Inaugural PLANET Day of Service exceeds expectations
On Earth Day, April 22, 2009, PLANET launched its first annual national PLANET Day of Service. The event was a grassroots effort that allowed individual members, supplier members, and state associations to create volunteer lawn care and landscape projects in their own communities where they felt there was a need.
More than 280 projects were carried out by approximately 2,000 volunteers in a total of 43 states. “The PLANET Day of Service exceeded our expectations, especially for a first-year event,” said Jason Cupp, CLP, 2008/2009 PLANET president. “There was such an amazing outpouring of support from volunteers, companies, and sponsors who donated time and materials.”
Projects were carried out at a wide range of locations. Zoos; elementary schools; public parks; Boy Scout camps; churches; war memorials; and social service, medical, and public housing facilities were just a few of the places that benefited.
PLANET also partnered with Project EverGreen and its GreenCare for Troops program on the PLANET Day of Service. PLANET member Matt Doerr, CLT, of Turf Appeal, Inc., in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, organized a project to help a military family that has a member serving in Iraq. About 10 Turf Appeal staff members volunteered at the home, and, with the help of John Deere Landscapes donating a tree and flowers, and Eastern Sod and McCauley’s Greenhouse also donating flowers, they were able to landscape the one-acre yard — doing in one day what would have taken the family a week to do.
“The media covered the story and the public response was amazing,” said Doerr. “I had calls from people who wanted to know how they could help, as well as calls from colonels in the military who wanted to thank us for our work.” He continued, “This project was a win-win on so many levels. Of course, we were so happy to be able to help out a military family, and we work for some of the military bases in the region, so this helped strengthen our relationships with them as well as generate new volunteers for GreenCare for Troops.”
Residents who spend time in parks were also big beneficiaries of the PLANET Day of Service. The Oregon Landscape Contractors Association rallied 100 volunteers to landscape the new Laurel Pocket Park in Bend, Oregon. In Carroll, Ohio, staffers at MirrorScapes were eager to spend another day volunteering at one of their county parks. Their team spruced up historic Lockville Park for a county parks system that only has one full-time maintenance employee.
PLANET Day of Service sponsors played a big role in supporting and participating in the Day of Service. There were a total of five lead sponsors and 30 supporting sponsors. Agrium Advanced Technologies, a lead sponsor, renovated and landscaped the Granville Village School ball fields and grounds in Massachusetts. No Kai Oi Landscape Services, a supporting sponsor, replanted a hula mound at a local elementary school located in Kauai, Hawaii, in time for the students’ May Day celebration.
Lead Sponsors for the 2009 PLANET Day of Service are Agrium Advanced Technologies, American Profit Recovery, Inc., JOHN DEERE, Lawns by Yorkshire Inc, and Shindaiwa.
For more information about the event, log on to PlanetDayofService.org.
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Meet the new PLANET Board of Directors Based on its fiscal year, PLANET announces new leadership changes each May 1st. These changes are the result of a nominating and membership voting process, dictated by the association’s bylaws and made more convenient for its members this year with the introduction of online voting.
PLANET’s 2009/2010 leadership slate will be installed on June 24, 2009, at its Annual Membership Meeting during Summer Leadership in Stevenson, Washington. Congratulations to this dedicated group of industry leaders.
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Fundraiser for PLANET member U.S. Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper planned for Legislative Day on the Hill On Monday July 13, 2009, at PLANET’s Legislative Day on the Hill annual dinner, the PLANET PAC is having a fundraiser for Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Pa.). “Small businesses are the engine of our economy, and, as a small business owner, I proactively sought the Small Business Committee because it is important that I do all I can to help our region retain and grow the businesses that we have and work to help attract new businesses to our District,” said Dahlkemper.
As a ranking member of the House Small Business Committee and chair of the subcommittee on Regulations, Health Care and Trade, Dahlkemper will be able to address the pressing issue of regulation, often a deterrent to the growth of small businesses. She also will be able to lead the discussion on the critical issue of health care. “Comprehensive health care reform is a top priority for all of us and serving as committee chairwoman will allow the voice of the 3rd District to be heard in new ways, and you can be assured the health care discussion will remain a priority until we reach a solution that works for all Americans, individuals and businesses alike,” said Dahlkemper.
The health care issue is very important to PLANET members and the entire green industry. To compliment her chairmanship, Dahlkemper will serve on the subcommittee on Rural & Urban Entrepreneurship, allowing her to have a voice for small businesses.
