Values in Action – Caring for the Earth

Values in Action – Caring for the Earth

In April, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Throughout 2020, communities across the globe are pausing to recognize the accomplishments made for our environment over the past 50 years and are mobilizing to ensure a healthy planet for the next 50 years to come.  

McKinstry is deeply committed to doing our part to ensure a healthy and sustainable environment. For us, our value of Making a Positive Difference is showcased in part through how we care for the Earth. Through our project work, we are advancing sustainability in the built environment, driving solutions that reduce energy and water consumption, reimagining the role of buildings in addressing the climate crisis and working to build a carbon-free future.  

Our commitment to the environment goes beyond our day-to-day operations. One of our core pillars is a commitment to our communities. McKinstry focuses on advancing environmentalism and sustainability through our community service and philanthropy. Since 1999, the McKinstry Charitable Foundation has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Rocky Mountain Institute, the Seattle Parks Foundation, the Nature Conservancy, Climate Solutions and many more organizations working to protect our air, water, wildlife and natural spaces. Each year, our employees direct funds through the People’s Choice program to environmental organizations that are leaders in local sustainability efforts.  

“If you think about what we care about, we care about climate change, we care about the environment for our children and grandchildren and future generations, and we’re proud that we’re doing work every day that makes an impact on that,” said CEO Dean Allen.      

Our people reflect our commitment to the environment through community service. Across the country, Building Good teams regularly engage in park cleanups, trail restorations, organic food distributions and everyday sustainability actions in their own workspaces by using alternative commuting, growing office gardens and engaging in recycling and composting. These projects include: 

  • Crystal Springs Park (WA) – In 2018, McKinstry and Forterra entered a three-year partnership to clean up and conserve Crystal Springs Park in Tukwila, Wash. Crystal Springs is a 13-acre park that is home to a historic spring with trails through a wooded natural area. Using a comprehensive selection process, McKinstry employees selected Crystal Springs Park and the McKinstry Charitable Foundation pledged $10,000 each year of the three-year partnership. The funding helps support employee volunteerism at the site, which has been guided by an on-site restoration steward and has focused on pulling invasive weeds, planting native species and maintaining trails. McKinstry employees have contributed nearly 700 hours at Crystal Springs since 2018.  
  • Columbia Slough Watershed (OR) – McKinstry’s Portland office is engaging in meaningful service right in their own backyard by working to protect and preserve the Columbia Slough Watershed. Each year, the team participates in projects in the slough including pulling invasive species, protecting trees from beavers, preparing turtle nesting mounds, cleaning bird boxes and more. The team also hosts regular events in the office, where community members learn about water conservation and environmental education. For their exemplary partnership, McKinstry’s Portland team received the 2019 Leadership Award from the Columbia Slough Watershed Council.  
  • Twin Lakes Bottomlands Park (CO) – Inspired by the Crystal Springs initiative in Washington, the Colorado office partnered with Adams County in 2018 to adopt Twin Lakes Bottomlands Park (pictured) north of Denver. Located in an industrial area and near previous superfund sites, Twin Lakes Bottomlands Park was identified for its variety of needs including trail creation, tree planting, bench restoration and general cleanup. The Mountain team frequently combines service projects at the park with all-region meetings and served more than 400 hours at Twin Lakes in 2019 alone.  

Each of us has an opportunity to represent our values and make a positive difference every day, and how we care for the environment is a critical piece of that.  

“I think the most exciting things are having everyone at McKinstry feel like part of their day, part of their week, and part of their year is how they’re connecting with the community” said Allen. “What a great way to live our lives, do good work or take care of our families, make a difference in the community and go to bed happy.”  

Through our philanthropy, community service and innovative projects, we are working to ensure that we do our part – as individuals and as an organization – to preserve and protect the environment. Together, we can ensure that our planet thrives for many, many more decades to come.  

Click here to see Dean Allen talk about why making a positive difference is an important value at McKinstry.