KEEN Community Day Supports ‘Project Build’
KEEN’s HQ in Portland, Oregon, closed its doors last Friday so all employees could spend the morning volunteering in our local community and see KEEN Utility’s ‘Project Build’ come to life with the Northwest YouthCorps.
Earlier this year, KEEN Utility formalized a partnership with The Wilderness Society and 21st Century Conservation Service Corps to build the next generation of public land stewards. Since then, the team has supported TWS, 21CSC and 18 instrumental conservation corps with cash and in-kind donations—including a 300 boot donation to corps members across the country. Northwest YouthCorps is one of those inspirational 18 corps. Last Friday, we were fortunate enough to work beside them.
NYC’s Red Crew put more than 60 KEEN employees to work in Portland’s Hoyt Arboretum. Portland City Parks, ten crew members and two Crew Leaders ran us through safety circles, then put us to work on a few miles of the Wildwood Trail where corps had us doing everything from pulling invasive ivy, maple and blackberry, maintaining the trail corridor, and constructing a retaining wall using juniper logs, rebar, and power tools.
When the NYC isn’t showing KEEN employees how to properly maintain trails or build retaining walls, you can find them all over the state of Oregon working on conservation, reforestation, and recreation projects all while learning valuable lessons of teamwork and responsibility. Crews camp in the field for several weeks, traveling from project to project, gaining a sense of pride and respect for the environment. One of this summer’s projects took crews to the natural areas of Tualatin River and Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuges. Here, crews improved native plant habitat, beautified the area, and built and maintained five miles of non-motorized trails.
But that’s not all, folks. For a second year in a row, KEEN employees spent a half day working in our local school district. Under the great leadership of Portland Public Schools, the KEEN team helped get Beaumont Middle School in East Portland, in tip-top shape for the 2015-16 year.
Employees spread bark dust, cleared weeds from natural areas, washed windows, power washed the building, stamped and recorded new library books, cleaned desks, and helped prepare the cafeteria for hungry middle-schoolers.
This special Friday culminated in a community picnic at Wallace Park. We partook in a few adult beverages, tacos, BBQ, ice cream, and a friendly kickball game against the corps members.