On Earth Day, April 22, 2009, the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) launched its inaugural national PLANET Day of Service. The event was a grassroots effort that allowed individual members, supplier members, and state associations to create volunteer lawn care and landscape projects in their own communities where they felt there was a need. More than 280 projects were carried out by approximately 2,000 volunteers in a total of 43 states.

“PLANET Day of Service exceeded our expectations, especially for a first-year event,” said Jason Cupp, CLP, 2008/2009 PLANET president. “There was such an amazing outpouring of support from volunteers, companies, and sponsors who donated time and materials.”

Projects were carried out at a wide range of locations. Zoos, elementary schools, public parks, Boy Scout camps, churches, war memorials, and social service, medical, and public housing facilities were just a few of the places that benefited.

PLANET also partnered with Project Evergreen and its GreenCare for Troops program on the PLANET Day of Service. PLANET member Matt Doerr, CLT, of Turf Appeal, Inc., in Oklahoma City, organized a project to help a military family that has a member serving in Iraq. About 10 Turf Appeal staff members volunteered at the home, and, with the help of John Deere Landscapes, who donated a tree and flowers, and Eastern Sod and McCauley’s Greenhouse, who also donated flowers, they were able to landscape the one-acre yard; doing in a day what would have taken the family a week to do.

“The media covered the story and the public response was amazing,” said Doerr. “I had calls from people who wanted to know how they could help, as well as calls from colonels in the military who wanted to thank us for our work.” He continued, “This project was a win on so many levels. Of course, we were so happy to be able to help out a military family, and we work for some of the military bases in the region, so this helped strengthen our relationships with them as well as generate new volunteers for GreenCare for Troops.”

Residents who spend time in parks were also big beneficiaries of the PLANET Day of Service. The Oregon Landscape Contractors Association rallied 100 volunteers to landscape the new Laurel Pocket Park in Bend, Oregon. In Carroll, Ohio, staffers at MirrorScapes are eager to spend another day volunteering at one of their county parks. Their team spruced up historic Lockville Park for a county parks system that only has one full-time maintenance employee.

PLANET Day of Service sponsors played a big role in supporting and participating in the Day of Service. There were a total of five lead sponsors and 30 supporting sponsors. Agrium Advanced Technologies, a lead sponsor, renovated and landscaped the Granville Village School ball fields and grounds in Massachusetts. No Kai Oi Landscape Services, a supporting sponsor, replanted a hula mound at a local elementary school located in Kauai, Hawaii, in time for the students’ May Day celebration.

The Lead Sponsors for the 2009 PLANET Day of Service are Agrium Advanced Technologies, American Profit Recovery, Inc., JOHN DEERE, Lawns by Yorkshire Inc, and Shindaiwa.

For more information about the event, log on to planetdayofservice.org.
PLANET is the association of members who create and maintain the QUALITY OF LIFE in communities across America. With more than 4,000 member companies and affiliates, these firms and their employees represent more than 100,000 green industry professionals. For more information, visit LandcareNetwork.org, or call the PLANET office at (800) 395-2522.