Thanks to the help of attorneys and staff at Milwaukee-based Godfrey & Kahn, the Urban Ecology Center in MIlwaukee has received hours of much-needed and sometimes necessary volunteer work. For the past 10 years, Godfrey & Kahn attorneys and staff have assisted with several projects at the Urban Ecology Center as part of its annual Earth Day cleanup event.
“We’ve had a great, long-term relationship with the Urban Ecology Center,” said John Clancy, shareholder. “Over the years, we’ve done a variety of different projects at the center and its outer locations. It’s a great way for our employees to get involved with environmentally-friendly efforts and learn about the center.”
Clancy, shareholder and leader of Godfrey & Kahn’s Environmental Strategies and Energy Strategies practice groups, has been on the board of the Urban Ecology Center since 2000. He served as president for three of those years, and was instrumental in starting GK’s involvement with the UEC.
“Each year on Earth Day, we provide assistance with whatever projects the Urban Ecology Center needs help with,” Clancy said.
On average, 35 to 45 members of Godfrey & Kahn’s staff volunteer each year at the Urban Ecology Center. In addition to volunteering time and labor, the firm also donates the cost of supplies and equipment for the projects.
In the past, the firm has planted trees for the Rotary Centennial Arboretum, spread wood chips in the playground area, assisted with the removal of non-native plant species, and planted trees, plants and shrubs native to the region for several different areas at the Urban Ecology Center, along the Milwaukee River, and its surrounding trails.
In addition, GK supports the UEC’s primary mission of environmental education. Clancy, as well as other attorneys, regularly speak at UEC events and activities.
“It’s an easy mission to support,” Clancy said. “Our employees can really get behind the work we are doing because they can physically see us making the communities and the spaces a little bit better. It’s a great feeling.”
Planning for Earth Day 2019 is underway, and Clancy suspects the work the firm has been doing to remove non-native and invasive plant species throughout the Urban Ecology Center property will continue.
“There’s plenty for us to do, and we’re excited to continue our work,” Clancy added.
According to Clancy, employees at all levels of the company have participated in the annual event, including shareholders and the chief financial officer, as well as a number of first-year associates and attorneys and support staff.
“It’s a great opportunity to interact more with colleagues we don’t get to work with often,” Clancy said. “The networking opportunities for us, and the ability to be outdoors, working with our hands to do something great for our community, are just added benefits to the partnership.”
The work the firm has done at the Urban Ecology Center has spilled over into the company, as well. GK formed a Green Committee which is focused on environmental sustainability practices, including reduced printing, recycling initiatives and green building practices.
“Our goal is to just get people to think about smarter, greener choices,” Clancy said. “A lot of our decisions blend into what we’re doing, or have been doing for the last 10 years. As we build new buildings or renovate our office spaces, we’ve made more conscious decisions around energy efficiency, smarter, greener lighting and equipment choices. It’s about really practicing what we preach.”