Among her top committee pick, Dahlkemper has been assigned to the House Committee on Agriculture and will serve on the following subcommittees: Conservation, Credit, Energy & Research, and subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Nutrition & Forestry.
As a member of the subcommittee on Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry, Congresswoman Dahlkemper feels well positioned to address local and national issues of significance, ranging from drilling in the Allegheny National Forest to childhood obesity and school nutrition.
Dahlkemper’s third committee assignment is to the House Committee on Science & Technology and will serve as vice chair of the subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight.
“I actually sought a waiver to sit on this third committee because I feel so strongly that technology is our District’s future and our nation’s for that matter,” said Dahlkemper. “I wanted to be an integral part of the change and opportunities that lie ahead of us and I’m honored to be given a leadership role on this most critical committee.” As a member of this committee of growing importance, Dahlkemper will tie energy and small business concerns to growth opportunities for the 3rd District.
Now that we have a member of PLANET in the landscape industry in Congress we need to show we can be involved in the political process that includes campaign contributions. What better way to get PLANET members to understand about giving to the PLANET PAC and directly to candidates. You do not need to attend the dinner to participate. Please contact Tom Delaney for more information.
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Safety Quick Cards available in Spanish The three safety Quick Cards, developed as a result of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and PLANET Alliance, are now available in both English and Spanish versions.
The Quick Cards are posted in the Safety section of the PLANET Web site, LandcareNetwork.org, and are free to PLANET members and nonmembers. Topics include “Gasoline Powered Cut-Off Machines,” “Personal Protective Equipment for Mixing Chemicals in Lawn Care,” and “Using Small Equipment Safely in Landscaping.” Each card provides several tips and precautions for workplace safety.
The PLANET and OSHA Alliance provides large and small landscape services industry employers with information, guidance, and access to training resources to help them protect the safety and health of their employees, including youth and low-literacy level and non-English speaking workers. In particular, the Alliance focuses on reducing and preventing exposure to manual material handling and slip, trip, and fall hazards, and on addressing motor vehicle safety issues.
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Post swine flu information for employees The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information in both English and Spanish on the recent outbreak of the swine influenza A (H1N1) virus. Consider distributing this information to your employees, or posting it in a break room or other staff area. The CDC Web site includes an overview of the health threat, as well as a list of health habits to prevent the flu, and other printable materials for promoting good health habits.
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PLANET AEF scholarship fund continues to grow CNA recently contributed to the PLANET Academic Excellence Foundation (PLANET AEF) scholarship fund, pledging $25,000 and making it the latest PLANET AEF Ambassador.
“On behalf of the CNA Foundation, it is always our pleasure to support issues and causes that are important to PLANET and the green industry at large,” says Tony James, AU, CIC, CNA Underwriting Director – Construction. “We can't successfully grow a book of green industry risks over the long-term, if the green industry isn't successful. And the PLANET AEF is clearly focused on developing the young talent that will be the future success of the industry. We are proud to support PLANET's AEF.”
Since 1983, CNA has partnered with PLANET to provide a business insurance program that offers comprehensive risk control (safety) services, expert claim handling, and property/liability insurance coverages designed specifically for landcare professionals.
The PLANET AEF scholarship fund was formed in 1998 to award scholarships and fund educational activities for the green industry. Promoting and advancing the lawn care and landscape services industry by supporting academic excellence is the Foundation’s mission. To fulfill its mission the PLANET AEF relies on tax-deductible donations and long-term pledges from individuals, corporations, organizations, and estates. The Foundation’s assets total more than $2 million.
For more information about the PLANET AEF scholarship fund, call (800) 395-2522 or visit LandcareNetwork.org.
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Tools used at Student Career Days donated to charity
Prior to attending PLANET’s 2009 Student Career Days (SCD), the PLANET Student Chapter of West Virginia University (WVU) decided that it was more cost effective to purchase tools in California instead of packing them onto the plane from West Virginia. Faculty advisor, Todd West, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Horticulture at West Virginia University’s Division of Plant and Soil Sciences, suggested to the school’s team that they should contact the local Habitat for Humanity Chapter (Pomona Valley) and see if it would accept a tool donation. Habit for Humanity was delighted and accepted the donation promise.
“While at this year’s SCD competition,” says West, “I asked other faculty members who had traveled by plane what they were going to do with their tools after the competition. When I suggested that they join our donation to Habitat for Humanity, they told me that it was a great idea.” The WVU team collected all of the donated tools following the Landscape Installation event and delivered them Sunday morning following the closing SCD ceremonies.
