On Thursday, volunteers from the Phillies and Fairmount Park broke out the gardening gloves, shovels and hoes and went to work in honor of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. The team helped clean up and preserve Meadow Lake, a wetlands creation at FDR Park in South Philadelphia.
Through the course of the morning, invasive vegetation was removed and nearly 80 trees and shrubs were planted in its place. Workers also picked up trash at the site, which less than eight years ago was just an abandoned concrete pool -- and an eyesore.
Tom Dougherty, Fairmount Park's stewardship coordinator, remembers those days well.
"The transformation was pretty amazing," Dougherty said. "It was a major construction project."
Today, Fairmount Park relies on volunteers to help maintain not only Meadow Lake, but also the 63 neighborhood parks across Philadelphia. It's also one of the reasons why the park was so excited to see the Phillies, ready to lend a helping hand.
And the group was more than willing.
"I think it's great that the Phillies encourage their staff to do things like this," said Christa Linzey, who just started working in the team's marketing department less than a year ago.
Linzey joined about 50 of her co-workers Thursday morning, along with the Phillies landscaping crew and Ballgirls. Also taking part was Phillies president David Montgomery, who helped plant a ceremonial tree in honor of the day.
Ed Fagan, Fairmount Park's development director, praised the Phillies for their efforts.
"It's just a great thing that you're doing here, being good neighbors," Fagan said. "The Phillies have had a long history of helping the city out ... and this is really big for us, that you're taking that next step and trying to help us reach our goal in making Philadelphia the greenest city in the United States."
Of course, going green doesn't stop on Earth Day for the Phillies.
The team, along with partners Global Spectrum and ARAMARK, has already implemented numerous "Red Goes Green" initiatives at Citizens Bank Park. In fact, the Phillies lead the way in the clean energy movement at professional sports venues.
"We want our fans to be aware of our Red Goes Green program, as well as get our entire ballpark involved in these sustainable efforts," said Bram Reynolds, general manager of Global Spectrum/Citizens Bank Park, who also joined the clean-up.
And being aware is exactly what happens at efforts like these.
Employees were soon talking about how they could volunteer more with Fairmount Park -- and many were planning on signing up for the upcoming "Love Your Park Day," a city-wide volunteer effort on May 8 to spruce up the area's parks.
Fans interested in learning about volunteer opportunities with Fairmount Park can email at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Fairmount Park's website at www.fairmountpark.org.
For more information on the Phillies' Red Goes Green efforts, as well as how to volunteer with the Red Goes Green team, please visit www.phillies.com/redgoesgreen.