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Salesforce Berlin teams up with local students, teachers and parents to transform school courtyard into garden oasis

By September 3, 2015

by Brendan Monaghan and Ulrich Westphal

Salesforce Germany Volunteer

It is 9 a.m. at Georg-Büchner-High school in Berlin. It is end of the school year and the school has its annual project week. The students are busy splitting up into groups to carry out assignments. Shortly after, in the biology classroom, 9 Salesforce Berlin employees are sitting alongside the students, getting briefed on the agenda for the day. By the end of the briefing, the Berlin team along with 3 teachers, 29 students and 16 parents are sorting through gardening tools and putting on gloves, getting ready for the school courtyard restoration project. This is to involve weeding, digging up rocks, moving large piles of dirt from one corner to the other, pulling up tree trunks, transporting wheelbarrows full of pebbles, laying garden slates, as well as planting bushes and flowers. And of course, plenty of sweat, sore muscles, and achy backs (for the adults, at least).

All volunteers work hand in hand, creating a little miracle: Within only five days, an overgrown jungle of nettles and thorn bushes is transformed into a place where the students can enjoy hanging out and taking breaks between classes. As public funding for school projects are short in Berlin, the project is an exemplary demonstration of the impact of personal engagement and community involvement.

Salesforce Germany Volunteers

With ecology in mind, the group strove to reuse as many resources as possible, such as garden slates, old bricks, and rocks, all dug up from the dirt, or donated from the community. It proved to be a truly empowering experience for the students, demonstrating how much can be achieved through teamwork and motivation.

And by Friday afternoon, you were able to walk up a newly constructed ramp, where you were greeted by a terrace, complete with tables and benches to relax. There are also hidden paths leading to all kinds of attractions, such as an herb spiral, a tranquil pond with lily pads, a rose bush, and bottle tree ranch. And there is more to come, as a shuffle board court is already in the works.

The project has also received a lot of attention at school, and was awarded first place in a student poll. The school was very thankful for the foundation’s efforts, and of course, impressed with the overall accomplishment. It was also a great experience or us, and the Salesforce Berlin office was happy they got the chance to spend a few hours outdoors after a hard week work due to the World Tour!

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