This year, Conservation Alliance tapped into the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy to improve the Ventura River Parkway. This parkway has earned the street title of “Hobo Jungle” due to the hundreds of illegal homeless that have resided in the dry, overgrown Ventura riverbed over the last decade. Devoted efforts, like the Backyard Collective, have taken place in this area in recent years to work to create long term environmental and social solutions.
Vapur co-founder and CEO, David Czerwinski, helped kickoff the morning with the following presenters: Gordon Seabury from Horny Toad, Rose Marcario from Patagonia, Joel Heath from Teva, Eric Artz from REI and Cassondra Schindler from the Conservation Alliance. The theme from each presenter emphasized how the outdoors are our “playground” and, as companies in this industry, we have a commitment to both enjoy and protect it.
Amidst the poison oak, wild brush and empty homeless encampments that had to be cleared out, the following was accomplished by this lionhearted team volunteers:
- Nearly 200 willow trees were planted.
- Approximately two acres (nearly 3 tons) of the invasive plant species, Arundo Donax, was removed.
- Over a mile of trails were improved.
- Five tons of trash was removed from the riverbed!
“It was hot, dirty, smelly and completely worthwhile!” said Vapur’s Pam Gaiser. “When the day was over, you could really see the result of the work we did.”
An after party at Patagonia headquarters was held for all of the volunteers at the end of the day. Beyond lunch, this celebratory gathering included a raffle and booths manned by local environmental groups for additional ways to get involved throughout the year.