Day of Service 2018: Thank you for helping others connect to nature!


Volunteers from Day of Service 2018 pose after breakfast at “The Shop”/Headquarters.

(Additional photos are below)

On April 22nd 2018 (Earth Day) volunteers from the local community, to include YardApe employees, their spouses, and members of BNI Business Bobcats joined forces to give Pratt Nature Center, a local non-profit wildlife and nature preserve a makeover!

26 volunteers (click here to see the list of amazing folks) met bright and early at our headquarters for breakfast and a quick team huddle. After orientation, the group caravanned to Pratt’s Main Office/entrance and got to work.

A smaller contingent of YardApe employees (Darrick Terrillion and Matt Gambone) proceeded to Volunteers Field in New Milford, where they removed brush, small trees, and tall grass from an area next to the softball field known to trap foul balls. Thanks guys for making the field safer and more playable!

Throughout the morning and early afternoon, volunteers led by “Apes” (YardApes employees) gave the front planting beds a thoughtful and balanced makeover, specifically designed to improve existing plant health, make the Pratt Center more visually appealing from the road, while maintaining the rustic charm that ties the building into the pine grove and remaining 205 acres.

When all was said and done, a cookout back at YardApes headquarters ensued.

Thank you to all volunteers for coming out this Earth Day, and Pratt Nature Center’s staff/board members for allowing us the opportunity!

A summary of services performed by volunteers is as follows:

  1. Existing trees within the planting beds were pruned expertly to allow for better photosynthesis (energy transfer), increase visual appeal, and enhance health of the individual branches, leaders, and trunks.
  2. Several native shrubs (to include mountain laurel, Connecticut’s State Plant) which had become overgrown (blocking several windows within the building) were pruned and transplanted to a neglected garden facing the road. This allowed for better visibility from the building which increases the safety and security of staff members and visitors.
  3. Inkberry (a hardy and native staple of formal gardens in New England) were planted carefully along the front face of the building to give overall visual structure to the garden beds, and provide a low-maintenance hedge solution that adds to the visual appeal of the existing architecture.
  4. Spirea and nepeta were planted in front of the inkberry to allow for a smooth transition to the structured hedge and main office building.
  5. All planted areas were edged in natural curves to flow into the surrounding landscape. 7 yards of organic “Sweet Peet” mulch were also applied. Sweet Peet mulch was chosen due to it’s superior ability to retain moisture when needed (reducing the amount of rainwater or supplemental irrigation required) amazing nutrient/compostable material content, as well as the more natural appearance to standard bark mulches.
  6. Volunteers removed invasive overgrowth along the roadside facing The Center’s main parking lot. Sight-lines for passing cars were improved due to the brush’s removal along a curve, which enhanced the safety of visitors and staff members on a heavily trafficked road.
  7. The planting bed surrounding Pratt’s sign was given a spruce-up (and mulching, along with the other planting beds) from trash, winter snow removal damage, and broken pavement.
  8. Excess brush, (to include the remains of several unhealthy overgrown junipers blocking a stone wall in front of the main planting bed) were loaded into trucks and removed for natural composting.
  9. Trash and excess organic materials from the parking lots, u-shaped front driveway, and roadways surrounding the entrance were removed and deposited in the appropriate receptacles.
  10. Volunteers Field, a public softball field in Northern New Milford was treated to a trimming and brush removal job by two YardApes employees. The hilly area was overgrown with trees and invasive plants, weeds, etc. and known to trap foul balls during normal play. 

We believe everyone everywhere benefits from a connection with nature.