40 years of Earth Day

By Krista Van Tassel
April 15th, 2010

April 22, 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the one day a year officially designated to celebrate and preserve the environment.

Wells Fargo's Green Team Iowa at the Earth Day 2009 Trash Bash in Des MoinesAlthough we all know we should be taking daily action to help protect the planet, Earth Day serves as a great reminder of how important every small action can be, and provides a chance to educate and inspire our colleagues and friends to do the right thing for the planet.

This Earth Day is particularly special for me because it will be my first at Wells Fargo, and we’ve made big plans to celebrate!

One of the best parts of my job is getting to work with our dedicated network of over 35 Wells Fargo Green Teams, volunteers who are committed to helping the company operate more efficiently and responsibly. From Iowa and Minnesota to Seattle and Oregon, our Green Teams tirelessly champion the environment in everything they do, every day of the year. Earth Day in particular gives us all a great excuse to have a lot of fun while doing it and get more of our fellow team members involved.

So what are the Green Teams up to this year?

Well, St. Louis, Missouri, will be hosting their largest green event to date, which will feature more than 30 vendors showcasing ways to save energy and cut costs at work and at home. One of our newer teams in Vancouver, Washington, is planning a dumpster dive to help team members think about what we consume and throw away on a daily basis.

Wells Fargo's Green Team Barnhart Center getting ready for a day of volunteering in Beaverton, OregonOur team in Colorado is developing a state-wide communication that will help educate and inform team members of what everyday actions make the most difference for the environment. And in San Francisco, California, several team members will be hosting community events to put team members to work in protecting the Bay Area and celebrate National Volunteer Week.

During the next week, we’ll be sharing some stories from these and other Green Teams about their efforts and events. So please stay tuned!

At Wells Fargo, we’re fond of saying that our everyday actions can make a huge difference on the environment. Earth Day is a great occasion to learn new ways to protect the planet and add an everyday action to your running list.

So, what everyday actions will YOU take to celebrate Earth Day 2010?

Krista Van Tassel

Krista Van Tassel

As Community and Team Member Engagement manager for Wells Fargo’s Environmental Affairs Team, Krista supports the company’s 70+ Green Teams, recognizing and promoting environmental innovator best practices, and engaging and educating team members about their role in helping the company’s sustainability efforts. She also manages Wells Fargo’s Environmental Solutions for Communities’ $3 million annual nonprofit grant program focused on helping make long-term sustainable economic investments in local communities where its customers and 264,000 team members work and live. Prior to joining Wells Fargo in 2009, Krista worked in a variety of sustainability and marketing positions in both the nonprofit and for profit sectors. Krista earned her MBA in International Business at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

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Patty Bensonon April 16, 2010 at 6:39 am:

Wells Fargo Green Team Maryland had a wonderful “early Earth Day” event: we partnered with a non-profit group for the 22nd Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup this past Saturday (4/10). While it didn’t actually fall on Earth Day, we felt it was a great environmental cause and was close enough to our site to enable a greater amount of participation. Dozens of bags of trash and recyclables were recovered from the banks of the Monocacy River (which empties into the Potomac) here in Frederick, Maryland. As a Green Team and Wells Fargo Team member, it was inspiring to see the turnout of Green Team members, other Wells Fargo Team members, and other concerned Maryland citizens all working together!

Wells Fargo Green Team Arizonaon April 16, 2010 at 9:11 am:

The Wells Fargo Green Team Arizona is planning on hosting an info booth the Wednesday prior to Earth Day in order to promote Earth Day and local events, as well as upcoming informational sessions we will be conducting. In addition we will also be offering Team Members an Earth Day Pledge and each participant will recieve an eco-friendly Wells Fargo water bottle to keep. MODERATOR’S NOTE: The Wells Fargo Green Team Arizona is led by dedicated, environmentally-minded team members Aarone Montgomery, Al-Hajjii Brooks and Mike Soroka

Brad Gerndt, Founder & President Wells Fargo Green Team Iowaon April 17, 2010 at 3:04 pm:

Great Green Greetings:
The Wells Fargo Green Team Iowa partnered with two Wells Fargo Bank Branches helping them with volunteering for their Community Shred Day April 10th. Anyone regardless if they were customers or not, was able to bring in their documents to be shredded securely onsite and then recycled. Thestatistics are not yet finalized, however last year’s event shredded and recycled over 20,000 lbs of paper shredded and recycled saving 470 trees, thousands of gallons of water and KW of energy. Wells Fargo Green Team Iowa Volunteers did much of the unloading people’s boxes/bags of documents, dumping into bins, wheeling them over to the Iron Mountain truck, and when emptied wheeled it back, so that the bankers were able to talk to the people to see if they could do anything to help them with their banking, identity theft protection, etc. needs.

Wells Fargo Green Team Iowa is again volunteering for the annual Downtown (Des Moines) Earth Day Trash Bash. Above you see us having 200 Volunteers, this year we have 300 Volunteers! For three years in a row, we have received awards and recognition from the City of Des Moines for the largest corportate team and the Corporate Greenie Award for Outstanding Environmental Stewardship.

