Portland Timbers and MLS WORKS help beautify Hosford Middle School on Earth Day

On a bright shining Earth Day in Portland, MLS WORKS, Continental Tire and Portland Timbers players and staff visited Hosford Elementary School Monday afternoon to finish and celebrate the school’s new beautification project as part of the League's Greener Goals initiative.

A year ago, MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer’s outreach initiative and Continental Tire conducted a “How Green Are Your Goals?” fan engagement contest to see which MLS city was the most environmentally involved. The Timbers and their fans easily pushed the vote forward and secured a solar panel installation and environmentally friendly beautification project for Hosford Middle School, located in SE Portland.

On Monday, Timbers players Jake Gleeson, Jack Jewsbury, Ryan Kawulok, Darlington Nagbe, Brent Richards, Sebastian Rincon, and Sal Zizzo along with Timber Joey all worked alongside students to help plant the trees and and put the finishing touches on the school’s new improvements.

After shoveling in some dirt around a new tree planting, Jewsbury joked, “I got a little dirty. I’ve planted a few trees but this is probably the biggest one. I definitely learned a little bit about how to plant these things.”

It’s great to be out here and to see the projects that we’ve been able to help with. It’s always fun to get out in the community and help out.”

Along with the trees, the beautification program included a new BEF solar panel installation along with Solar4Schools learning materials, custom bike racks created by Oregon-based designer Matt Cartwright, helmet and bike lock giveaways for students and faculty who bike to school, a new Elkay drinking fountain and reusable water bottles to cut down on the amount of plastic water bottles used at the school as well as a specially designed mural done in tandem with students and designers from the Timbers staff.

Timber Joey led a walking tour for Timbers owner and president Merritt Paulson, players, Hosford students, and representatives from MLS and Portland Public Schools around the school grounds pointing out the new features as well as some of his own handiwork which included repurposing some old tree lumber into custom made benches.

“It’s great to be out here and we’ve learned a few things along the way,” said Jewsbury. “They’ve put up the solar panels here and It think it’s great not only in terms of saving energy but also some of the things that kids can learn in the classroom from the new installations that’s been put in around the school. It’s great for us to be a part of this as an organization.”

After planting the trees with students, Timbers players and Timber Joey participated in an all school assembly in the gym helping explain some of the new features as well as taking questions from students about soccer and the importance of a good education.

For club captain Jewsbury, the day helped illustrate not only how much he enjoys getting out into the community to help but also how important the community and fans are to the players.

“It’s so special for us, obviously on gamedays, to see the support at the stadium,” he said. “But when you’re out in the community doing things like this or just out with your family, you see that people do truly care not only about the weekends but what we do day in, day out and that means a ton to us players.”