Welcome to the summer edition of Project EverGreen Update. The wonders of nature are at their most splendid peak and show us what is possible with proper care of green spaces. On a hot summer day you can retreat to a shady oasis or simply be soothed from your window by the view of healthy foliage and brilliant blooms. It is the season to be rejoicing in green.
Please read more about our latest news and events below. Thank you for your support!
I have a phrase on my desk that says: “I will relentlessly pursue a cause I passionately believe in.”
The Project EverGreen Board and its supporting council met in June at its semiannual meeting in Milwaukee, home of our second EverGreen Zone. Despite the fact that we are five years old, there are still many who don’t know who we are. And that’s what keeps the passion burning in me.
Five examples come to mind:
First, thanks to Board Member Mike Sisti of Lebanon, Chris Skibba of Kadant GranTek attended the meeting. Kadant GranTek turns paper waste into cellulose granular products that are used as carriers for crop protection and pest control products. They want a healthier environment worldwide.
Skibba attended his first PE meeting. Boy, did we turn on the passion for him. The end result: a new contributor and host of the December 2009 Board Meeting. Details coming soon. Now that’s jumping right in with both feet!
Chris is the kind of guy who helps my relentless pursuit of educating and informing consumers about the benefits of well-maintained green spaces. He saw in parts of two days that our mission to preserve and enhance green space in our communities for today and future generations transcends recessions and all the other calamities afflicting us right now. As one of our Board Members often says: “He gets it.”
Thanks, Chris, for keeping me positive when 2009 has been somewhat less than a cakewalk for most non-profits and many businesses.
Second, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) sent Estelle Grasset to talk with us about a fertilizer education campaign for consumers. Thanks to Bryan Gooch of Agrium (a relatively new Board Member) for opening this door for us.
In one hour, Estelle was bombarded (in a nice way) with questions about the campaign, how it fits with Project EverGreen and how we should find ways to work together. So, back on my “relentless pursuit of informing consumers” horse, we’ve turned her one-hour presentation into a meeting in August with TFI to find out how we can work together to tell the positive story of maintained green spaces. Yes, they get it!
OK, some positive moments during a year when even Phil Fogarty might frown for a minute or two. And more to come!
Third, we approved two new Board Members at the meeting - Deborah Kuo of HighGrove Partners and Michelle Sullivan of the National FFA Organization. Both were active participants in the meeting, bringing fresh ideas and perspectives to our ongoing efforts.
In fact, I even got a thank you note from Deborah after the meeting, focusing on the positive aspects of what we were trying to do and looking forward to making a major contribution on our Board.
Michelle is working with us to try to find funding to create a green industry curriculum to be used in high schools throughout the country. It’s not easy, but she is determined to work diligently and passionately to find a way to make it work. Yes, we can say Deborah and Michelle get it!
Fourth, Kevin York of Christmas Decor and his colleagues saw GreenCare for Troops and our Buck It Up Program and wondered how they could match that with their free Christmas lighting program for military families. The end result: We announced in early July a collaboration with 375 franchisees of Christmas Decor to help raise money for Buck It Up. Yes, you get it too!
Fifth, how can you not do anything but be in awe of what PBI/Gordon did for Buck It Up? A company-wide contest focusing on families in PBI/Gordon that serve in the military and an innovative way to raise money. And a company match to boot! Wow - they are raising thousands of dollars for Buck It Up, and that’s going to help us promote green. They indeed get it too! A total of $2,000 - considerably more than one “buck” per person - was raised for Buck It Up! which the company has agreed to match. In addition, online donations totaled more than $1,000.
I’m so pumped up that I feel like going out and buying a new pair of argyle socks!
It’s been a tough year - we all know it. But we’ve done tremendous projects as you can see in this issue of our newsletter. We’re doing more with less. So when you do that, passion has to take over.
We sent out the minutes of the meeting in Milwaukee a couple weeks ago. If you’ve been active with us in 2009, pat yourself on the back. Buy your own argyle socks or do something to make you happy! I’ve had it with the doomsayers.
We may be a leaner Project EverGreen for the rest of 2009 and into 2010. But we are resilient. Thanks to Norman Goldenberg for the pep talk in Milwaukee. Knute Rockne’s got nothing on you, man! We founded PE because we decided it was time for us to tell our story about the passion we have for this industry and the good green spaces do for us from an environmental, economic and lifestyle standpoint.
GreenCare for Troops alone should make each of you proud of the time and talent you’ve devoted to the organization. Our EverGreen Zones have resonated with consumers in Milwaukee and Akron.
Our agency working partners are working at reduced rates, and some even pro bono, for the rest of the year. Yep, they get it too!
Thanks all. Together we can undertake and complete anything. You’re proof of that.
