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Premier Employees Root for the Future

Premier’s tree-planting event was dubbed Rooting for the Future, but at the moment Brianna Hayes, hot and tired, would have settled for a less rocky hole.

With the sun beating down on a 75-degree day, Brianna and her team of Premier volunteers kept hitting rocks as they tried to deepen and widen a hole for a tree outside Premier’s Corporate Distribution Center. After her shovel clanged against stone for the umpteenth time, Brianna, a Learning and Development Specialist, straightened up, wiping at her sweat and catching her breath. “I want to be buried in this hole now,” she joked.

Premier Employees plant trees

Just then, TreesLouisville Executive Director Cindi Sullivan came along and spotted the problem. “The good news: This is a tree that will grow out of a rock,” said Cindi, kneeling and shoveling dirt out of the hole with her gloved hands. Soon a Maclura pomifera, aka an Osage Orange, stood where no tree had before.

In all, Premier volunteers planted 32 trees—Osage Orange and Oak—16 each outside Premier’s locations at 4301 and 3900 Produce Road as well as in the median. “It was a great day to plant trees and show how Premier cares about sustainability,” said Sustainability Manager Mackenzie Crigger. “It was really exciting to see so many Premier employees come out to participate!”

Premier Employees planting trees

These species were selected because they are hardy, will grow to be over 50 feet tall, and spread large canopies over the Premier parking lots and the median. “It’s recommended to have 45% tree canopy for a community to be healthy overall. Louisville’s, at this point, is about 39%,” said Cindi of TreesLouisville. “A robust tree canopy improves air quality, mitigates the urban heat effect by providing shade, and helps with stormwater management.” In addition, tree canopy over a median slows traffic because drivers think the road is narrower so they ease off the accelerator to appreciate the aesthetics.

Another volunteer, Tamara Tindall, participated in Rooting for the Future because she loves trees. “Every time I drive by, I’m going to be thinking ‘Ahhhhhhhh,’” said the Customer Service Representative.

These newly planted trees will live to be 50 to 100 years old which made several of the volunteers think long-term.

Sam Richardson, Staff Accountant, planted an Osage Orange in the median with Ryan Clark, Controller, and Trey Thieneman, General Ledger Supervisor.  “I’m going to be pretty proud of it when I drive by years from now, when I’m CFO,” Sam said with a straight face.

Meredith Willis, Special Projects Analyst, regarded the tree in that rocky hole that had given her team of volunteers such a rough time. “Every time I see this tree, I’m going to know that we made a small difference.” She grinned. “And when it gets tall enough, it’s time for me to retire!”

Premier Employees plant trees