When we had first read of our national organization’s idea of the “Day of Service”, it was never a question of if we would participate as a PLANET member firm in this activity. The quandary for us was in deciding what would be worthy of this special day for our community and in representing PLANET. Many ideas were discussed including one where we would create a “World Tree Circle” garden which would represent our planet. However after many different ideas similar to this were discussed in our office, we finally approached the school staff with the idea of a permanent educational garden depicting ‘Ecological Succession’ in our part of the world. To our pleasant surprise the school district not only offered their blessing but also any help that they could offer.
The location of our day of service project is Britton Elementary School in Hilliard, Ohio. This school has been a large part of my life. Not only was my father on the board of education when this school was built, I attended this school as one of its first students as did my three sons. Since we have been a working partner of the school for the past several years, it was an easy choice to honor them with our particular day of service.
The garden itself will have five distinct growth successions depicting prairie habitat progressing to an ultimate mature climax forest. Each garden habitat will be a six foot by six foot area defined with a cut tumbled concrete product. Permanent signage is also provided for each section for the science classes that will view the garden as well as the public. Approximately 460 students and teachers will take home a seedling shagbark hickory tree to plant in tribute to Earth Day and a memorial to the new school garden.
Although Earth Day began many years ago in 1970, it has been an on-going journey for the world to become cognoscente of the importance of “green” stewardship within both our local and global worlds. Today, with the help of PLANET, there has never been a better opportunity in history for our industry to shine. The PLANET Day of Service is an opportunity to truly give something back to your small part of the world and to those that it will affect. -Steve