CT Landscape Firm, YardApes Inc., Mobilizes Volunteers to Renovate and Enhance Green Spaces for Earth Day 2013

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Five nonprofits and one homeowner receive landscape and green-space renewal benefits from earth day need-based volunteer initiative.

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Sarah Noble School, New Milford CT

“I am deeply gratified to have employees who volunteer their time, friends and colleagues who volunteer—and strengthen—our effort, and to have nonprofits and homeowners show our volunteers unbelievable support and kindness,” said Mr. Newman. “

In celebration of Earth Day 2013, leading northwestern CT landscape firm YardApes, Inc. donated landscaping materials and mobilized 35 volunteers for an incredible six-site community outreach landscaping and green-space renewal effort on April 22nd.

YardApes of New Milford CT held a contest to find local property owners who demonstrated a particular landscaping need, but who most importantly, would benefit from a renewed connection to nature. “We set out to pick one area nonprofit and one area homeowner. And, as has been the case in previous years, we expanded our efforts to include more projects. I hate to say ‘no’ to anyone,” said YardApes founder Shayne Newman in a statement, regarding his firm’s Day of Service contest, now in its third year.

“We received great submissions from our area nonprofits and homeowners,” said Mr. Newman. “That’s why the staff votes. We have to assess the need, and need is defined differently by everyone. We look at where we can make the biggest difference. It’s difficult, however, given the emotional response we often have to submissions. There’s no metric for how we ‘feel’ after first reading someone’s story. Consensus is never easy. So we end up adding more projects.”

Contest winners of YardApes 2013 “Day of Service” Landscape and Green-Space Renewal Projects Need-based Initiative include:

  •     The Education Center in New Milford, CT, where a landscape renovation enhanced the school’s entrance, and installation of 23 yards of playground mulch created a safe play area for the nonprofit's 81 children, including 6 special education children;
  •     New Milford Historical Society in New Milford, CT, benefitted from a spring cleanup, and mulching of its boxwood garden in preparation for ‘Art in Bloom’ an exhibit celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Garden Club of New Milford;
  •     The Pratt Nature Center in New Milford, CT, a 201-acre wildlife preserve and environmental education center had entrance gardens in need of pruning, cleanup and mulching. A garden installation from YardApes’ 2011 Day of Service initiative also received pruning, cleanup and mulching;
  •     Sarah Noble Intermediate School in New Milford, CT, where the school’s courtyard was transformed by installations of a 16’ five-circuit Belgium block labyrinth, lawn, and pink-flowering dogwood. The labyrinth will serve as the center of an outdoor classroom and healing garden dedicated to the grand daughter of a Sarah Noble Intermediate School educator who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School;
  •     TheatreWorks New Milford in New Milford, CT., a “dynamic force in the cultural growth of the area,” benefitted from landscape redesign and renovation of its theatre entrance.
  •     Homeowners’ site in New Milford, CT., where volunteers weeded and edged all beds, pruned back overgrown shrubs, thinned and divided perennials in crowded garden, moved perennials to another bed, and lastly, mulching.

All six projects were part of a nationwide “Day of Service” initiated by national Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) lawn and landscape association with the goal of giving its 3,800 member companies an opportunity to plan, organize, and carry out projects to benefit their local communities.

“I am deeply gratified to have employees who volunteer their time, friends and colleagues who volunteer—and strengthen—our effort, and to have nonprofits and homeowners show our volunteers unbelievable support and kindness,” said Mr. Newman. “Each year we meet new people who share their stories with us, who inspire us, and who we are privileged to know. We are fortunate to count them as new friends.” The 35 volunteers consisted of 20 YardApes employees who donated their day and 15 local business people from the BNI Business Bobcat group where Newman is a member.

YardApes, Inc. is northwestern Connecticut’s award-winning landscape firm serving residential and commercial clients since 1990. The full-service landscape design, construction, and maintenance company was named 2011’s Best Large Business by New Milford Chamber of Commerce, and recognized as a Top 12 Landscaping Company in 2011 by Total Landscape Care. YardApes, Inc. is recognized both locally and nationally for its exceptional contributions to the industry and the community. (http://www.yardapes.com)

PLANET is the national trade association representing more than 100,000 landscape industry professionals, who create and maintain healthy, green living spaces for communities across America. PLANET members are committed to the highest standards in industry education, best practices, and business professionalism. Many of PLANET’s professionals have attained the status of becoming Landscape Industry Certified, achieving the greatest level of industry expertise and knowledge. (http://www.landcarenetwork.org)

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Jennifer Burks

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