SOUL is in high gear for tree-planting season, which lasts from October through March. This year’s season looks a little different operationally as we center the safety of our volunteers. Amidst these changes, we are excited to provide safe and meaningful outdoor volunteer experiences for our community as we all come together to plant 1,500 native, water-loving trees across New Orleans.
Updates to COVID Procedures – February 1, 2021
In January, SOUL postponed planting events due to the City re-entering the Modified Phase One response to COVID-19. Now that the city has returned to Phase Two, we are resuming planting events while instituting the following additional safety measures:
Skipping Morning Gathering
Volunteers will still report to base camp to check in and receive their planting location assignments. However, we will skip the morning gathering and volunteers will report directly to their planting locations to meet their team leaders after receiving their assignments. Instead of a group planting demonstration, team leaders will check in with individuals and small groups throughout the day.
Change in Saturday Basecamp Operations
Skipping Breakfast & Lunch
To keep everyone safe, we are skipping large gatherings before and after plantings and avoiding handling food and drink this year. We ask volunteers to bring your own water bottles and whatever snacks you need to sustain your energy throughout the day.
SOUL team members staff check-in tables and provide you with your planting locations for the day. After you finish planting your trees, you do not need to return to basecamp; your team leader and/or truck driver will return your tools.
Advance Tree-Planting Instructions
To decrease the need for volunteers to gather in large groups, SOUL will provide tree-planting instructions in advance. We ask that volunteers spend a few minutes in advance of planting days to review the instructions.
More Frequent Volunteer Days
In addition to our Saturday plantings, we will also organize more frequent, smaller volunteer opportunities throughout the week. If your workplace, community organization, family, or group of friends would like to coordinate a special volunteer day, please reach out to Jamie Broussard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Smaller Volunteer “Pods”
We are also encouraging folks to sign up to work together as volunteer “pods.” Ideal volunteer pods are groups of 2-10 people and can be family members, housemates, or friends who feel comfortable working in close proximity to one another.
You can sign up your volunteer pod for a specific volunteer day, or you can register your pod if you would like to be contacted when small-group volunteer opportunities arise. Register your SOUL volunteer pod here.
SOUL will sanitize all gloves and tools between planting days. We will supply hand sanitizer and provide masks at our check-in stations.
We can’t wait to see you—masks and all! Sign up for volunteer days here! Check back periodically, as we add more volunteer dates throughout the season.