“The hardest step is the first one and I can say that it has been unbelievable what I have seen us accomplish in my time with the organization. Don’t wait, you can have a positive impact and your skills are needed!”
A Q&A With Kevin Laycock
Wonder what Project EverGreen is up to in 2022? What public green space renovation projects will they be tackling like they did in Detroit and New York City last year? What’s new with the award-winning GreenCare for Troops program? Have you been looking to volunteer or become a corporate donor and want to know how to do that?
Project EverGreen Board President Kevin Laycock, senior category manager for SiteOne Landscape Supply, shared a preview of what initiatives the national non-profit, which was created in 2003, has planned in 2022, why urban green spaces are important to the environment, and a message for those looking to engage with an outstanding cause.
What’s on tap for Project EverGreen in 2022?
We have some interesting initiatives in the works right now, highlighted by a tool that will quantify the positive impact green spaces have on carbon sequestration. That is not something we have ever had before and is offers tremendous potential to help educate consumers. We also continue to invest in local community projects through our GreenCare for Communities umbrella.
Watch for more information on this year’s projects here. Additionally, our GreenCare for Troops program has a significant impact on families and neighborhoods as lawn and landscape professionals volunteer their time and talents to provide free services to active-duty military families with a family member who is deployed.
How do Project EverGreen initiatives like GreenCare for Communities and GreenCare for Troops bring the non-profit’s mission to life?
GreenCare for Communities and GreenCare for Troops are what connect communities and people with one another. Project EverGreen is extremely fortunate to receive tremendous financial support from our donors and in-kind support from our volunteers which helps us facilitate these programs locally. Both programs positively impact green spaces, whether it is community parks or the lawns of military families. We feel fortunate to have earned their support since they are at the core of our vision and mission.
Why are urban green spaces important to communities and the environment?
I grew up in the small town of Ellicott City, Maryland, and unfortunately you may have heard of it from the national news stories about massive flooding. It flooded twice in four years. The floods decimated the historic downtown area, and it may never be the same. Many lives were lost, and some businesses will never recover.
One of the main drivers for the flood was the amount of water runoff from impervious surfaces. The area has been significantly developed over the last 40 years and the remaining green spaces were not able to absorb the rainfall. It rushed to the downtown area, which sits near the Patapsco River. They called it a 100-year storm, but twice in four years proves otherwise.
That is just one example. There are many other towns that face similar circumstances and Project EverGreen is as equipped as anyone to help bring more green spaces to communities and all the associated benefits those healthy green spaces provide.
What one thing should people know about Project EverGreen that they may not know?
While Project EverGreen’s vision and mission are to provide a greener, healthier, cooler Earth, a byproduct of that is we help bring people together. We saw during the pandemic how critical parks and green spaces are to our communities. In some places, going to a park was all you could do. We are such a technology driven society that we forget the benefits green spaces afford local communities. Whether it is a youth sports team practice field, elementary school playground, or a community multi-purpose field, those are the places people visit to connect, build relationships and create a sense of community.
How can a supplier, contractor or donor get engaged with a Project EverGreen initiative?
Most people struggle with the same conflict when deciding who to offer their time and resources to. Can I really have an impact? The short answer is yes. An hour of your time or expertise can go a long way to helping Project EverGreen fulfill its goals. The hardest step is the first one and I can say that it has been unbelievable what I have seen us accomplish in my time with the organization. Don’t wait, you can have a positive impact and your skills are needed!