Horticulture magazine, the Master Gardeners of Cincinnati and Project EverGreen recently joined forces to renovate the Delhi Township Park. On May 22, volunteers from the Ohio Master Gardeners and Horticulture magazine completed the first of a two-phase rain garden installation to help minimize water runoff into the city’s water supply. The Delhi Flower & Garden Center and Natorp’s Landscape Supply donated plants, trees and shrubs.
Horticulture magazine is following the rain garden installation on editor Patricia Craft’s blog and will feature before and after photos in an article in its October/November issue. The primary purpose of a rain garden is to absorb rainwater that runs off areas including roofs, driveways and walkways. As you well know, this minimizes the amount of rainwater that can cause erosion and flooding, and prevents an overabundant amount of water from flowing into storm drains. Well-placed plantings capture and redirect rainwater, creating a beautiful public green space and improving water quality.
Rain gardens are most effective in sloped areas, and should be contoured to enhance water flow and reduce runoff. Flower beds are raised and amended to improve infiltration and create a controlled environment for large quantities of water to be absorbed. Berm areas are often used to help direct water to the rain garden.
For the Delhi Township Park renovation, a site was selected that could support a rain garden. A plan was then created, and after preparing the site, volunteers amended the soil with eight cubic yards of pine fine and 25 cubic yards of topsoil. Trees, shrubs and various plants were installed and will serve to enhance the beauty of the park as well as prevent water runoff.
Project EverGreen volunteers continue to spread the good word about green at various community events in Akron, Ohio, including the 2009 Junior League Designer ShowHouse. Green industry professionals from Suncrest Gardens, Edenscape and Impact Landscaping & Irrigation joined members of the Ohio Landscape Association to renovate the grounds of the M.A. Knight Manor. Additional participating landscape professionals included Graf Growers, Pam’s Perennial Plant Farm, Earth ’n Wood, Davis Tree Farm, Hoffman’s Garden Center and Willoway Nursery. During its opening weekend, the ShowHouse drew more than 500 community members and remained open through May 24. Thanks for all the support in the Akron area!
Other efforts by Project EverGreen volunteers through the summer included local events such as the Cherry Blossom Festival, Munroe Falls River Day, Farmers’ Markets, Blossom Music Center concerts and more. Street teams have also been busy passing out literature, seed packets and promotional items at:
Water bottles, quizzes, seed packets and more are making their way across Milwaukee. Just a few days after May was declared Project EverGreen Month in the city of Milwaukee, street teams were busy handing out literature about why it’s so important for consumers to maintain the green spaces in their lives.
The first event our street teams attended was the Kohl’s Soccer Tournament, held May 8-9. Players from approximately 100 soccer teams and their supporters were greeted with water bottles, pocket literature and green space quizzes. By the last goal, more than 150 pieces of literature had been handed out.
Our second stop was at the Party for the Planet, held May 16-17 at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Project EverGreen celebrated Earth Day and Migratory Bird Day with 13,000 visitors. Our street team handed out more than 400 water bottles, quizzes, literature, seed packets and coloring books, helping to spread the good word about green. In just four days, we reached out to more than 500 people.
Next, celebrity horticulturist Melinda Meyers (our Project EverGreen spokesperson in Milwaukee) and our street teams passed out more than 5,000 quizzes, pocket reference guides and sunflower seed packets at Milwaukee’s most anticipated event of the year, Summerfest. Special thanks to Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District for allowing us to share their booth on this special day - Kid’s Day - on June 29. The Domes landscape renovation project received thorough coverage by garden writer Christine Eirschele. Christine’s article includes a detailed look at what plants were chosen as well as how they will complement the overall garden experience. Click here to read her story.
To volunteer in either of the EverGreen Zones, visit www.projectevergreen.com.
In a gratifying show of support for GreenCare for Troops, the editor of the Birds & Blooms e-newsletter, WebPlus, encouraged readers to become engaged with this Project EverGreen program. She wrote in the April/May newsletter:
“I recently learned of a gardening service initiative through a group called Project EverGreen - and they’re looking for volunteers! Their program, GreenCare for Troops, helps military families across the country by assisting them with yard and garden work while one spouse is away from home serving our country. If you’re interested in helping with GreenCare for Troops, visit the Project EverGreen web site, www.projectevergreen.com.”
The editor of Midwest Living magazine (circulation 600,000+) was equally supportive, with this commentary:
“Deployed troops and their families have plenty of things to worry about. Lawn care isn’t one of them if Project EverGreen gets involved. Since the spring of 2006, GreenCare for Troops has matched 2,100 lawn-care professionals and other volunteers with families who need help. Regular mowing represents the most common service, but the program sometimes handles jobs as large as whole-yard makeovers. To sign up to help a family in your area, visit www.projectevergreen.com.”
