October 1, 2004              

Local Firm Partners with Parks Department as Part of Global IMPACT Day

Houston-based Deloitte & Touche employees have put down their pencils and are picking up rakes, hoes and trash bags to beautify three city of Houston parks on October 8, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. as part of their annual Global IMPACT Day.

Deloitte & Touche, one of the nation’s leading professional services firms, has committed more than 200 employees to volunteer their time in beautifying Memorial, Freed and Buffalo Bayou parks. This year, instead of scraping, painting, and repairing, volunteers will focus on removing invasive plants from parks.

According to Mike Howlett, a naturalist and herpetoculturist at the Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center, invasive species such as Privet, Ligustrum and Tallow tend to choke other native plant life that grow naturally in parks such as Memorial and Freed. “Many of these invasive species produce thousands of seeds, which can turn into thousands of additional plants,” said Howlett. “By removing aggressive species, native plants flourish and it creates a beautiful park setting for the public to enjoy.”

Removing invasives is labor-intensive and involves eliminating small trees that are not indigenous to the area and a general clearing of unwanted plant species. Parks Department urban foresters will shadow Deloitte & Touche volunteer groups to ensure that only invasive plants are removed. “We have needed this type of work done for a long time,” said Victor Cordova, Parks Department urban forester. “When groups like Deloitte & Touche volunteer in our parks, we place them where we really need them and what we need is to control the growth of invasive species in our parks.”

The Deloitte & Touche volunteers plan to remove invasives from Memorial Park, plant seedlings, remove tree stakes and wires and renovate and grade the volleyball court. At Freed Park this team will do trail work, remove invasive species and general park cleanup. In Buffalo Bayou Park, volunteers will prune trees and remove silt.

This marks the third year Deloitte & Touche professionals have focused their volunteer efforts in Houston parks. They will join more than 30,000 of their colleagues in 87 cities around the world in IMPACT Day projects ranging from teaching senior citizens in Copenhagen how to use the Internet to assisting teachers in Detroit elementary schools with morning classes and serving meals at several soup kitchens.