Wells Fargo Green Team Iowa presented grants of $500 each ($1,000) to the City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation and to the River Stewards River Run Garbage Grab to purchase garbage grabbers and large thermos jugs to be shared for these and other clean up events.

Wells Fargo Green Team Iowa is promoting “Please Use Reusable Dishes” and use the dish soap provided at the break area sinks. Also, over 250 team members were able to save money and easily order over 760 Wells Fargo reusable mugs, cups, and water bottles. Working with the food service company, the theme of using reusable dishes vs. disposables is carried into the cafeterias.

Since Des Moines Metro Area has many locations with over 12,500 team members, to save on resources, the Eco-Fairs travel from location to location and feature both internal groups (Wells Fargo Green Team Iowa, Today’s Stagecozch Alternative Transportation Community of Practice Group, Corporate Properties Groups, technical group, and several vendors) and external environmental agencies (Iowa Environmental Council, DNR, RideShare, Des Moines Area Regional Transit, RestYourCar.com, Keep Iowa Beautiful, BikeIowa, Urban Ambassadors, many others).

Wells Fargo Green Team Iowa is hosting a speaker series in several locations on global climate change including scientists, teachers, Toastmasters, and a special Lunch and Learn with Chad Progrzcke of Living Lands and Waters.

Daily Green Tips are posted on the Wells Fargo Green Team Iowa internal website.

Promoting Energy Efficiency with stickers, posted signs, email memos to managers, and presentations encouraging team members to turn off, power down, and unplug where possible.

Wells Fargo with its Green Team Iowa will be receiving the Metro Waste Authority Environmental Stewardship Award on April 21 for the volunteerism, efforts, dedication, commitment and stewardwhip to the environment in 2009.

To cap things off and in celebration of Iowa Arobor Day April 30, we will distribute 1,000 tree seedlings to team members and then partnering with Living Lands and Waters and MidAmerican Energy plant 6,487 trees around Saylorville Lake.

Everyone Enjoy Earth Day Everyday for Environment!

Great Green Gratitude!

Brad Gerndton April 17, 2010 at 3:18 pm:

OK, I’m going to date myself here. I recall meeting Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson shortly after the passing of his “Earth Day” Bill in my 5th grade government class in Milwaukee. I wonder if I can find the autographed copy of the bill in my parents’ attic.

My family and I are so very grateful for his creative innovation and persistence to make a huge awareness event and with that, an immeasurable positive difference for our precious environment!

Earth Day Everyday 1970 – 2010
Great Green Gratitude!

Krista Van Tasselon April 19, 2010 at 10:30 am:

@Brad Gerndt – Thanks so much for sharing this great memory. Just goes to prove that you’ve been a “greenie” from the start and we are glad to have you as an active and dedicated leader with the Wells Fargo Green Team Iowa as well. Thank you!

Kelly Wardon April 22, 2010 at 8:33 am:

@Brad Gerndt – I was in Jr High School for the very first Earth Day. I remember the green Ecology symbol I stuck on the front of my notebook. Talk about dating yourself!

MODERATOR’S NOTE: Just so you know, Kelly is a Wells Fargo team member. The views he’s expressing here are his alone and don’t constitute an official position taken by Wells Fargo or Wachovia. Please see our Community Guidelines for more information!

Erin Angerer – Wells Fargo Green Team Seattleon April 18, 2010 at 9:05 am:

The Wells Fargo Green Team Seattle has planned an environmental stewardship event in the heart of the Puget Sound on our waterfront drive called Alki Beach. On the Saturday following Earth day our Green Team volunteers will be participating in an Adopt-A-Street event where we will remove trash and beautiful our own adopted stretch of land that runs along the Puget Sound just west of Seattle.
We are excited to have this be our first Green Team Event in the city, and just the first of many environmental initiatives to come!
Happy Earth Day!!

Katie Simon-Dastychon April 19, 2010 at 8:24 am:

I’m a team member active in one of our volunteer clubs. For Earth Day our Wells Fargo Green Team MN partnered with Parent Group MN (both Wells Fargo clubs/affinity groups). We will have an information table set up at the Minneapolis Wells Fargo Museum, 90 South 7th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402.
Thursday, April 22nd is not only Earth Day but Bring Your Child to work Day.

At the invitation of our museum curator this presented a great opportunity for both clubs, let me share our story with you:

Last fall, what started out as a brainstorming session for both clubs when the question came up by several of our Parent Group members who expressed interest in a green and responsible solution on what to do with toys when the toys get to the end of their life. The project mushroomed and we came up with many options for parents including options for gently used toys to the other extreme — when a toy might have ewaste. What a great way to take our passions for the environment and concern to do the right thing with something as everyday as and old toy. We feel we have a great informational piece good for our fellow team members, and this Wednesday, you can pick up a flyer if you have a chance to visit the Minneapolis Wells Fargo museum on Earth Day, and oh yes — and bring your child to work day!

