Twice a year, Southwest Airlines organizes a companywide initiative that encourages Employees to come together and spend time volunteering in their local communities. During this year’s spring companywide initiative, hundreds of Employees put their Hearts in Action and participated in more than 70 projects across the system.
To help us create impact and make this volunteer event a success, we teamed up with one of our sustainability partners, the Student Conservation Association (SCA) to bring conservation projects to cities across the country.
The following blog post was co-written by Dan McCabe, Vice President of SCA, Ally Ratliff and Alexis Acar, both Coordinators of Community Engagement for SCA.
SCA loves working with Southwest. This spring, their spring companywide initiative helped fuel a record-setting SCA Earth Month celebration in April. Together, SCA and Southwest mobilized 4,000 volunteers to serve the planet, conserved over 136,000 square feet of parks and public green spaces, created more than 6,500 pollinator-friendly seed balls, and planted over 3,000 trees, ﬂowers, and shrubs. In the end, SCA facilitated over 60 unique projects in 22 different states in honor of its 60th anniversary—an unprecedented feat that could not have been accomplished without Southwest.
SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship by engaging young people with the land through community service. We take pride in “putting boots on the ground” and “getting our hands dirty.” We bring passion for the planet and appreciation for the people with whom we serve, without expectation or need of accolade. Southwest folks are our kindred spirits, made clear by how passionate they are when volunteering!
Enjoy some highlights from the projects we facilitated in Southwest cities across the nation, as hundreds of Southwest Employees spent time giving back:
Spreading the LUV at Herring Run Park in Baltimore
No coffee was needed for this Baltimore Inﬂight Crew. They brought tons of energy that spread to everyone around them! This group was so pumped to remove invasive vines at Herring Run Park and help further beatify this area—one volunteer really got into the vine-swinging spirit, as you can see below!
Oklahoma City Maps Its Seed Ball Strategy
One of the more popular projects was making seed balls, which are used to help replant natural flora. Mike and the amazing Oklahoma City Customer Service and Support Team created a map to track their seed balls across the city—ven flora can be strategic! We’d love to know which seeds have sprouted up by now!
Restoring Wetlands in Southern California
Southwest Volunteers from Los Angeles were literally in the thick of things and working hard in the Gardena Willows Wetland Preserve. They plowed through 1,500 square feet of invasive ivy to help restore this amazing area.
Unexpected Connections in Denver
An invaluable part of our partnership with Southwest is that SCA is able to move volunteers, staff, and leaders around the country to facilitate service events—sometimes on a moment’s notice. During Earth Month, this meant dozens of connections coast-to-coast, sometimes multiple ﬂights in a 24-hour period, and once in a while an unexpected connection. Heading home from completely different projects, our SCA road warriors Ally and Alexis spent an hour at the Denver International Airport before realizing they were a mere gate apart from each other!
Thanks to Southwest Employees, SCA staff members and alumni, and community members, thousands of volunteers were able to come together this spring to support conservation efforts nationwide. Each of us can make a difference!