, senior deduction specialist at Brother International, gives a ride to Miroslawa Gehman, senior deductions manager, at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey in April 2016. Photo by Kai H. Fan
Here’s a preview:
Companies that send teams to volunteer each year at nearby refuges include such household names as Canon, FedEx, Ford, Monsanto, The Home Depot and The North Face.
A funny thing happens in the process: Team members fall in love with refuges and wildlife conservation.
“You walk away with just a really good feeling,” says Jennifer Hickson, manager of The North Face’s Lincoln City, Oregon, store. Her group volunteers several times a year at three nearby refuges, including Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge, where they cleared invasive scotch broom this spring.
Brother International manager of product development Kevin Haughtwout and administrative assistant Cristy Rosario plant native spicebush, the host plant for the spicebush swallowtail, at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey, in April 2016. Photo by Kai H Fan
“It started out being just our team. Now we bring our families. They want to be part of it, too. Because they hear you say, ‘Yeah, it was a hard day. Yeah, I’m sore. But you wouldn’t believe the feeling of accomplishment, the feeling you’re making a difference.’ ”
|Monsanto employees transplant more than 2,500 plants and plant nearly 600 others outdoors at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa in April 2016. Photo by USFWS|
That good feeling translates into benefits for participating companies, too – like higher staff morale and more camaraderie.
“We do good work for the refuge, and the company gets something back...,” says Doriana Allyn, senior environmental health and safety manager at Brother International, which sends a volunteer crew every year to Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey.
Refuges, for their part, welcome the show of company spirit.
“Absolutely, we like it,” says visitor services manager Jonathan Rosenberg at Great Swamp Refuge. “It brings visitors to the refuge, gets work done on the ground, sells our mission and gets our conservation message out there in the corporate world. It’s all good stuff.”
See a PHOTO album of private company teams volunteering on national wildlife refuges.
Read the full story: “Company Spirit.”
We hope you’ll also check out Refuges’ homepage, and share your thoughts, photos and videos with us on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Like what you see? Share it with your friends and family. Thanks, and see you on a refuge!
Susan Morse, National Wildlife Refuge System communications