Viewfinder: Hoy Park Tree Planting
Organized and hosted by the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy, nearly 35 GlaxoSmithKline volunteers planted trees in Hoy Park.
The Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy (PWC) held a tree-planting volunteer event Sept. 21 at Hoy Park in Lower Providence. The event’s volunteers featured approximately 35 GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) staff from the Screening and Compound Profiling group in Upper Providence.
Their task was to plant 151 trees and shrubs around the park’s 3.76 acres, specifically along the park’s stream bank. Krista Scheirer, conservation coordinator with the PWC, oversaw the volunteering efforts, as well as provided information behind the tree-planting event.
“The thing with tree-planting is that it helps with so many aspects of increasing water quality,” Scheirer said.
She said all the trees and shrubs, including Sycamores and Oaks, are all native to the state. Their roots will not only help maintain the riparian zone, preventing stream bank erosion, but also recharge the soil with nutrients and soak up certain metals that would become toxic in the water supply.
“It’s kind of like a coffee filter,” Scheirer explained. “A lot of plants can remediate a lot of pollutants.”
According to Scheirer, storm water runoff can easily carry pollutants from various man-made sources, such as fertilizer off of lawns or oil from passing cars. In addition to acting as a filter, trees and shrubs can also create a natural barrier to slow down storm water runoff.
“It’s amazing what they can do,” Scheirer said.
She added that it is due to the support of volunteers that make it possible for the PWC to continue its conservation efforts.
“There’s generally a good feeling when people come to work with us,” Susan, PWC outreach consultant, said. “It’s great when people hear about the need and come out and help.”
GSK at Hoy Park
According to Julie Cox, a senior scientist and the GSK group’s volunteer coordinator, the GSK volunteers were out during the company’s annual Orange Day. Cox said, GSK, a multinational pharmaceutical, biologics, vaccines and consumer healthcare company, holds its Orange Day as a way to give back to the community.
“We’re showing that we’re not just a big corporation and going out to do something good in the community,” Cox said. “I love to help out and love that our company allows us this day.”
Cox then pointed to the back of hers and each of the GSK orange t-shirts, imprinted with the words, “Your Day to Help Others.”
She said that all staff from the Upper Providence is encouraged to participate in the community service day. For the last two years, Cox said that GSK has volunteered with youth charity Cradles to Crayons. Wanting to expand the diversity of GSK service days, Cox said she looked for opportunities that could accommodate large groups, and found the PWC tree-planting event.
“I’m excited, because I like being out,” Cox said, adding that she does garden at home, but has never worked in such a large or official capacity.
“It’s important to give back to the community,” Bob Hertzberg, vice-president of the GSK Screening and Compound Profiling group, said. “It’s really a privilege to help the Perkiomen Creek community in its efforts to help preserve the creek.”
Patting down with satisfaction a newly planted sapling, Hertzberg added, “It beats doing e-mail.”