Bankers Hit the Beach in Search of Plants
A perfect day at the beach: waves crashing on the shore, a salty breeze blowing in off the water, and the August sun warming the cool sand. Only the skyscrapers lining the horizon remind one that, despite the tranquility at Gateway National Recreation Area, New York City and its frenetic energy are not all that far away.
That was the scene this past summer when NatureServe teamed up with its member program, the New York Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP), and employees from Goldman Sachs to scour the beaches of Long Island in search of the seabeach amaranth. The outing was part of the investment company’s Community TeamWorks program and NatureServe’s Conservation Works initiative. Community TeamWorks gives Goldman Sachs employees one day off each year to volunteer in team-based projects with local nonprofit organizations. In 2008, over 25,000 Goldman Sachs employees, families and friends partnered with 780 organizations in 1,761 volunteer projects.
The charge for the team members this day was the seabeach amaranth, a globally imperiled plant. It has been surveyed every year on Long Island barrier beaches since it reappeared in 1990 after an absence of 40 years. DJ Evans, director of the NYNHP, instructed team members on how to identify and “flag” seabeach amaranth. Surveyors, or flaggers, walked down the beach looking for the plants and placed three-foot fluorescent flags next to each one they spotted. A NYNHP staff member then recorded crucial information about the condition of the plants to later add it to their biodiversity database.
Contrary to the forecasts of a sunny day, thunderstorms moved through in the afternoon, forcing an abrupt end to the survey. Even so, the project was a successful first effort and one that each of the groups hopes to organize again in the future. “It was an absolute pleasure working with you for such an important cause,” said Meric Greenbaum, Vice President, Goldman Sachs, and Community TeamWorks Captain. “NatureServe is a wonderful organization that vigorously protects and preserves the beauty of our planet. I look forward to participating again next year.”