More than 300 outdoor industry executives helped clean up the Tijuana River Valley Monday as part of the 15th annual Rendezvous Service Project Sponsored by Timberland. The project was a joint effort among Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) – which hosts Rendezvous, the outdoor industry’s annual leadership forum – Timberland, and San Diego-based WILDCOAST, an international conservation team that conserves coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife.
The Tijuana River Valley is one of the largest open space areas in south San Diego County. It provides the “park poor” communities of south San Diego with miles of inter-connecting trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. While it’s an ideal area for outdoor recreation, it is underutilized due to large accumulations of trash that cover trails and blanket the riverbeds. The goal of the service project was to collect 500 waste tires and 12,000 pounds of trash.
“It is very exciting to work hand-in-hand with outdoor industry leaders in restoring one of the most biologically significant wetlands of southern California,” said Serge Dedina, executive director of WILDCOAST.
Local community service is an integral part of OIA Rendezvous. Over the years, the Rendezvous Service Project Sponsored by Timberland has touched all corners of the nation, spanning 12 cities and contributing more than 7,000 hours of volunteer labor on projects such as breaking trail in the Arizona desert, building a playground for a Colorado mountain town, clearing overgrown forest in Oregon, improving a shelter for domestic violence victims, lots of trail work, and more.
“Rendezvous is about bringing people together for learning and community-building,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president and CEO of OIA. “The service projects are a great way to bond with industry colleagues while giving back to the host community. We’re grateful for Timberland’s support of this important effort.”
Timberland has long been active in community engagement and service. In addition to sponsoring the annual Rendezvous Service Project, the company offers employees 40 hours of paid time off each year to volunteer.
“This was our 15th annual service event, and one of the most memorable and impactful ever,” said Jay Steere, a Timberland and outdoor industry veteran who has participated in 12 of the Rendezvous service events. “The Tijuana River Valley project with WILDCOAST epitomizes the type of grassroots partnership we seek, to ensure that we are able to make a real difference in the communities that host Rendezvous while also creating a rewarding experience for the participants.”