The WVU SCD Team would like to thank all of the teams that donated tools. Instead of just delivering two shovels, one bow rake, one push broom, and one tamper, a larger donation of 40 shovels, 23 metal bow rakes, eight push brooms, and two tampers was made. We filled the entire back of a pickup truck. West was very pleased with the efforts of all involved. “I was happy to see our students giving back to such a great community organization.”
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Certification testing at PSI/LaserGrade on the rise Newly certified designee Phil Allen, Ph.D., CLP, of Brigham Young University–Provo, describes his experience in certification testing at a PSI/LaserGrade facility.
“I recently took the complete CLP exam at a PSI/LaserGrade facility. The convenience couldn’t be better — the testing center was only three-and-a-half miles from my home.
“I was initially reluctant to take the exam on a computer but found the experience to be very user-friendly. It turned out to be faster to answer questions on the computer than on bubble sheets, and any that I wanted to recheck could be easily 'tagged' for review. Upon completing the exam, unofficial results were available immediately. I knew instantly that I had passed and went straight to celebrate.
“I highly recommend PSI/LaserGrade for written certification testing, especially for those who are taking the complete exam or who just need to finish up one or two sections.”
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JP Horizons offers PLANET members free webinars As a PLANET member, you can sign up for free webinars by JP Horizons. Registration for each seminar will be available three weeks prior to the webinar. Because participation is limited, those who sign up and do not participate are not eligible to participate in subsequent sessions in the series.
The webinar series includes the following sessions:
“Energizing Employees” (June 18, 2009): Great leaders have a strategy to retain the best employees and develop their next leaders. You will get insight on how your people can have clearly defined rolls and also understand what a "win" is for each of them and for the company … "If the company doesn't reach its goals, neither will you."
“Creating Success by Taking Action” (July 16, 2009): You can continue to build the foundation for an incredible business while strategically planning and looking toward the future. Learn how you can look at the state of the company honestly and be ready to act with positive expectations.
“Customer-Focused Sales” (September 17, 2009): What are you doing today to relate with the needs of your customers? The objective of this session will be to prepare you with ways to navigate through these tough times as customers are tightening their budgets and becoming less willing to invest or spend money.
“Financial Awareness Wins” (November 19, 2009): Sometimes, the simplest changes can make a huge impact on the financials of a company. This session will address the areas past participants claim have the most potential to improve financials, and explore how you can Sell Smarter, Cut Cost Cleverly, and Manage Cash Flow.
“Tenacity to Finish Strong” (December 17, 2009): Taking a look at 2009 — What have we learned this year that can apply to everything we do? What has made us, our companies, and our industry better? We will discuss what it takes to FINISH STRONG and hit 2010 running.
Registration is now open . If you have questions, contact JP Horizons at (877) JPH-JAMS.
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Keep informed with weekly news briefings
PLANET is partnering with MultiBriefs to create its new Green Industry Weekly NewsBrief. This free, opt-out e-mail resource provides comprehensive weekly news briefings on stories that are of interest to green industry professionals.
Each edition of the Green Industry Weekly NewsBrief will contain articles gathered from an expansive list of sources, such as The Associated Press, USA Today, The New York Times, PLANET headquarters, and leading industry publications. The Green Industry Weekly NewsBrief is a great way to stay informed. Plus, it can be easily read in your office, home, or via your mobile phone or PDA.
"In a recent membership survey, PLANET members reported that one of the top benefits of being a member of the association is the opportunity to stay current on industry news," says PLANET President Bill Hildebolt, Ph.D., CTP, CTP-CSL, of Nature’s Select Premium Turf Services, Inc. "The Green Industry Weekly NewsBrief is another component of PLANET’s educational offerings that will help you keep on top of the issues that can impact your business."
Your feedback is always important. Contact the PLANET office at (800) 395-2522 or e-mail Kathy Wemhoff with your thoughts and suggestions.
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PLANET launches 2009 awards programs To be recognized is very fulfilling and rewarding, whether it’s for a very special project you designed and installed, or a thank-you for giving back to the industry or to your community. PLANET’s awards programs give you the opportunity to “toot your own horn” or nominate a deserving peer for a job well done.
PLANET’s Environmental Improvement Awards Program is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. It has brought pride, publicity, and business to thousands of companies and their employees over the years. Lambert Landscape Co. of Dallas, Texas, has been entering projects for many years and, as a result, has received numerous awards. Company CEO Dan Morgan has this to say about the program: “The employees enjoy and deserve to have the affirmation of their peers, and the national recognition reminds employees of the quality work they’re doing.”
