On a beautiful Saturday in late August, close to 30 Swinerton employees and family members from around Southern California came out for the National Park Service’s “Volunteers-In-Parks” program. It gives people the opportunity to play an active role in helping protect and share our national treasures. Many of the national parks have this kind of service, with a “host” who is typically a volunteer or part-time employee who organizes the event.
Volunteer groups can do anything from measuring Sequoias for research, pulling invasive species in the meadows that are killing the native plants, or in our case, watering the tiny trees they planted last season in the campgrounds after the massive drought in California—which killed over a million trees in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks alone!
The idea was spawned by Gennelle Dedek, a Senior Project Engineer in OCLA’s Special Projects division. She had previously volunteered at Sequoia with her former employer and had an incredible experience; Swinerton immediately agreed to participate and Gennelle rounded up her co-workers.
After camping out Friday night as one big happy family, they woke and started filling their cans from the watering truck. For six hours, they poured and poured to ensure the little baby Cedars and Sugar Pine trees had enough water to survive the rest of the summer.
They held a group breakfast and dinner, roasted s’mores, played games, swam in the lake—and even saw a bear! In the end, they all agreed that spending time bonding without cell phones really made the trip. It was a wonderful opportunity to get to know their fellow co-workers away from the jobsite and office.
For more information on the National Park Service’s “Volunteers-In-Parks” program, visit: nps.gov/articles/volunteers-in-parks.htm