EarthSmart: FedEx and NFWF Team Up to Address Local Conservation Challenges
It all started with a spark.
On June 11, 2013, the most destructive wildfire in Colorado’s history began in Colorado Springs. For two weeks, the Black Forest fire waged a ruthless war on the surrounding area, decimating thousands of acres, hundreds of homes and taking two lives. As residents of the local area themselves, FedEx team members were deeply affected by their own personal and community losses and wanted to help. Their efforts, begun in 2013, became the foundation for an environmental restoration and recovery effort that continues today, helping communities affected by the Black Forest wildfire heal.
As it had in the past following similar wildfires, FedEx supported community environmental recovery efforts through its EarthSmart Outreach program, providing critical resources in the form of volunteers and funds to aid local NGO’s restoration efforts. Over the course of 2013-2014 EarthSmart Outreach efforts, seventy-one volunteers donated more than 350 hours restoring the area ravaged by the Black Forest wildfire, planting grass seed and creating log erosion barriers in collaboration with the Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI). Randy Smith, IT manager at FedEx Services in Colorado Springs, has coordinated employee volunteer events between FedEx and RMFI for the past four years, including recovery projects following the Waldo Canyon fire. “We’ve just fallen in love with RMFI,” Smith said. “What they’re doing in our communities is huge and being able to support RMFI through FedEx feels incredible. Every team member who comes out here to do this is a happier person.”
While some communities – like those in Colorado – face obvious environmental needs in the wake of natural disaster, others grapple with more hidden urban environmental challenges, such as the infiltration of invasive plant species, diminishing urban watersheds, park degradation and natural habitats at-risk. For the sixth consecutive year, FedEx is collaborating with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to address these issues and more through its EarthSmart Outreach program – an annual initiative extending the company’s enterprise-wide sustainability commitment to local communities.
Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF’s mission is to sustain, restore and enhance the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Coinciding with the FedEx desire to maintain clean, healthy and sustainable places to live and work, FedEx and NFWF joined forces in 2009 to provide funds and manpower to a handful of local nonprofits’ environmental projects. Since then, the collaboration has yielded over $15 million to support more than 80 environmental projects in cities across the U.S.
In 2014, FedEx and NFWF grants totaled over $940,000, and will be matched with grants from local municipalities and agencies to yield over $2.6 million in support of 20 critical environmental sustainability projects this year. Beginning April 8 and running through June 20, over 800 FedEx team members will come out to volunteer in these community projects. To see FedEx team members and EarthSmart Outreach in action, visit the company’s Twitter and Facebook pages throughout this spring and summer.
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