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Nestlé partners with conservation group for day of volunteering

As part of Nestlé Co.’s national day of volunteering, employees from both Nestlé Water and Glendale-based Nestlé USA teamed up with the Student Conservation Assn. for an afternoon of habitat restoration.

The Audubon Center at Debs Park — an urban nature center in the Montecito Heights neighborhood — was home to one of more than 100 Nestlé volunteering events Thursday.

At the Audubon Center, four groups assembled to clear brush, remove invasive plants and build nesting boxes for bluebirds.

“We’re doing efforts focused on conservation and water stewardship across all of the Nestlé companies in the U.S.,” said Edie Burge, a spokesman for Nestlé USA. “That is why we partnered with both SCA as well as Project WET Festival with the Boys & Girls Club in nearby Burbank.”

Nestlé’s national day of volunteering is an ongoing 20-year tradition and the second year partnering with the SCA. The conservation group provides materials and information, and it helps with recruitment by pulling from local nonprofits and partners.

According to Dan McCabe, vice president of corporate sponsorships with the Student Conservation Assn., roughly 10,000 people volunteer with the group every year, adding that they’re fortunate to have participating companies such as Nestlé that care about “employee and community engagement.”

SCA volunteers Casey Rose Moore, 24, and Tony Pham, 19, both traveled from the Washington, D.C. area to help participate in the event. They led a group that removed invasive yellow thistle, seeded native plants and repaired berms along a trail.

“It’s been really awesome,” Moore said. “I didn’t even know what a berm was until they explained that we need to repair them because of a water shortage, and we need to create a space for these native plants that we are trying to put in this habitat to protect the birds.”

Juan Carlos Vasquez, who volunteers often by way of the Nestlé Waters factory in Ontario, said the experience was different from past events such as blood drives or handing out water at marathons.

“I love nature. My dad had a green thumb, so his berm-building skills [I learned from him] have come in pretty handy here,” he said. “I'm happy to be here.”

Nestlé USA announced in February that it will be moving its headquarters from Glendale to Rosslyn, Va. The move is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

jeff.landa@latimes.com

Twitter: @JeffLanda

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