In its fiscal year 2013, Symantec contributed more than $24 million in cash and software to nonprofits working within its four philanthropic focus areas: science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education; online safety; diversity; and environmental responsibility. Over the next few weeks, we will hear from several of our partners on various projects and programs that Symantec is helping to support. Today, we hear from Alex Von Feldt, program director at Acterra, an environmental nonprofit serving Silicon Valley.
Symantec Corporation and Acterra, a Palo Alto-based environmental nonprofit, are teaming up to install a California native plant garden at Symantec’s Mountain View campus.
The purpose of the project is to provide a lovely garden that provides quality habitat for local wildlife while demonstrating sustainable landscaping practices. Sustainable landscaping is a term used to describe an attractive environment that is in balance with the local climate and requires minimal resource inputs, such as fertilizer, pesticides, gasoline, time, and water.
In the garden we will use several species of locally native plants. Plants that have adapted to our climate over thousands of years require minimal human intervention to keep them alive and healthy. Once established, these plants need little to no additional water, no fertilizers or pesticides and only periodic maintenance. Oftentimes, garden chemicals applied to the landscape run off into our storm sewers and find their way into our local creeks, which harms aquatic life.
Native plants are an essential part of the ecological food web. These plants provide the food for our locally adapted insects that in turn feed our birds and invertebrates. When we use these types of plants and landscaping practices in our developed areas, we help mitigate our impact on the local ecosystem.
The plants that we will be using in the project are local to the San Francisco Bay Area and are grown at Acterra’s Native Plant Nursery, which grows plants for habitat restoration projects throughout the Silicon Valley. We will install groundcovers, grasses, perennials and shrubs that can provide flowers or berries throughout the year.
Symantec's Mountain View Green Team has volunteered their time to help create the native garden. With Acterra providing guidance, tools and plants, the Symantec team will prepare the planting area with organic compost, install the native plants and then add wood chips (mulch) to the garden to improve soil quality and retain moisture. In addition to helping improve the campus, the Symantec volunteers will learn about how to create a healthy urban ecosystem and can assist with periodic maintenance of the native garden.
Native Garden Coming Soon!
The work on the garden will begin this fall and end by December. While it may seem unusual to plant at this time of the year, it is actually the perfect time to do so with California native plants. Installing plants in fall allows them to take advantage of the winter rains and send their extensive root structure deep into the ground. Planting in fall also allows the plants to avoid the summer heat when they are young. By the time spring rolls around, the plants should be growing strong and beginning their natural cycles of growth, bloom, seeding and senescence.
Stay tuned for more communications about the upcoming planting days and pictures of the work in progress.
Thank you to Symantec for your culture of volunteerism and respect for the community in which you work!
If you are interested in participating in upcoming planting days or ongoing garden maintenance, please contact Symantec Corporate Responsibility.
Acterra is a 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to bring people together to create local solutions for a healthy planet. Acterra’s programs include Green@Home, which reduces tons of carbon each year by improving residential energy efficiency, Business Environmental Awards that highlights corporate leaders in the environment, and Stewardship that involves, educates and inspires the public to create healthy ecosystems in our urban communities and our natural lands.
Symantec is a past recipient of Acterra’s Business Environmental Award.