On Saturday, October 16, 2011, more than 90 volunteers gathered in South Los Angeles in advance of WEFTEC. They carried shovels, pick axes and gloves; they pushed wheelbarrows full of gravel and dirt, ready to get their hands dirty in support of the 2011 WEF Community Service Project.
The 2011 WEF Community Service Project, headed by WEF Students and Young Professionals, assisted in the ongoing revitalization of South Los Angeles. Projects such as the "Walkway to Wetlands" are transforming South Los Angeles – formerly an industrial area – into a more "community-centric" space. During their time on this Saturday morning, volunteers planted 37 Australian Willow and European Pear trees (a move that contributed to the Million Trees LA initiative). Seeking to transform Los Angeles into a "green, sustainable city", the Million Trees LA initiative plans to use the newly-planted trees to "create an extraordinary environmental legacy that will serve as a watershed for other environmental changes."
"The trees are located directly across from a beautiful new 'eco-friendly' high school. This provides the perfect backdrop for education as well as beautifying the surrounding industrial area," explained Sarah Bernier, Student and Young Professionals member and market development liaison for Duperon Corporation. "We incorporated using drains to capture street water runoff to nourish each tree. The trees will contribute to the Million Trees LA endeavor to reduce smog in Los Angeles and create more green space in the city."
Overall, Bernier feels that the project was a success. "It is the goal of the Student and Young Professionals' Community Project to leave each WEFTEC locale enriched from our having been there. This project was a perfect fit because it incorporated all important aspects – making a difference for students, the environment, the beautification of a neighborhood and, of course, efficient water use. We were very pleased with our partners in Los Angeles who worked to tie it all together."
The event was sponsored by members of WEF, including: World Water Works; Black & Veatch; CDM; Greeley and Hansen; HDR; Wigen Water Technologies; Brown and Caldwell; Carollo Engineers; CH2M HILL; EDI; Hazen and Sawyer; AES; Bentley Screening Technologies; Duperon Corporation; Freese and Nichols; Stantec; Vaughan; and Veolia Water.