As part of its broadened efforts to improve and enhance urban green spaces across the country and make consumers aware of the many benefits of green spaces, Project EverGreen recently mobilized two extensive landscaping renewal projects for historic Crockett Park and Columbus Park in downtown San Antonio. The collaborative landscaping renovation was organized by Project EverGreen and included the city of San Antonio Mayor's Office, City Council and the Parks & Recreation Department, along with BASF Company employees, ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance, the Texas Nursery & Landscape Association, and local Palo Alto College horticulture students-all volunteers.
Volunteer groups, including 130 BASF company employees, were onsite for half a day in February at both Crockett Park, one of San Antonio's first public green spaces, and Columbus Park, in the heart of the city's Italian community, to donate the plants, mulch and landscaping work. At Crockett Park, volunteers installed hundreds of shrubs in 12 planting beds in the butterfly garden, and topdressed the gardens and 25 tree wells with high-nutrition mulch. The Mayor's Office, City Council and Parks & Recreation officials were onsite to recognize the assembled volunteers' efforts.
"Great downtowns have world-class public green spaces," said Mayor Julian Castro. "I'm grateful for this collaboration, led by Project EverGreen, which has reinvigorated two of our community's favorite downtown gathering spaces."
At Columbus Park, volunteers cleared overgrown plant beds, enhanced garden areas with mulch, and re-graded the surface area of the neighborhood bocce court. Native Italian trees were also planted to increase the tree canopy. T. John Mayhall, San Antonio-based Texas regional manager of ValleyCrest Landscaping Maintenance, volunteered his professional staff's time to help plan the design and supervise the volunteers onsite. "A key part of our mission is to contribute to communities we serve, so it's a fit for us to help provide a greener environment for the city," he stated.
Overall, more than 900 plants and shrubs, a dozen trees and 300 bags of compost mulch were jointly donated by Project EverGreen, City Parks & Recreation and the Texas Nursery & Landscape Association to restore and refurbish the two landmark parks. Nursery stock and mulch donations, plus landscaping design, planning, and labor in-kind donations by participating volunteers totaled an estimated equivalent value of more than $10,000. "We're pleased to donate the compost mulch to help enhance these parks right here in San Antonio where we live and work," said Clayton Leonard, San Antonio Region Chair of the Texas Nursery & Landscape Association.
In conjunction with green space revitalization, Project EverGreen is committed to educating the public about the environmental, economic and lifestyle benefits of sustainable urban green spaces. As part of that educational mission, Project EverGreen points to numerous environmental research studies showing that a lush, green park or lawn is more than just pleasing to the eye. For example:
- A single tree can remove enough carbon dioxide annually to equal 11,000 miles of car emissions.
- Lawns are 30 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than asphalt and 14 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than bare soil in the heat of summer.
- Turf improves water quality by storing and filtering the water that would otherwise go into catch-basins and lakes.
- The natural absorption processes of trees and shrubs remove smoke, dust and other pollutants from the air.