The Green Industry Contribution Award also has been in existence for many years. It has enabled members to honor high-profile clients for their contributions to quality landscape development and awareness. Notable past recipients include Anheuser Busch, Embassy Suites, Marriott, McDonald’s Corp., and Walt Disney World.
Several of PLANET’s awards honor members for their outstanding contributions to PLANET and the industry. For example, last year’s Lifetime Leadership Award recipient was Phil Fogarty of Weed Man/Lake County, in Euclid, Ohio. He is the catalyst for one of PLANET’s signature events, Renewal & Remembrance at Arlington National and Historic Congressional Cemeteries.
A new award, the Sustainable Company Award, has also been added to the list of PLANET awards programs. This award recognizes those businesses that strive to protect and conserve resources, reduce waste, and prevent pollution, and that promote an ethic of environmental sustainability and improvement within their workplace.
Find out more about all of PLANET’s awards programs and make this an award-winning year.
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There’s still time to enter safety awards program PLANET has extended the deadline for entries to its Safety Recognition Awards Program until June 1, 2009, allowing companies extra time for submission.
The safety awards program is an annual event that recognizes companies for their commitment to safety and is open to PLANET members and nonmembers as well as members of the STARS Safe Company program.
Applications can be downloaded from the Awards section of PLANET’s Web site at LandcareNetwork.org and mailed to PLANET, Safety Recognition Awards, 950 Herndon Parkway, Suite 450, Herndon, Virginia, 20170 or faxed to (703) 736-9668. In addition to the entry form, participating companies must submit a copy of their OSHA Form 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, a copy of their year-end vehicle insurance claims summary report, and a completed Safety Program Checklist, which is included with the entry form. There is no entry fee.
Safety Recognition Awards categories include:
An Overall Safety Achievement Award can be earned at the Gold, Silver, or Bronze levels.
- No Vehicle Accidents
- No Injuries or Illnesses
- No Days Away From Work
- Most Improved
For more information about the Safety Recognition Awards Program, sponsored by CNA, please contact Cheryl Claborn at (800) 395-2522.
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An invitation to PLANET Supplier Members PLANET invites its Supplier Members to a special event on June 23, 2009, the eve of PLANET’s 2009 Summer Leadership Meeting.
During this interactive forum, attendees will discuss hot-button topics and share information on issues currently affecting their companies, their customers’ businesses, the green industry, and PLANET. Participation and feedback will be encouraged from all attendees! Following the meeting, you are invited to a cocktail hour and a networking dinner.
3:00–6:00 p.m. — PLANET Supplier Summit
6:00–7:00 p.m. — Catch-Up-With-Colleagues Cocktail Hour
7:00–9:00 p.m. — Networking Dinner
Registration for the PLANET Supplier Summit is FREE.
Please R.S.V.P. to Dina Wiley via e-mail by May 20, 2009.
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A message from your PLANET President Bill Hildebolt, Ph.D., CTP, CTP-CSL, of Nature’s Select Premium Turf Services, Inc., discusses some of his goals as PLANET’s 2009/2010 president in his first president’s message. “Our association will continue to play a key role in educating the general public about the value our services play in protecting and, yes, sustaining our environment,” says Hildebolt. He also stresses the importance of raising the professionalism within the industry.
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How to survive in tough economic times To address the issues facing the green industry during this economic downturn, the March, April, and May issues of PLANET’s Personnel Notebook will provide information and guidelines to help you prepare for the worst and focus on what you do best.
Available to members in the HR University section of PLANET’s Web site, the Personnel Notebook entitled “The Small Business Survival Guide for Tough Times” is broken down into three parts:
Part I: Your Company (March)
Part II: Your People (April)
Part III: The Legal Issues (May)
In addition, for companies that would like to provide some assistance and information to employees affected by the downturn, an “Employees Survival Guide for Tough Times” is also available on the HR University section of PLANET’s Web site.
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Safety $ense As we approach the hot, sunny days of summer, take time to read about ways to protect your employees from heat-related illnesses in the May issue of Safety $ense. Learn the symptoms of dehydration, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and much more.
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Inside PLANET PLANET is working hard to deliver on the five strategic goals of the PLANET Promise and would like to share those achievements with its members on a monthly basis in this e-newsletter. Read the latest edition of Inside PLANET.