Twitter employees can use their laptops on the new 20,000squarefoot ninthstory deck and succulent plant garden at the companys San Francisco headquarters. Cool perk, you think, but Twitters one of those edgy, new media employers. On the other hand, New Jerseys BASF chemical company is an oldline corporation. Its employees now can hold meetings and conference calls on plantfilled patios and quads. Executives at the venerable public relations firm Ogilvy & Mather in New York can break from their office cubicles to take in Hudson River views on the company deck.
In years past, employees with some of the most progressive corporations boasted about foosball tables and free snacks. Now, they are bragging about outdoor workspace.
Research shows people feel less stress and may even perform better with some fresh air. So companies are investing in openair places for employees to meet, work or just clear their heads.
Some corporations insist on outdoor space because employees do better when they have a variety of settings in which to workincluding the great outdoors.
If some of Americas biggest employers have found that the outdoors is a boon to productivity and progress, its all the more reason for the National Wildlife Refuge System to expand its reach and improve environmental education offerings. Weve already taken the first step with Sowing Seeds of Wonder, a draft strategic plan for improving environmental education, developed by the Conserving the Future Interpretation and Environmental Education implementation team.
Among the proposals: more chances for the public to participate in citizen science with such partners as the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Project BudBurst; development of a national visitor services communications hub to share educational resources, including lesson plans; more mobile learning platforms; and stewardship activities for local schools.
Wildlife conservation is the Refuge Systems fundamental mission. But we wont succeed if we dont inspire the American peopleespecially our childrento connect with their wildlife heritage and become stewards of their natural resources. Wildlife refuges, integral to their local communities, are great places to broaden the nations conservation constituency.
After all, if the managers at Iowa law firm Foss, Kuiken & Cochran installed SkyCeilinga faux skylight printed with images of a blue, sunny skyto invigorate the offices windowless reception area, imagine how thrilled they would be if their children could visit a real outdoor spacea national wildlife refugewhere the sky is naturally blue.