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By Sarah Virgil


Last weekend, several employees had the opportunity to give back a little bit of our time to the Indianapolis community that has helped thrive. We partnered with a great local not-for-profit called Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. As the name implies, they do a lot of projects around the city to make sure that Indy is a great place to live and visit, through their bi-annual Great Indy Cleanup, tree planting initiatives, community green spaces, and adopt-a-block programs. I have personally participated in a couple different events with K.I.B. and several other local organizations, but this was the first time I’ve worked on one of their community green space projects, and it was a really cool and different experience from most of the other volunteer events.

We were working on their E.N.G.I.N.E. (Engaging Next Generations in Neighborhoods Everywhere) pocket park on the near west side, just off of Washington St., and as we all filed in, bright and early at 9:00, Bob, the KIBI Coordinator and project lead, took a couple minutes to tell us about K.I.B and their initiatives in the area. He also took a couple minutes to introduce all of the groups involved, and I think that was one of the big differentiating factors from other projects I’ve worked on – there were basically 3 independent groups, including KIBI, that completely unrelated and had all come together to make this project happen in order to make their community better – which was really cool. And then when people from the neighborhood just started showing up with their families and tools to pitch-in and help, it made it something truly special.

I spent the better part of the morning helping organize the building materials so that they could get a bobcat in later that week to do some heavy lifting. We unloaded landscaping bricks from the truck, moved about a ton of gravel into 20 gallon planters so that it could be used in a patio, organized the paving blocks for the patio, and moved some existing raised flowerbeds. Other volunteers created and laid out 2 different flower beds, set trim and boarders, worked on building the fence, and helped clean up the site.

As we started winding down for the morning, Bob did a demonstration on the proper way to plant a tree. We learned how to tell how deep to plant trees based on where the tap root is, how to prevent griddling roots from choking the growth of trees and shortening their lifespan, and the best way to mulch around the trees to make sure they get all the water they need to thrive. After the demo, we started planting all of the plants that had been laid out in the flowerbeds, and we talked about the different types of native plants that we were planting, and why they were chosen for this specific site. And after everything was in the ground, we laid out a nice layer of mulch and called it day.

Even though it was a lot of work, I felt like we got a ton done in the 3 short hours we were there. Between the dozen or so adult volunteers and the small horde of neighborhood kids that showed up, we made a huge dent in the workload. We all walked away tired, but contemplating coming back to help out this upcoming weekend, and continue to help get this project one step closer to being complete.


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