I’m a tree hugger!
Seriously, since my childhood camping in the woods on a regular basis with my family, I’ve developed a deep and abiding love of trees and nature. So naturally when I saw that Kalso Earth Shoes was awarding community service project scholarships for Earth Day, I wanted to apply and do something great for trees.
Several of my coworkers at Oregon Zoo are raising awareness and funds for Acres for the Atmosphere, which has the goal of planting more trees to combat climate change. Climate change, of course, being the biggest threat to polar bears.
But instead of planting more trees, I’ve decided to rally around the removal of ivy. I love planting trees – it provides instant gratification! In fact, I’ve been a crew leader, volunteer and board member for Friends of Trees.
But so many of our existing, big giant trees in Portland are being suffocated by invasive English ivy. Ivy in Oregon is devastating and inexorable. Pulling ivy is hard work. Which is why we need to draw more attention to it, and rally people to fight for our urban forests!
So here’s my plan:
WHAT • Ivy removal in Washington Park: “girdle” as many trees as possible!
WHEN • Wednesday, April 18, 3 – 5 p.m. (I chose this time because most zoo keepers get off work at 3:30, plus kids are out of school. Also, who doesn’t want a good excuse to get out of work early – for those that work until 5?)
WHO • Specific target will be all the staff of the attractions around Washington Park (Oregon Zoo, Children’s Museum, World Forestry Center, Hoyt Arboretum, Japanese Garden, International Rose Test Gardens, City of Portland). Anyone else who can take an hour to come help, plus my kids, your kids, their kids!
HOW • Gather equipment in a central location. Keep a trainer to orient people as they drop in to give instruction and send them to work sites.
COMMUNICATION • insert into employee newsletters of above institutions, targeted online advertising, and earned media via press release to local papers, television and radio stations. Email to neighborhood associations surrounding Washington Park to invite neighbors to join.
AFTER PARTY, 5 – 7 p.m. • Approach local restaurant (Sylvan Steakhouse!) to co-host an after party to celebrate our success – which should help encourage more volunteers!
I really believe that most people want to do good for our community, but often we don’t know where to start, or our good intentions just turn into delayed action until nothing happens. By providing this Earth Day opportunity, Kalso Earth Shoes and I will give people a fun and direct way to help wildlife habitats, and the planet itself! I know I am looking forward to pulling some ivy with my family!