This year we're celebrating 25 years on our Path of Service™ employee volunteer program through which we have served over 1.2 million hours and planted over 9 million trees to preserve the outdoors and strengthen our communities around the globe. An increasing number of these communities are in urban centers as more and more people worldwide live in cities. As an outdoor lifestyle brand, we aim to equip people for their everyday adventures, wherever they may be. No longer does the outdoors only mean getting out of the city to hike a trail or a mountain. Today, the outdoors can be as simple as stepping outside, into the open air and elements, and exploring where you are in the moment.
For years we have worked to protect the outdoors through our global tree planting efforts most notably in Haiti, China, and the Dominican Republic. While our communities appreciate our efforts abroad, we heard from them that they wanted us to do something closer to home.
HOW GREEN SPACES COME TO LIFE
To be of greater service to urban communities and US city dwellers, last year we launched a five-year commitment to double our footprint in five US cities – just not in the way you might expect. In each city, we aim to create or restore urban green spaces that match or exceed the combined retail footprint of our local stores in that city.
We launched our U.S. efforts last June and our first stop was the Bronx, NY. We gathered 100 volunteers to assist GrowNYC and restore a community garden in the Mott Haven community. Three months later, we went back to build benches and a performance space for the garden’s official opening to the public. This October, we're excited to head to Philadelphia to work with Center City District to support Phase 1 of the new Rail Park, a quarter-mile-long, 26,000-square-foot spur of an abandoned viaduct that will become a raised park for all to enjoy.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Timberland Europe launched My PlayGreen, a five-year grant program that will support the access to trees and green spaces for children and teenagers in five of Europe’s largest cities. In March, 14 grants were distributed to support non-profit urban greening projects in London, Milan, Berlin, Paris and Barcelona. We kicked off the My PlayGreen project last May in Milan where 120 employees volunteered to support three urban greening projects around the city. Meanwhile, we launched other urban greening projects in Italy, Switzerland and the UK to help improve communities. These programs focused on supporting environmental, social charities and special causes.
Green spaces do more than add color to communities. They bring people together with the common goal of rejuvenating and strengthening the places they call home, while creating safe places for kids and adults alike to play, walk, and be outdoors. At the end of the day, green spaces encourage the development of community leaders as residents come together to protect their shared spaces.
LIFE'S BETTER OUTDOORS
Many things change over time and the human relationship to nature is no exception. Through Timberland's urban greening work worldwide, we aim to bring a touch of the outdoors to the cities where we live, work and explore.
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of our Path of Service™ program, we encourage you to find opportunities to connect with nature in your community, whether you choose to volunteer with a local NGO, join us on one of our projects, or simply go for a walk through your neighborhood. It all starts with pulling on your boots and stepping outside!