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DaVita’s Team Music City Lays Down Roots for the Future
April 6th was the first Saturday that it really felt like springtime in Nashville. As we rode up the gravel road to meet with the team from the Tennessee Environmental Council, the sky was bright blue, puffy cartoon clouds floated by and birds were singing in every direction. Sam and John, the representatives from the environmental council who were there to lead the project, thanked us all for being there and directed us toward shovels.
We were there to plant trees as part of the Lytle Creek Restoration Project. The mission was to plant between 150 and 200 trees along a section of Lytle Creek that ran through a private residence. In the crowd of volunteers were members of DaVita’s Team Music City’s Green Team but also teammates from the office who just wanted to lend a hand.
What surprised me most were all the children in attendance. Before we started, we had to get to the site where we would be doing the planting. Laura, our Green Team captain, lugged the cooler of water across the “bridge” they built to cross a narrow part of the creek and the rest of us followed one by one. The bridge was a wooden plank that bounced with every step. This was of particular interest to the little ones.
As Sam gave us the instructions on how to plant a tree properly, a couple toddlers tried running down to the creek—the anticipation of getting dirty on purpose was starting to get the best of them. Sam told us that the trees we would be planting were donated to the council from a nursery because they had lost market appeal. They had been potted a little too long and the roots had begun to spiral, which would eventually choke the trees.
To avoid this we needed to break them up, cutting an “X” into the bottom of the soil. “There’s nothing wrong with these trees, they just need a little care before planting,” John shared. It gave the task even more gravity—it was also a rescue mission, saving trees that would have otherwise rotted to death in their planters. We divided into teams and tackled each tree, planting them one at a time. We used the shovel handles to measure and level.
We made donuts and not volcanoes with the soil around the fragile tree trunks. John told us volcanoes (piling the soil up around the trees) would make it more difficult for the tree to grow, but donuts (making a ring of raised soil around the trunk) would allow proper root growth. It was really incredible to watch everybody work. None of us knew what we were doing, but we were all dedicated to the task. Everybody was smiling despite the sun beating down. Nobody complained when we got closer to the creek where the soil turned to deep clay. Kids took turns with the shovel, wearing gloves that swallowed their hands up.
They were proud with the small progress they helped make. I found myself feeling so grateful for that moment; it’s important to spend time giving of yourself, especially when the task is one that will send ripples far into the future, and it’s important for children to see that happening and to be a part of it. Sustainability is for everybody. In the end we planted almost all the trees they had for us. Everybody was dirt covered and sweaty and tired; I gained a few scrapes from a particularly surly, thorn covered tree that Laura and I had to huddle under digging a hole. We were tired, but it was evident that everybody left with a full heart.
It was a joy to partner with the Tennessee Environmental Council for this Earth Day event. The TMC Green Team has many upcoming events! The Green Team is joining forces with the Vitality Squad to put on an expanded Wellness Fair that will encompass physical, financial, and mental wellness as well as global wellness and sustainability! The Wellness Fair will take place on April 23rd. We will also be organizing an Adopt-a-Highway clean up event for our stretch of Old Hickory in Brentwood. In addition to these events we will have more lunch and learns and education opportunities surrounding sustainability in the coming months.