Tag Archives: trees

Resolve to Serve Stories: Weed Wrangle®

Cayce McAlister remembers how different the forest looked when she was young.

“You saw tree trunks. You didn’t see all this low-level scrub,” she says. “All that green scourge you see in the woods is invasive plants.”

cayce mcalister
Cayce McAlister

McAlister says that native plants and trees don’t stand a chance in areas that are overgrown with non-native species. Invasive plants reproduce and spread quickly, often out-competing native plants. This leads to a reduction in plant diversity and the loss of habitat and food for wildlife.

Now McAlister is on a mission. A former president and longtime member of the Garden Club of Nashville, she was instrumental in founding Weed Wrangle®, an annual event where volunteers gather in parks and public spaces to remove problematic plants. The annual pull puts a dent in the problem, but McAlister says that alone won’t solve the issue of invasive plant growth. There must be public education, too.

Each Weed Wrangle® site will have an official on hand to show the participants clippings of the pesky plants to target and tell them the best tactics for removal.

“Invasive plants have no borders, and the success of our effort is affected dramatically by landscaping practices of neighbors to all of these public areas,” she says. McAlister encourages attendees to take their new knowledge home and eradicate invasive species in their own yards. Then talk to the people next door about doing the same.

In 2015, its first year, Weed Wrangle® drew more than 500 volunteers to 13 sites across Nashville. McAlister says the event has grown quickly and now exists across multiple Tennessee markets and in 13 other states. Since its inception, Weed Wrangle® has engaged 3,164 volunteers in Tennessee, who have contributed a combined 27,528 volunteer hours.

This year’s event, slated for March 2, has 20 Middle Tennessee sites where volunteers will wrangle weeds. You don’t have to be a gardener to help, says McAlister, who, as the event’s National Chair, is a full-time volunteer and travels the country spreading the seed of an idea that first took root in Nashville.

“There is a job for everyone out there. Little kids can pick up debris and drag it to the pile. Big buff people, they’re all trying to yank everything out of the ground instead of using tools,” she says with a laugh. “It’s a fun day.”

You can join the fun by browsing Weed Wrangle® opportunities here.

Interested in signing up to host your own Weed Wrangle® site? Visit the Weed Wrangle® website or email Ampage158@gmail.com.

Photos courtesy of Weed Wrangle.

 

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Green Break 2016 Recap!

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This group put in a valiant effort on 50K tree day! On Feb. 27, 2016, university groups, high school students, corporate teams, and more came together to plant 378 trees during the statewide effort to plant 50,000. The 378 trees HON volunteers planted will offset an estimated 1,631.1 tons of carbon over time.

What better way to spend spring break than helping out in the great outdoors?

Over the course of the last month, Hands On Nashville had the opportunity to work with hundreds of volunteers from across the country to complete 13 meaningful projects supporting our environment. Now that’s what we like to call a “Green Break!” Continue reading Green Break 2016 Recap!

Guest Blog: TechnologyAdvice Volunteer Recap

Hands On Nashville is fortunate to work with inspired corporate groups looking to make a difference. Recently, TechnologyAdvice Media Relations Coordinator Jenna Elkins sent us this great recap of the volunteer efforts her team has led this year!

Giving is Ingrained in our Company Culture

At TechnologyAdvice, we are committed to serving the Nashville area, along with the people and local businesses that have helped us thrive. In fact, we’ve centered our entire company culture around giving – giving our all to our clients, our employees, and our community.

As of January 2015, we’ve ramped up our volunteer efforts in order to better serve our community and benefit our employees. Studies show that a culture of giving at the workplace enhances moods, encourages teamwork, and keeps employee churn low. As a small but rapidly growing business, volunteering allows us to build positive community relations by serving people from all walks of life and assisting with environmental projects that better our surrounding area.

Through the Hands On Nashville volunteer platform, we’ve connected with unique, and rewarding volunteer projects. It’s a simple system that allows us to seamlessly sign up team members for various activities. We’ve had wonderful experiences, and are looking forward to more!

Tree Planting with Hands On Nashville 

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Technology/Advice team planting trees with Hands On Nashville in March.

In March, a large group from TechnologyAdvice worked together to support Hands On Nashville in their efforts to plant more trees for a healthier city. Volunteers worked in a riparian zone in north Nashville, and around 200 trees were planted in just two hours! Cameron Graham, TechnologyAdvice Managing Editor, shares his tree planting experience:

“After we arrived on site we received a short, informative presentation about the importance of riparian zones and their effect in controlling run-off waters. Nashville has previously seen intense flooding in some areas, so these zones are crucial for ensuring that excess water can safely be absorbed into the ground.

Once we had been oriented and shown the proper techniques, we picked up our shovels and started planting. To ensure that each tree had a chance to successfully grow, we had to space them correctly and carefully cover them with soil. Everyone on the team had fun digging holes  and searching for areas which needed additional trees. During the event some of our team members also found a variety of wildlife.

Our team enjoyed the activity so much in fact that we finished well ahead of schedule. That gave us time to help collect some errant litter, and grab a few snacks after our hard work. While it might be a little while until we see the results of our efforts, the entire team had a great time actively contributing to the community and the Nashville ecosystem.”

Below are a few more experiences TechnologyAdvice has had through Hands On Nashville since January 2015:

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TechnologyAdvice team volunteering at American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in spring 2015.

Hope Lodge Game Night – American Cancer Society: Nine of our team members shared in some fun with the residents of the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge by playing rounds of bingo. Hope Lodge provides free temporary housing for cancer patients receiving outpatient treatment at Nashville hospitals.

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Technology/Advice team helping at The Nashville Food Project in spring 2015.

Meal Prep at The Nashville Food Project: Our team was feeling like iron chefs during this activity. We helped process donated and grown produce for the Nashville Food Project’s hot meal program. Our 11 volunteers chopped butternut squash, peeled sweet potatoes, made quesadillas, and more. We used many ingredients to make delicious hot meals for people experiencing homelessness and poverty.

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Technology/Advice team at Project C.U.R.E.

Project C.U.R.E: Fourteen of our team members supported Project C.U.R.E., which collects new, surplus, and overstock medical supplies. We sorted all kinds of different medical supplies, and packed them in boxes, which were delivered to one of Project C.U.R.E’s targeted, developing countries.


Learn more about Hands On Nashville’s Corporate Partner Program:
Interested in a customized, team building opportunity to give back with your staff?
Contact tara@hon.org.
Share your story:
Want to share a volunteer experience with us? Let us know at contactus@hon.org.

 

Trees for a Healthier Nashville

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Guest Post by Jennifer Smith, Horticulturist, Metro Public Works, Beautification & Environment Commission, Landscape Coordination Program.

Did you know that trees are vital to a healthy Nashville? From clean air to the reduction of temperatures, trees are working for us. For the environment, trees are an effective tool in managing storm water runoff and controlling erosion and they provide wildlife habitat. Continue reading Trees for a Healthier Nashville