Earth Month 2012
Friday Power Story
** Traci Scarduzio, Executive Associate and Associate Sustainability Task Force member shares a reflection from an Earth Month 2013 event she coordinated.**
“Did you just say bat house? What the heck is a bat house?” This was my initial response when Executive Associate Shelly Black came to me with the idea. Shelly suggested that we install bat houses along a section of the Dutchess Rail Trail that has been plagued with flying insects. I did a little research and it seemed like a great way to naturally reduce the insect population, so we decided to run with the idea. My husband likes to say that volunteerism runs in my veins, and I guess it’s probably true. We have always been very involved with our community and I love organizing volunteer events. I made a few phone calls, sent some emails, and things started to come together.
It turns out that decent-size bat houses are fairly expensive, and we wanted to install ten of them. We decided we would build them ourselves. Eastern red cedar trees donated by the Northern Dutchess Gun Club were milled by fellow Executive Associate Brent Feldweg, owner of Forest-All Consulting and Saw Milling. Associates Paul Akins and Eugene Stangl worked with Brent over the next two weekends to build the ten bat houses. Executive Director Brian Nichols was able to get the mounting posts donated from Williams Lumber in Hopewell Junction, NY. The addition of the “V” logo was the perfect finishing touch. I may be a bit biased, but I think the bat houses are absolutely beautiful, and the fact that they were completely built from locally-harvested timber makes them even more special. Brent was quick to point out that all the electricity used by the power tools was supplied by Viridian!
On Sunday, April 21 we were joined by SVP of Brand Communication and Strategy Cami Boehme and her family as we installed the bat houses in conjunction with a rail trail cleanup. Forty-nine volunteers converged on the trail and a day filled with hard work and camaraderie was off to a great start. Cleanup teams were staged at two-mile intervals along the eight-mile section of trail from Hopewell Junction to Poughkeepsie, NY. Holes for the installation of the bat houses were dug with enthusiasm. Concrete and water were hauled down the trail and the bat houses started to go up. The final bat houses were put in place as teams started to return with hundreds of pounds of trash, which included discarded electrical wire, old tires, and even a pair of boots covered in moss!
The day was an absolute success on so many levels. The ten bat houses occupy a two-mile section of trail that runs beside wetlands and a lake. They will provide a habitat for up to 2,000 bats helping to naturally reduce the flying insect population along the trail. Over 1,400 pounds of unsightly and environmentally unfriendly trash was removed from an eight-mile section of trail. The biggest success of the day for me and many other Associates was the simple reward of giving back. Those who participated left with a sense of pride in what they had accomplished, a stronger bond with their Viridian teammates, and a renewed commitment to sustainability. It was a huge belief-building event for all of us. Associate Janet Stangl said, “It was fun, and nice to get to know other Associates and do something good for the community.” Executive Associate Shelly Black, whose idea inspired the event said, “I felt so good to be helping with our local Rail Trail cleanup alongside my Viridian friends. I can’t wait ‘till the bats move in.”
Executive Directors Brian & Rae Ann Nichols said, “It was great to be able to spend the day hanging with our Viridian friends and help out our community at the same time.”
Our team leader, Executive Director Anthony Serino summed it up this way; “Two words come to mind; incredibly rewarding”.
Check out photos from the event on Viridian's Facebook