Hikers may not always give much thought to the trails they use when trekking through the woods, but someone has to clear the brush and create those pathways. Recently a group of stalwart Viridian Associates made their mark in Massachusetts by creating a route for hikers to enjoy the state’s natural beauty.
Led by Director Donna French, Associates joined forces with the Waltham Land Trust to clear and mark a section of the Western Greenway nature trail on Saturday, Aug. 4. A total of 30 community volunteers—including a number of female Viridian Associates and their daughters—showed up for a day of hard work in the hot sun.
“The group was sweating in the parking lot before having to trek up a hill to get to the section of trail they would work on,” French said. “We used all sorts of ‘trail-blazing’ tools to clear and create this new part of of the pathway.”
The plan was to make the trail an intermediate level section for more adventurous hikers, as it was all uphill. The group cleared roots and debris using axes, large pruning clippers and special rakes to help level the soil.
The project was so successful that a local TV crew came out to report on the effort
of French’s team and learn more about Viridian.
“Our group had a great time working with the Waltham Land Trust, which educated our volunteers about the strategic processes behind trail making and park management,” French said. “The work was far more intense and rigorous than we anticipated, and we are very grateful to the Associates who braved the heat and stuck to their commitment to come out and take part in Viridian’s sustainability efforts.”
French’s sentiments were echoed by Massachusetts Associate Kate Hallett.
“Participating made me feel connected to Generation V and got me excited to become part of the sustainability movement,” she said “I feel more confident after speaking with other Viridian Associates that I too can build a strong business. When I see and hear others making an impact it fuels my belief that I can do it, too.”
In just a few days, thousands of tennis aficionados will make their way to Flushing, New York, for the 2012 US Open tennis championship, kicking off Aug. 27. For a tennis lover, there is nothing like the grunts coming from players when the racket connects with the ball, the sound of that ball sailing over the net, and the applause that resounds after an ace.
This year, Viridian will be part of that magic as the company’s sustainability efforts move to a larger platform. Viridian has pledged to purchase carbon offsets to counteract all player travel-emissions, estimated to be 2.2 million miles.
Viridian has agreed to purchase 455 metric tons of carbon offsets from the Greater New Bedford Landfill Gas Utilization Project, located in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, to help “green” the event. All offsets are Green-e Climate certified, meaning all the offsets come from high-quality projects and are verified and properly tracked and credited.
“This is just another way Viridian is continuing to make a strong collective impact,” Michael Fallquist, Founder & CEO of Viridian, said. “We believe that by voluntarily purchasing these offsets, we’re doing the right thing and setting an example for others to follow.”
Viridian is in good company with its commitment to green consciousness. The US Open has remained dedicated to green initiatives in recent years, as evidenced by its efforts from last year’s US Open:
- More than 100 tons of plastic, metal, glass and cardboard were collected throughout the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and recycled.
- The United States Tennis Association (USTA) collected the 70,000 tennis balls used during the player’s practices and matches to reuse in USTA tennis programs and donate to various community and youth organizations throughout the country.
- From the kitchens at the US Open, 985 gallons of food grease were converted into biodiesel fuel, and 21,000 pounds of leftover food were donated to the community
- More than 80 tons of food waste were collected and turned into compost for landscape and farming uses
- All service ware in the Food Village was 100 percent compostable
Viridian is also purchasing carbon offsets for all attendee travel to PowerUP!, Viridian’s annual convention commencing Friday, Sept. 21, in Atlantic City, NJ.
“Viridian’s commitment to green initiatives stretches from the largest of platforms, like the US Open, to everyday platforms like a beach cleanup or a company convention,” Fallquist said. “Our commitment to sustainability is core to our company mission, and as we continue to grow, we look forward to finding more ways to positively impact the communities we serve.”
A scorching summer sun can significantly raise a building’s temperature—as well as the energy and costs needed to keep it cool—so a group of Viridian volunteers did their part recently to add a green solution to one New York rooftop.
Led by New York Executive Associate and Associate Sustainability Council member Maurice Frumkin, the group gathered in uptown New York City on Saturday, July 21, to paint the roof of a 10,000-square-foot apartment building with reflective white paint under the “NYC °CoolRoofs ” initiative. The project is expected to extend the roof’s life by 10 years.
The program encourages building owners to cool their rooftops by applying a reflective white coating that reduces energy use, cooling costs and carbon emissions. The program supports New York City’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030, as outlined in PlaNYC, the citys comprehensive sustainability plan.
With 20 volunteers on hand—including several from Viridian Corporate—the group worked straight through from 9 am until a 12:15 lunch break, painting most of the roof in that time.
“Neighbors and building residents were very curious about the project and what we were doing up on their roof,” said Hannah Wells, Sustainability Coordinator at Viridian. “There was even one woman next door looking out her window curiously, who actually called out to ask what we were up to. She was very impressed to learn that we were an energy company painting a roof white to reduce the energy demands of the building.”
Frumkin said being that high up over the city offered incredible views for everyone, although the work was challenging.
“We could clearly see the Empire State Building in the distance as well as nearby Yankee Stadium,” he said. “There was some shade on the roof at the beginning, but the black roof quickly heated up as the sun warmed the surface. Luckily, there was a nice breeze blowing to help keep us cool.”
For some participants, the activity was a great way to meet fellow Associates and bond over a common project.
“It was rewarding to do something special and different,” said Associate Liz Paulo. “It was also an opportunity to invite people to come and experience what Viridian is about. Plus, how often can you go to New York City and see the views from a rooftop?”
When the group gathered for lunch and networking, many expressed interest in returning to paint other roofs.
“We’re looking into how to make this happen,” Wells said. “Wed like to help launch this project in other cities, as New York is one of the only cities facilitating an official ‘cool roofs’ painting program.”
Frumkin echoed that sentiment, noting the gratitude of some of the building’s residents. “They were really appreciative,” he said. “They came up and said to us, ‘Thank you so much for what you did for our community. Just having you show up here to help makes such a difference in our lives.’ That really made it all worthwhile.” (To see a number of photos from the event, be sure to visit Viridian’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/liveviridian)
While there is a waiting list for other groups to participate on weekends, interested individuals who want to sign up on their own can do so at www.nyc.gov/html/coolroofs/html/involved/volunteer.shtml