Gardeners for A Day in Philly

John Healy

Ecova employees in Pennsylvania recently used our Ecova Impact Community Service Day―a paid day off for every employee to volunteer in his or her community. The day provided an opportunity to not only perform service, but to work as a team, and it was a great experience!


My colleague, John Hollinger scouted out various locations and selected Philadelphia landmark John Bartram Gardens, a beautiful botanical garden located in West Philadelphia, as our site. The historic Bartram Gardens was the 18th century home of America’s first botanist, John Bartram, and today is a showcase of native plants and historic buildings. These beautiful gardens sit on the edge of the Schuylkill River and are preserved and maintained to look much like they did almost three centuries ago.

The day started with an overview from the head gardener, Todd Greenberg, explaining the vision for the area in which we would be working—a future orchard on a sunny hillside. Today the site is covered with Japanese honeysuckle, an invasive species that was aggressively growing and spreading across the sloping field, which had to be removed before any trees could be planted.

The Ecova team dug, raked and hoed the hillside, and filled wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow with the pulled vegetation. We beautified a large patch on a hillside and left it ready for the Bartram gardeners to take over for phase II of the project.
pilli_community_service_teamWe put in a good day’s work and enjoyed the beautiful weather and the awesome location as we worked together. Field coordinators, field managers, program managers―we all joined in to make up a team of 16 working together. Our hours of work in the garden were rewarded with a tour of the beautiful grounds at the end of the day.

The team comments at the end of our day summed up our experience best:

  • “It was great to see what the team accomplished in such a short time―to bring a team of 16 together for this project was significant. By the end of the day, the area was cleared and ready for the next phase of the Garden’s project.”
  • “An opportunity to see the efforts of this organization and to support them with much needed labor. Good chance for the Ecova team to spend time together outside, building relationships and getting to know one another better.”
  • “It was a great event. John Hollinger did a great job of organizing the day and I really enjoyed the project, the location and the satisfaction of the work.”
  • “It was hard work and a lot of fun. We got a good amount of the area cleared and it felt like our team really made an impact!”
  • “This was a great opportunity for team building, as well as a day of service. We really enjoyed the day and we’re thrilled about the benefit.”

Ecova’s Community Service Day benefit provided a great chance for the Pennsylvania team to give back to the community where we work and live, and making the effort as a team made it fun and fulfilling!

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