March 14, 2009

EarthCorps is an amazing nonprofit that started right here in Seattle.  They recruit young people ages 18-25 from the US and all over the world to come here and learn about trail and habitat restoration.  The leaping salmon is their logo for this year as they restore watershed habitat for salmon runs. They work through the cold and rainy winters on steep slopes and stinging nettle and blackberry infested areas.  Over 850 young people have graduated from the program in the past 10 years and gone back to their homes in Mongolia, Ghana, India, Pakistan, Ecuador and Kenya to name just a few.  They and the US graduates have gone on to leadership positions in environmental efforts in their countries.

You’re probably thinking what does this have to do with hot tubs? I first heard of  EarthCorps in 1998 when they came to restore the ravine behind our home. The neighbors on the ravine had all pitched in, but we didn’t have the expertise and skill to work on steep slopes. EarthCorps crew members did. To my surprise they used cardboard boxes to eradicate (control) blackberry.  First they hacked the blackberry to the ground-grueling, tiresome work. Then they dug the biggest root balls out. Finally they placed cardboard boxes flat on the ground, pinned them down with stakes and covered over with bark and mulch.  In 6 months or so, the area was ready to be planted in native species..right through the cardboard. Using the cardboard is ingenious! It blocks the light so the blackberry can’t grow and the native plants have a chance to survive with out competition from blackberries.

The cardboard comes from our Hot Spring Spa cover boxes!  Every Hot Spring Spa comes with a cover. Plus we sell over 600 replacement covers a year. That’s a lot of cardboard. Giving the cover boxes to EarthCorps is only one of many things we do to reduce, reuse and recycle. Olympic chooses to be green!

We’ve been supplying EarthCorps with as much of the cardboard from our hot tub covers as they can take since that first meeting. They love the big boxes which are approximately 3′ x 7′.  What a relief to cover such a big area after using boxes from grocery stores which cover a much smaller area. The boxes are very sturdy. And, if there is a secret to getting rid of invasive blackberry, Earthcorps using this method, has found it.

So-a win/win. The cardboard doesn’t go to a landfill; EarthCorps has essential material for their restoration efforts at no cost and together we have seen restoration efforts blossom all over Seattle and the Eastside. It doesn’t get any better than that!

RES EST SERVA VOLUPTAS. Pleasure is a serious business.