Word-of-mouth marketing is an effective new concept in the world of communications. These articles about GreenCare for Troops are excellent examples. Project EverGreen captured two editors’ imaginations, and our GreenCare for Troops message was communicated to millions of readers.
During last winter’s holiday season, Christmas Decor, the nation’s largest outdoor lighting and decorating franchise, honored and celebrated men and women serving overseas by decorating almost 100 homes as part of its “Decorated Family,” a program that gives an opportunity for us to thank American servicemen and women for putting their lives on the line every day and to help light up the lives of the families they needed to leave behind.
This 4th of July, the Christmas Decor family of more than 375 franchisees reached out to the American public on the most patriotic day of the year to launch its biggest search yet to nominate families that have loved ones who are or will be serving in the armed forces this winter. They too can be eligible for the illuminating program. The company is also proud to announce its partnership with Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Troops to help raise awareness and money for our “Buck It Up” program.
“We want to do twice as many homes this year, and I know with America’s help we can make this dream into a reality,” said Blake Smith, founder of Christmas Decor. “Christmas Decor was built upon ideas of giving back. Decorated Family was built upon those same beliefs. I am very proud of our franchisees and their dedication to making this program such a success across the country. Now we need America’s help to nominate those families. While we cannot bring home a family’s loved one from the war or serving overseas, we can provide some holiday joy by decorating their home.”
Families are selected for Decorated Family from those nominated via the “Decorated Families” link on the Christmas Decor website, www.ChristmasDecor.net. There is a brief application with an opportunity to write a 500-word essay describing why the family being nominated should become a Christmas Decor Decorated Family. Applications must be submitted online, and families will be awarded based on their proximity to a participating Christmas Decor franchise and the impact of their story.
Once selected, the family will be contacted by a Christmas Decor designer who will create a custom holiday display for their home and suggest options for the family. Then a crew will install the decor prior to December 15. At the end of the season, Christmas Decor will return to the home and take down the display.
“I knew families would need some cheering up in the coming months, and since we are already in the business of lighting people’s lives, it seemed like a natural,” said Bob Landaker, branch manager of Christmas Decor of Kennewick, Wash. and Senske Lawn & Tree Care.
Decorated Family first began as an idea. Landaker thought there had to be a way for the franchise to give back to military families during the holiday. Landaker recalls that a dinner gathering in 2003 got him into the spirit of the holidays and made him think about the many military families that wouldn’t be able to share a holiday dinner with their soldiers that season.
This year, Christmas Decor has partnered with Project EverGreen to raise awareness and money for our GreenCare for Troops fund-raising program called “Buck It Up for Military Families.” A single dollar (or $5 or $10) donation to Buck It Up creates scholarships for military family members seeking a career in the horticulture industry, increases infrastructure to better handle the military families and volunteers participating in the program, and enhances the free lawn and landscape services currently provided.
“When we found out about GreenCare for Troops’ Buck It Up program, we saw an opportunity to create synergy between it and Decorated Family. Both programs are devoted to military families, and by joining forces we are able to brighten lives throughout the year,” said Smith.
Project EverGreen was proud to award 20 Akron, Ohio-area students with Art of Green Space Competition awards. Award winners were announced on July 1 at the Akron Public Library. Winning entries are on display at the library throughout the month of July.
Young artists from kindergarten through 12th grade expressed through art, music, writing, dance or drama the importance of green spaces to the environment, the economy and overall quality of life. It was the second year of this competition.
Twenty students received awards in the following categories: Art (painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, etc.), Writing (poetry, stories, articles, etc.), and Dance and Drama (videotapes). Prizes for each category were allocated to elementary, middle and high school ages, with $100 and a blue ribbon for first, $75 and a red ribbon for second, and $50 and a yellow ribbon for third place. Thirty-one students participated in the contest, and all participants received a green ribbon.
Art - Elementary School - Individual
Art - Middle School - Individual
Art - High School - Individual
Art - Middle School - Team
Drama - Middle School
Winning Team: Hallie Heffernan, Erin Seigferth, Alexis Hanson, Tailashay Thorton, Kierra Dunkley
Entry Title: From Nature’s Point of View
Writing - Elementary School - Individual
First Place - Ally Mazziotta; Entry Title: My Backyard
Writing - Middle School - Individual
First Place - Haley R. Calhoun; Entry Title: Saving the National Park - A Screen Play
Headquartered in New Prague, Minnesota, Project EverGreen is a national non-profit organization representing green industry service (end-user) providers, associations, suppliers/distributors, media companies and other organizations. Project EverGreen’s mission is “To preserve and enhance green space in our communities for today and future generations.”
In late 2004, Project EverGreen launched a national media campaign to inform U.S. consumers about the positive effects of well-maintained green spaces, including lawns and landscapes, sports turf, golf courses and parks.