By Eliza Dodd
Spring came to visit us early this year in Vermont. A general lack of snow and surprisingly warm temperature has encouraged folks to get outside a bit sooner than in past years.
Recently, the Domestic Community Outreach team spent a morning taking advantage of our employee volunteer program to support our friends at the Intervale Center.
The Intervale Center is one of Vermont’s most vital nonprofits, with the mission to strengthen community food systems. Since 1988, the Intervale has been dedicated to improving farm viability, promoting sustainable land use and engaging our community in the food system. One of their programs is the Intervale Conservation Nursery, which received funding from our Vermont Employee Community Grant program last fall. The grant will support two restoration projects along local rivers and will increase outreach for the program. The Conservation Nursery sells the native, locally-sourced shrubs and trees to local organizations and government entities for conservation projects, in addition to doing restoration projects independently. In the spring, the Intervale clips small pieces of a variety of local native plants and brings them back to their greenhouse to plant until they can be transplanted outdoors and grown for use in restoration projects around the state.
Karen, Liz and I had a great time planting both Elderberry and Dogwood starts and getting to know the folks who manage the Conservation Nursery. On this sunny day, the greenhouse was a balmy 75 degrees. Between the humid heat & the repetitive routine of planting clippings, we all thought it was a nice little break from our daily office activities, and we each felt great about the difference we were making in our community/state. In our roles, we spend a lot of time supporting nonprofits from afar- by providing grants or by coordinating opportunities for other employees to get out and volunteer in the community. To actually dig in and volunteer personally with one of the nonprofits we support in both of those ways was very rewarding.
Quite a few other GMCR employees have been out to volunteer with the Intervale in the past month.
Our volunteer experience even inspired our colleagues on the CSR team who work on Supply Chain Outreach to head to the Intervale for an afternoon. They got more seasonally appropriate weather and an outdoor activity, so they had a slightly different experience that we did, but they also had a wonderful time supporting this local organization.
Maybe we will all join forces to go back to the Intervale to plant the Dogwood and Elderberry plants in the fields, where they will continue to grow until they are used for a restoration project. We hope you might consider supporting an organization near you that is making a difference in your community!