As the crunching sound of fallen leaves under boots bounced off of nearby trees, Ryan said to his group, “What a great way to start a Friday.” It was a vibrant morning at Lyme Pinnacle in Lyme, New Hampshire, and a team of employees from Resource Systems Group in White River Junction was heading up to their project site for the day. A new section of trail was flagged and ready to be built on the eastern slope of this conserved property, waiting for a crew that was willing to spend a day working under the sun and amongst the trees instead of heading into the office.
This team from RSG was participating in a Corporate Volunteer Program (or CVP) workday led by UVLT staff. This UVLT service program, now in its second year, provides an opportunity for Upper Valley businesses to step out of their normal routine and into nature for part of their workday.
Engaging these volunteers in trail building, habitat restoration, construction projects, gardening, and even wood splitting, corporate service time is a unique opportunity for Upper Valley workers. It is an outlet for our fellow community members to get out onto publicly accessible land to practice their land stewardship skills while building stronger bonds with their workplace teammates.
“The work was rewarding but the benefits to our group of volunteers were numerous, such [as] hiking to the worksite with colleagues and sharing a post-work day meal,” Mr. Haac commented. Many of our partners in 2019 have turned the day into more than a volunteer outing, opting to end the day with a cookout or a scenic hike. Every workday is unique, providing problem solving scenarios to coworkers and an avenue to get to know your coworkers more personally in a natural setting.
During the 2019 field season, CVP participants have completed many projects on six of our conservation areas. Teams of coworkers have cleared trail corridors at Lyme Pinnacle and Dismal at Pressey Brook in East Hanover, and built a bridge at Smith Pond out of nearby hemlock. They have put the finishing touches on our pollinator garden at Lyme Hill before winter hits. Multiple upgrades have been completed at Lyme Pinnacle this year—a brand new section of trail as mentioned above and a freshly cleared vista—in preparation for its grand public opening on October 13th.
Jeff Cornish of Hypertherm has been volunteering with UVLT for many years in his personal time and through the corporate service time program at Hypertherm. “With UVLT providing guidance on what needs to be accomplished, the sky is the limit on what we can do for the community; as a bonus, we get to know our coworkers better.”
UVLT has had 10 workdays this year and partnered with 7 different companies, including Celdara Medical, RSG, Hypertherm, Adimab, King Arthur Flour, and White Mountains Capital. UVLT staff are always looking to foster new partnerships with Upper Valley businesses. Workdays can be scheduled at any point for all seasons of the year, featuring indoor and outdoor projects, and a large variety of group sizes can be accommodated. UVLT is also exploring options to create a multifaceted experience by including team building activities, mindfulness, and environmental education in the volunteer workday.
Dana Thompson of Hypertherm on his team’s UVLT volunteer experience: “When I look at the Test and Automation team here at Hypertherm, which I am part of, we all have a common bond with a love of the outdoors. So volunteering at UVLT is a great fit. This is also a great opportunity for us to get together outside of work as a team building exercise.”
Contact our Outreach and Donor Programs Coordinator, Paul Blazevich, if you are interested in setting up a volunteer workday for you and your coworkers. The ecosystems and trails of the Upper Valley are waiting!
Interested in volunteering with UVLT but don’t have a group to volunteer with? Join us on October 22nd at 4pm for UVLT’s Annual Open House to learn about all the volunteer programs UVLT has and all the different ways you can volunteer with us to engage with your community and get outside! For more information about our Open House click here.