• Home
  • News
  • Corporate Volunteers Return in Force to Help Restore the Arboretum

Rockwell Automation mulched the Lilac Collection in April with UW gardener Roy Farrow (right).

After a year-long pandemic-related hiatus, the Foundation’s Corporate and Group Service Program is back in full swing.

So far in 2021, eight local companies have sent volunteers to the Arboretum to help the horticulture staff weed, remove invasive plant species, and spread mulch on planting beds. Foundation Volunteer Programs Manager Alyssa Henry is coordinating with UW and City gardeners to host more projects in October and November.

“A few of these will be with companies joining us for the first time this year; others will be with groups who are coming back for more!” says Alyssa. “The projects are a great way for businesses to invest in their local community, create opportunities for team bonding and problem solving, engage with nature, and learn about the Arboretum. With the pandemic, there has also been an upsurge in interest for safe, outdoor group activities—not to mention the kind of serious Nature Rx that a visit to the Arboretum can provide.”

Volunteers from the Discovery Channel mulched and weeded the Holly Collection in early October.

The first group to join us this year was Rockwell Automation, who had completed a service project in the Arboretum once before, in 2019. On April 22, five volunteers worked with UW’s Arboretum Horticulture Supervisor Roy Farrow to spread more than 10 cubic yards of mulch in the Lilac Collection along Azalea Way. Next up was Windermere, who sent 10 volunteers on June 11 to mulch trees in the Pacific Connections Garden meadow. They moved about 70 yards of mulch, working it around the large hollies in the center of meadow.

On September 2, seven volunteers from Salesforce spread about 20 yards of mulch in Loderi Valley, not far from Arboretum Drive. This group consists of some serious repeat customers! Salesforce has completed nine service projects over the last three and half years, and they have at least one more coming up this fall. Andy Vuong has participated in the majority of these projects.

“I love having such a huge green space like the Arboretum right within the city, and it feels right to help care for something I enjoy (for free),” says Andy. “Coming back to volunteer feels even more special knowing that volunteers are an important aspect of the Arboretum’s operation. I appreciate the time and opportunity the Arboretum has given to our team to escape our normal day-to-day. Not only do we learn a little something outside of our typical jobs, but we also get to do some team building as well!”

Salesforce volunteers spreading mulch in Loderi Valley in September.

Google is another company with another strong record of service projects at the Arboretum, going back to at least 2015, when the Foundation began to coordinate the volunteer effort. Early last month, 17 Google volunteers mulched the Gateway to Chile hillside, mostly using a bucket brigade due to the steepness of the slope.

On September 14, five volunteers from Presence Marketing worked with Roy Farrow and some Arboretum Stewards to pull weeds in the Witt Winter Garden. It was the company’s first service project here, and we look forward to welcoming them back again soon!

On September 22, eight volunteers from Integral Consulting—another first-time company for us—worked under the supervision of Seattle Parks and Recreation to spread mulch on the Waterfront Trail. The volunteers spread 10 yards of mulch altogether while moving each wheelbarrow load at least 0.3 miles along the trail.

Integral Consulting volunteerins spreading mulch on the Waterfront Trail in September.

On their third project in the Arboretum, DA Davidson sent nine volunteers to mulch the Winter Garden on September 24. The volunteers moved more than 27 cubic yards of wood chips! Then, at the start of this month, 16 volunteers from the Discovery Channel—another first-timer for the Arboretum—worked with UW staff to weed and mulch the Holly Collection. They spread about 15 yards of mulch on the hillside beds and removed about three yards of invasives, mostly bindweed.

Thank you! A huge thanks to all the volunteers and companies who have invested their time and energy to help restore and enhance the Arboretum! And thanks in advance to the corporate groups who’ll be coming later in the fall, including Amazon, Brighton Jones, and Salesforce. For questions about group volunteering at the Arboretum, email Alyssa Henry or call her at 206-325-4510.

DA Davidson employees spread mulch in the Winter Garden in late September.

Google volunteers mulched the Gateway to Chile hillside in September.

Presence Marketing employees weeded in the Winter Garden in September.