OK. So you are probably wondering how volunteer involvement can be catagorized as an improvement. Should this not be a topic for a section specific to "Membership" or "Helping Hands"? Well, yes. This does fit under other categories but "Volunteer Involvment" also belongs in the "Improvements" category.
Before the Conservancy became an official organization, a few people got together and decided to host a work day in the park. We mulched, we planted flowers, we raked leaves, drank coffee and schmoozed. At the end of the day, we stood back to take a look. And, we saw a visual difference. Not in the whole park but in the small space where we worked. We each felt a sense of ownership and shared a common goal. It was a small effort, but it spoke volumes to us.
Early on, the Steering Committee (later to become the Board) decided to place time and effort on developing a volunteer program for the following reasons:
Since 1999, over 18,000 volunteers have participated in volunteer projects in Grant Park. What have they done? Over 1000 cubuc yards of mulch distributed, thousands of trees planted, shrubs and ground covers installed, buildings painted, fences installed, historic sites cleaned up, a bog garden installed, a native shade garden, hundreds of blue bird houses, bat boxes and screech owl houses, an annual 5K run, a great and growing intown festival and more.
An added benefit to us - we get to work with some of the best volunteers available and some of the top employers, schools, and civic groups in Atlanta. We even get volunteers who are in town for conventions or just visiting friends. Here are a few of the groups who have helped in the park:
Turner Companies, The Home Depot, BellSouth, Kroger, AirTran Airways, Alston + Bird, Adams Realtors, djk Realtors, Tony Brewer & Company, Macy's, PricewaterhouseCoopers', Atlanta Coca Cola Bottling Company, DAVE FM 92.9, Whole Foods Market, Starbucks Coffee, Hands On Atlanta, Deloitte Consulting, Georgia Forestry Commission, Trees Atlanta, Westminster Schools, Atlanta Girls School, Georgia State University, Georgia Tech TEAMBuzz, Morehouse College SGA-CSC, Park Pride, Service Juris, Georgia Power, Arborguard Tree Specialists, Jones Ellas Design, Burford Tree Service, 4H Clubs of America, Accenture, Pace Academy, Emory University, Lexus Southern Region, Southern Nurseryman's Association, Spellman/Morehouse Jumpstart, Lutheran Youth Conference, Grant Park Neighborhood Association, GreenLaw, Hospira Worldwide, EarthShare of Georgia, Viridis Garden Design, Craft LLC, Delta Air Lines, Six Feet Under Pub & Fish House, Operation Boot Camp, and...OK. We will stop there.
Bottom line. Volunteers can and do make a difference. So, should volunteers be considered as Improvements to the park?