Look for our information table between hours of 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Central Daylight Time. The museum is free and open to the public. Find directions to the Minneapolis Wells Fargo Museum at wellsfargo.com/about/history/museums/

Katie Simon-Dastych, Wells Fargo Green Team MN & co-founder
Minneapolis Minnesota

Brenda Haltermanon April 22, 2010 at 6:55 am:

I liked Brad’s comment about “dating himself”. I was an original member of Greenpeace. This was back in the early days when we thought we would be 25 feet deep in garbage by the millenium. I have always been “green” and wish that some of the sites I have visited would take recycling more seriously. 30 years ago I planted trees and I recently got a chance to revisit those trees. What a tremendous experience to see them now 60 feet high and thriving. Little thing people. I am planting a tree in my yard today to commemorate the day.

MODERATOR’S NOTE: Just so you know, Brenda is a Wells Fargo team member. The views she’s expressing here are hers alone and don’t constitute an official position taken by Wells Fargo or Wachovia. Please see our Community Guidelines for more information!

Pat Tooleon April 23, 2010 at 3:26 am:

Wells Fargo Green Team Kentucky has been so busy getting ready for our Earth Day festivities that we haven’t had time to comment here, until now.

We hosted a very successful Lunch and Learn, serving a group of 26 people made up of WF team members and community friends. Our entertaining and informative speaker, Steve Paradis of Fresh Start Growers’ Supply, spoke to us about the benefits of organic home gardening and instructed us on how to create great soil from our red Kentucky Clay.

We also distributed 200 vegetable plants, which we grew from seeds, and about 50 flowering plants donated by a WF team member.

It was an exciting, informative and delicious Earth Day!

Charron Remmeon May 12, 2010 at 7:35 pm:

The dust is finally settling for the Green Team South Dakota’s whirlwind of activities celebrating Earth Day and Arbor Day!

We planted 2 trees at 2 of our locations here in Sioux Falls, had a Clean Up event at one of our locations. We also attended the Arbor Day Celebration at the Mary Jo Wegner arboretum where we met the Mayor Dave Munson and gave a brief speech on our involvement and $1500.00 grant to them last year. We honored the day with the planting of a Coffee Tree and enjoyed a snake show by a local biology professor. A few of us attended the Plain Green Conference which was phenomenal and we recently had our first Kick Off meeting with our new Chairs/Co-chairs. We are now gearing up for our big event this weekend. The Mayors Garden Party where we will be planting 25,000 flowers in Sioux Falls Parks. Whew….no one said being Green was easy right?

MODERATOR NOTE: Charron is Wells Fargo team member who co-leads the Wells Fargo Green Team South Dakota, based in Sioux Falls.

BradGerndton June 19, 2010 at 8:37 am:

Great Green Greetings and Gratitude to Caring for Our Precious Environment!

Although Arbor Day officially has come and gone, I would like to share with you ways in which we all can celebrate Arbor Day Everyday. One thing our Wells Fargo Environmental Affairs Green Team Iowa did on Iowa Arbor Day was to give away 1,000 tree seedlings of six different species (3 hardwood, 3 pine) to fellow Wells Fargo team members.

Also, you know there are many companies that offer to donate a tree for their customers to go paperless for their statements and/or billings, right? Well, one thing I never thought of was, “Whose going to plant all those trees?” Well, the answer came when we were contacted by a non-profit agency dedicated to the environment called “Living Lands and Waters” asking for volunteers to plant 4,847 trees! The non-profit organization had worked with local DNR, Parks and Recreation Department, and other officials to find places around Saylorville Lake in central Iowa to plant these trees. The project was to take place over two days, four shifts. Well, we had some 250 volunteers the first morning May 7th. By the afternoon, our Wells Fargo Environmental Affairs Green Team Iowa Volunteers and their families and friends had not only planted all of the 4,847 tree saplings, but had far surpassed that by planting 8,000 maple and oak saplings!!! Although the other three shifts were cancelled, a few volunteers were there the next day giving away another 2,000 saplings to whoever wanted to come and get them.

Trees are one of the greatest greenest answers to our environmental sustainable future! Now, we need to take care of these trees, so some of our Arborist Members voluntarily hold Tree Care Seminars and answer all sorts of questions and share tips to maintain their trees for decades to come, especially to give them a great start in their early years.

Remember, trees not only help our air and reduce water runoff, help the environment in so many other ways, add to the natural beauty and recreation in the great outdoors, but they also add value to homes and lands, also important to these economic times.

It is truly fantastic to be involved in this part of environmental care, and a heart-felt pleasure to see photos of tree seedlings we gave away two years ago that are now over 4 feet tall when they began as 8″ seedlings! Just wait until we get to see photos as they grow through the years, and being able to show and tell our children and grandchildren trees we have planted ourselves and given away, which encourage them to do likewise.

We like to plant a tree to honor my elderly parents, at a friend’s and relative’s funeral, every year to commemorate our kids’ birthdays, and many other celebrations along with just for the sake of planting trees.
–Brad Gerndt,Founder/President, Wells Fargo Environmental Affairs Green Team Iowa

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