When I think of people standing in line for long periods of time, I think of Black Friday (the day before Thanksgiving). Why else would people wait if not for a great deal? Never in my wildest dream would I have imagined volunteers standing in line in the midst of high winds; sometimes lines longer than those you would see waiting for popular rides at amusement parks.
This was my view from the volunteer sign up table on Saturday at Cary Home for Children, Sustainable Planting Event. Despite many months of preparation, through hundreds of emails, after a focus group composed of Cary Home staff and students, and following many design attempts; we had a beautiful complex design of 8,700 plugs for our native savanna. Like most engineers, we strategically calculated that it would take volunteers 15 seconds to plant every plug therefore we would need approximately 100 volunteers. I don’t think any formula could plan for our gratitude for our community. By 11:20 on Saturday, we almost doubled our goal of volunteers.
Reaching out and having the community reach back is an unspeakable feeling. Not only did families with young babies come and assist but also grocery stores who donated cases of food to make we were all well fed. More than anything, I think this project taught me, every person was important. From Home Depot who supplied the spray paint to the children who strategically stacked the leftover planters as domino art to give us a break from planting from time to time.
Lines draw attention, this time for an important cause. I believe the cars that drove by that day and continue to drive by as I write see the important work that is growing and will be remembered as the savanna matures year after year.
*A native savanna is made up of plants, trees, etc instinctive to their habitat. They usually have longer roots to reduce erosion and have a higher uptake of minerals. Great for improving water quality!!!