Two days out of the office to restore an historic trail
Nine Swiss Post interns and trainees volunteered to restore the historic Chalm trail in the Argovia Jurapark. This initiative gives youngsters the opportunity to meet new people while helping to maintain Switzerland’s network of hiking trails. We report on the event.
The nine young people who volunteered to help restore the historic Chalm trail in the Argovia Jurapark were welcomed by their supervisors in autumnal weather. They were shown the trail which was one of the three winners of Swiss Post’s 2019 incentive awards. Linking the village of Schinznach to the Jura Crest Trail, it provides magnificent views over the Schenkenberg Valley, famed for its well-kept vineyards.
This two-day initiative is part of an overall project aimed at restoring the park’s historic trails, and a busy schedule awaits the intrepid youngsters. Their tasks include restoring dry stone walls, widening the trail and clearing the edges of the forest and the trail itself. These jobs are vital to enable families to hike the trail safely.
The park’s fauna and flora also benefit from this initiative. The planned tasks will make it easier for sunlight to reach the ground, which is the preferred habitat of many different animal and plant species. “Without the help of volunteers, like today, it would be hard to carry out this maintenance work and the living space of many plants and insects would be destroyed,” points out one of the group’s supervisors.
A relaxed but hard-working atmosphere
The work is harder than expected due to the heavy rainfall the evening before. It is slippery underfoot and the damp greenery is harder to pull out, which means the youngsters face a tough challenge. But they keep their spirits up at all times and maintain a sense of humour. After a well-earned lunch break to regain their strength and to get to know one another better, the group gets back to work while the sky looks increasingly foreboding.
A tangible initiative with many benefits
“It’s great that Swiss Post offers this kind of activity. It’s something tangible in contrast to initiatives by other companies, which simply donate money without really getting involved on the ground,” explains Timon, one of two volunteers from Western Switzerland, in between gathering small pieces of wood. “If it hadn’t been for this scheme, I would never have set foot here,” adds the youngster, who is completing an internship behind the counter of a branch in Geneva.
Adiouma, an intern at IMS Ltd, the company which manages Swiss Post’s real estate portfolio, adds: “My trainer told me that it was a great opportunity to get to know interns from other backgrounds. It also allows us to see different parts of the country.” It’s an initiative that provides many benefits.
The end of the day is already nearing. The trainees and interns will now have a rest before getting back to work tomorrow. They will spend the night at a youth hostel in Baden, around 20 kilometres from the trail. Here everything is carefully organized – a meal has been prepared, and there’s a presentation about Swiss Post’s commitment as the main partner of the Swiss Hiking Trail Federation, as well as a small round table about the importance of social responsibility and everyone’s experiences on the topic.