A Master Gardener’s Passion for the Environment Saves Water at Work and in her Community
San Antonio, Texas, is suffering from a record-breaking five-year drought. Formerly lush river-irrigated lands surrounding the city are now dry. The situation is so severe that the San Antonio Water System posts aquifer levels and water restrictions daily.
Prologis works across its operations to minimize environmental impacts. Low-water operational solutions, including drought-tolerant landscaping and xeriscaping, balance positive visual impact on the community with conservation of limited and precious fresh water resources.
Cappy Bird, Prologis senior property manager, faced personal and professional challenges as a consequence of the drought. Bird is a member of the Bexar County Master Gardeners Association and a Master Gardener—a distinction she earned by virtue of her training in horticulture. She volunteers to educate others in her community, a role that became more critical as gardens and vegetation all but disappeared. Bird also manages 12 Prologis properties in drought-stricken San Antonio.
Bird is determined to learn everything she can about water conservation and put that knowledge to work on the job and in her community. Says Bird, “Water conservation is about more than reacting. It’s finding and making ongoing changes for long-term solutions.”
Bird took the initiative to complete a three-day Irrigation Efficiency Training course, and she has applied her newfound skills at work. She is conducting seminars for Prologis property managers, maintenance techs and landscaping and irrigation vendors in the San Antonio area to ensure they are conserving every drop of water they can. The training teaches participants how to determine if irrigation controllers are set properly, if water heads for properties with landscaping are appropriate and how to check for and fix leaks.
Working with Texas A&M, Bird has been involved in a drought sustainability study project that evaluated 1,600 native plants using four variable amounts of water to determine which plants have the best ability to survive drought conditions when daily temperatures reach 100 degrees or more during central Texas’ steamy summers.
As part of her training, Bird has committed to contribute 20 hours of community service. Prologis supports her in this endeavor through the Employee Volunteer Program, which gives employees one day per year to volunteer during regular business hours with the nonprofit of their choice.
For one of the Prologis properties that Bird oversees, Prologis Park Perrin Creek, the right materials for landscaping turned out to be rocks—and no vegetation whatsoever—to reduce water usage. “I want to conserve every drop possible,” Bird said. The property comprises eight buildings totaling 482,020 square feet.
Bird is currently working with a landscape designer to deploy rockscaping for a new Prologis property. “Of course, it’s nice to have things look pretty for new buildings, but trees and plants might die and are very expensive to replace,” she says. “It’s about maintaining a long-term perspective to conserve water for other purposes.