Since 2018, Dudek has recognized and honored Dudekian service milestones by donating to the Arbor Day Foundation for the planting of trees in Klamath National Park. While this was a great concept, the exact location of “Dudek’s” trees remained ambiguous and we found ourselves wanting to make a more tangible, local impact. So, in 2021, from a grassroots collaboration between multiple departments, a new Service Appreciation Program was established and implemented. Rather than trees being planted on our behalf, Dudekians celebrating service milestones would be the ones planting the trees! And rather than those trees being planted in a location chosen by another corporation, we’re partnering with local nonprofit organizations in our communities to plant trees where they determine the need is greatest. The new Staff Service Appreciation program seeks to strengthen the connection between the Dudekians being celebrated for their service, the newly planted trees, and the communities that we serve.
Leveraging our Urban Forestry team’s strong connections with community-based organizations across California, we partnered with Sacramento Tree Foundation, Tree San Diego, and Amigos de los Rios for our inaugural year, providing a monetary donation for tree planting and our urban foresters’ expertise on maintenance and tree care to ensure the planted trees continue to thrive. Dudek Urban Forester Ryan Allen said, “The trees we planted will stand as a physical representation of Dudek’s commitment to healthy cities, people, and environment, and create a meaningful and lasting connection with the non-profit partners and community members we support.”
Beautifying an Affordable Housing Redevelopment at Mirasol Village
- Community Partner: Sacramento Tree Foundation
- Dudekian Volunteers: 12
- Trees Planted: 20
- Species: Desert Willow, Laurel de Olor, and Japanese Zelkova
Mirasol Village in the Sacramento River District is a part of a redevelopment effort by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency that sought to connect the historically isolated Dos Rios public housing community to transit, employment, services, retail, and cultural amenities in downtown Sacramento. This redevelopment project is unique, in that it is prioritizing anti-displacement of the residents that were living in this area prior to construction of Mirasol Village. Dos Rios was the affordable/low-income housing community that existed on this site before, and all its residents have first access to move back into this new development. Kimmy Boyle, Project Coordinator for the Sacramento Tree Foundation said, “We are actively engaged in working directly with the residents to help plant these trees and get involved in learning more about how to properly care for them. Our second volunteer event that finished planting the park location included some of these residents and their families as well as other volunteers from the local area!”
Improving Walking Trails at Marston Point
- Community Partner: Tree San Diego
- Dudekian Volunteers: 19
- Trees Planted: 15
- Species: Redflower Eucalyptus and Goldenrain
Marston Point serves as the gateway to four walking trails within Balboa Park. Trees planted in this area support community ties, mitigate the urban heat island effect, store and sequester carbon, as well as expand habitat for local wildlife. Redflower Eucalyptus and Goldenrain trees were chosen to replant due to their high carbon sequestration qualities, climate-appropriate character, productivity in a Mediterranean climate, and aesthetic qualities matching Balboa Park’s botanical collection. The trees Dudekians planted here will help bring back the shade and greenery provided to visitors and vulnerable communities within the park. During this event, Tree Stewards, who provide tree planting best practices to residents of San Diego, also had the opportunity to learn planting and maintenance best practices, as well as how to teach and work with community volunteers.
Dudekian Hanna Dodd who participated in the event said, ”After over a year of virtual work, it was great to get an in-person volunteer day outside in nature with my coworkers. The trees I planted were also near places where I normally go to walk on the weekends. I am excited to see how my trees grow over time!”
Planting Trees at John Muir High School
- Community Partner: Amigos de los Rios
- Dudekian Volunteers: 16
- Trees Planted: 18
- Species: Tropical Ash
As the alma mater of Dudek Executive Vice President Eric Wilson, John Muir High School (JMHS) in Pasadena holds special significance. JMHS is also home to the only Early College Program in the Pasadena Unified School District. Students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds can participate in a four-year program, earning up to two years of transferable college credit while in high school. Dudek’s greening project for JMHS will provide a more welcoming and nurturing learning environment with meaningful outdoor spaces on campus for the school’s community. It will also enhance the surrounding neighborhood’s tree canopy and native habitat landscapes as a small piece of the Emerald Necklace’s wider benefits to LA County.
Dudekian Joshua Cato said, “It was gratifying to meet, see, and hang with fellow Dudekians at JMHS. I enjoyed learning from the Amigos de los Rios’ volunteers and Dudek’s urban foresters as we planted trees, providing JMHS with greener corridors and shading for years to come. Plus, I always appreciate an opportunity to get sweaty and dirty outside!”
In its first year, our refreshed Staff Service Appreciation program gave more than 40 Dudekians the opportunity to celebrate their service milestones and plant a connection with our local communities through the planting of more than 50 trees. Dudekian Sidra Narvaez said, “After the program’s first annual launch of tree planting events, many Dudekians commented that they were excited to return to the trees they planted, knowing that they left a meaningful legacy. Most importantly, coordination with each of Dudek’s partner organizations now plays an integral role in ensuring that Dudekians contribute the right resources to communities that need it most.”