Posted by Bridget, Citizen’s Advocacy Representative
One of the great things about living in Maine is our beautiful coastline with its prevalence of public parks and abundance of lighthouses (over 60!). Fort Williams Park, a deactivated Army fort in Cape Elizabeth and home of Portland Head Light, is one such location.
A group of dedicated citizens recently started a volunteer project called the Arboretum at Fort Williams Park. The effort is devoted to creating an arboretum of fifteen individual sustainable landscapes around the park’s perimeter using native plants and some compatible non-natives. A trail system will connect these landscapes to provide better recreational and educational opportunities. When Matt, our Brand Manager for Oral Care, suggested that our team use some of our volunteer time to help out at the park, we were all immediately on board.
Our visit to the park included a lesson on the invasive species now overrunning much of the park. This part was especially interesting to me as I had no previous knowledge of which plants are native, and which are not. I was alarmed to return home and notice that a large part of my yard is overrun with invasive Japanese knotweed!
Our time at the Park was dedicated to spring cleanup. We raked leaves and cleaned up sticks from the area in front of the old officer’s quarters, where a future children’s area will be built. Though the area looked daunting, it was amazing how quickly we cleared debris when combining efforts. For us, it was a great sign of how a project as large in scope as the arboretum will come to fruition with the help of community. When we broke for lunch, the team agreed, another day at Fort Williams should be planned in the future.
We know that we are lucky to be able to use 5% of our paid work time volunteering and that not everyone has this benefit. But one of the ways that you can help your favorite nonprofit is by encouraging them to apply for funding through our 50 States for Good program. Six nonprofits will share in our $150,000 fund, including one organization that will be given $50,000. Click here for more details.