Thank youuuuu Dallas! The Tour 40 team just kicked off the Conservation in Action Tour and wished Southwest Airlines a happy 40th birthday by celebrating in true SWA and SCA style with three different service projects and a huge party…in an airplane hangar. Gotta LUV working with an airline company!
At 6:30 Friday morning, after scarfing down the hotel breakfast buffet that we all had come to know and love, the team donned our yellow staff shirts and was ready to divide and conquer…our different Dallas service projects, that is.
Diana and Becca were leaders at the Texas Trees Foundation, the largest urban non-profit tree farm in the nation, where over 300 canyon-blue clad volunteers arrived at 8 in the morning to the sounds of a DJ, SWA CEO Gary Kelly, and the sight of over 500 trees ready for a new home. Becca took charge of showing volunteers how to repot trees that had outgrown their smaller planters, and Diana worked with a group who dug holes for larger trees to be placed in. All in all, after a flurry of activity from eager volunteers, a month’s work was done in only a couple of hours.
Kimi was flying solo with her team over at the Trinity River Audubon Center, complete with a wonderful LEED certified building with recycled jeans soundproofing and an even more beautiful setting next to the Trinity River. We never would have guessed it used to be a landfill. One man’s trash is another man’s gorgeous conservation site apparently! The 100 or so excited volunteers that arrived were placed to work all over the site, helping repair fences, widening trail, planting native grasses, collecting seeds, and even removing some dead Christmas trees.
Over at Rochester Park, Andrew and Marchetti’s crew of a 100 volunteers quite literally followed in the footsteps of a previous SCA crew that had first created the trail system that brought new life to a park that had been overrun by off-highway vehicles (OHV). The Tour 40 team cleaned up that same trail and dominated the litter bug by collecting about 50 bags of trash, 20 bags of recycling, cleared over 1500 feet of trail, and restored a vandalized kiosk.
Thanks to everyone involved in our first project, from the SWA Communications Team that gave us a second home at headquarters to the SCA community that flew in from all over the country to support us for the day. And of course, the amazing volunteers who showed us the Southwest Warrior Spirit in 100 degree weather and learned our most important rule: stay hydrated! The RV that we are currently riding on, thankfully, is nicely air-conditioned and taking us away to Albuquerque for our next project on Monday. One project down, 38 more to go! Can’t wait to (as the Texans say) see y’all out on the road!
Kim and the Tour 40 Team