For the past week, the Colorado Rapids have been volunteering as part of MLS WORKS Greener Goals Week of Service to promote environmental awareness for Earth Day. This year marks the fourth year that Major League Soccer has honored Earth Day with Greener Goals, multiple other organizations, nonprofits, and charities. The league recently partnered with Adidas and Parley for the Oceans in order to provide eco-friendly uniforms for all 24 clubs. As a team, the Rapids have partnered with Denver Urban Gardens and One Tree Planted, as well as Denver Parks and Recreation.
The volunteer programs have expanded over the years from front office staff members to the Rapids’ youth program and season ticket holders. “It’s a really great cause,” says Colorado Rapids community relations manager Caitlin Kinser. “What One Tree Planted is doing is awesome, and we were really excited that we were able to partner our season ticket members with them this year.”
Not only are new faces volunteering, players are doing their part as well. Midfielder Cole Bassett (above), who was born in Middleton, is in his first year of working with the program. Nature holds a special place in the Colorado native’s heart. “We definitely have to preserve all our natural resources around here,” says Bassett, who is 17. “Especially with all the pollution there is, and with all the trees people are cutting down, we just have to keep preserving, planting new trees, and taking care of the environment.” Bassett encourages today’s youth to be more environmentally aware.
For Greener Goals Week of Service, the Rapids and One Tree Planted have worked together to plant over 600 new trees in the Four Mile Canyon just outside of Boulder. After a devastating fire in 2010, One Tree Planted has worked to rebuild the canyon’s ecosystem and restore its beauty.
Bassett, other players, and front office members worked with Denver Urban Gardens on finishing off the construction and final touches for a new community garden in Denver. They built new raised beds and began planting in new plots. “It’s pretty cool to see that MLS gets involved in this kind of stuff and their effort to try and make the environment better,” Bassett says. “Just bringing the players out into the community, and getting outside, as well as getting to know what it’s like to live here.”
To top off the Earth Day festivities, the Rapids Youth Club and Denver Parks and Recreation worked together to plant new trees and partake in some landscaping as well as groundwork in local Denver parks. Says Kinser, “It’s very important to us to be involved in our community and preserving the resources we have here in Colorado.”
Photographs courtesy of the Colorado Rapids