April first marked thirty years of Overland Partners. There’s a certain nostalgia that comes coupled with milestone celebrations—memories, lessons learned, the retelling of stories time and again. Over time, considerable change takes place, the culmination of which becomes part of a greater rhythm of growth. Senior principal & CEO, Rick Archer, addressed the entire staff, reflecting on what Overland’s history and mission mean to the future of our firm. Celebrating this milestone would encompass all aspects of the occasion—honor, reflection, stories, vision. The next 30 years.
Overland’s work is founded on the premise that there is always a deeper opportunity beyond what’s apparent, so naturally questions arose when planning the commemoration of this milestone. We asked how our designs can have greater impact on our communities, and how we can contribute to positive change. We wanted to mark this year by offering a lasting contribution to both our global and local community. In celebration of our 30 years, in addition to supporting an effort to restore the rainforest along the Pacific Coast of Panama, we donated thirty trees to the nearby Dignowity Hill neighborhood. Planting trees benefits the community for years by contributing to lower energy costs for residents, cleaner air, and a safer, more walkable neighborhood.
"Underneath every city, a forest of patient seeds quietly awaits our departure."
In addition to their environmental benefits, trees and forests also serve as powerful symbols—alive and immovable, yet changing and in motion with their environment. Etched into the concrete on the sidewalk adjacent to our office, passersby can read the following ‘guerilla’ signage: “Underneath every city, a forest of patient seeds quietly awaits our departure.” This prescient message aligns with our philosophy, recognizing trees as symbols of antiquity and enduring strength because of their age and durability. Shadows cast by their crowns are often interpreted as protection, a provision of cover and camouflage.
So on the morning of Saturday, April 8th, Overland volunteers rolled up our sleeves, shovels in hand, and hit the streets of Dignowity Hill to plant trees, since many of our neighbors are elderly or busy professionals that may not have the time, resources, or strength to plant them themselves. In addition to the trees, we provided watering bags to simplify maintenance as well as information on the CPS Greenshade rebate program.
Native, drought-tolerant shade trees—including Chinkapin Oak, Mexican White Oak and Mexican Olive trees—were selected for their long lifespans, and therefore greater impact, on the health of the environment and community. These trees capture as much as forty-eight pounds of carbon dioxide per year and can sequester one ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches forty years old.  That means that these thirty trees, at maturity, could sequester as much as thirty tons of carbon dioxide.
For Dignowity homeowners Paulette and Sean Clay, the trees they received have an even greater significance. “These trees will be here long after we’re gone. These trees will endure droughts, floods, high winds. They will provide protection, oxygen, and shade. They will have endured so much. These trees will be here long after Sean and I are gone. The people here may come and go but the trees will remain,” said Paulette Clay.
The energy and excitement of our 1st Annual Tree Donation was palpable—not only from ourselves but from the residents who had responded positively in outreach efforts leading up the event. It was very rewarding to have been knee-deep in soil and simply talking to our neighbors. Overland plans to continue this tradition each year in support of community and the environment, donating the number of trees equivalent to our years as a firm. We will identify local neighborhoods in need of trees, where they’ll have the biggest impact, and next year will plant thirty-one trees, thirty-two the following, and so on. We are deeply committed to see this project grow as a way of living out our mission at home.
 Tree Facts. North Carolina State University website