IBM and Earthwatch Team Up to Tackle Sustainability in Chicago

An amazing experience to help in providing a long term Sustainability for Green Infrastructure. Thanks to Earthwatch for hosting the program and bring the NGO’s together to work with.


For the month of August, 14 IBM employees from around the world assembled in Chicago as part of the company’s Corporate Service Corps (CSC). The program has sent teams of the company’s most talented employees to countries around the world to provide pro bono counsel to local governments, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses that are grappling with issues that intersect business, technology, and society. Since its launch in 2008, the program has sent nearly 4,000 participants on 320 teams to 40 countries to work on over 1,300 projects.

IBM partnered with Earthwatch to find Chicago nonprofits that aligned with the Earthwatch mission: to engage people worldwide in science and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment, with a focus on urban sustainability.

The majority of the global population lives in cities, and increased migration to these areas is projected to continue. Aside from the impacts…

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Adopt a beach

For more than 25 years Alliance for the Great Lakes have been working on Adopt-a-Beach, where volunteers have worked to keep Great Lakes shorelines healthy, safe, and beautiful.

Today we Adopted Layolo Beach and worked together to clean the beach to protect the Lake.

More than 22 million pounds of plastic pollution end up in the Great Lakes every year. And, it never really goes away. Instead, it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces known as “microplastics.”

Researchers have found stunningly high amounts of tiny plastic pieces in all five Great Lakes, which provide drinking water for 40 million people. They’ve found microscopic pieces of plastic in drinking water.

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Adopt a beach

Time to Adopt-a-Beach

“Try to leave the Earth a better place than when you arrived.”

Citizen scientist

Being citizen scientist was exciting. We got to learn more about surface temperature and measure different surface temperature.



The team of 14 was split in pairs to different parts of the city to measure surface temperature, using equipment’s and Apps (GLOBE Observer and My GPS Coordinates).

Once you upload the data we can see the inputs on the map immediately.

The Globe Program

“The importance thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.”


Opening ceremony

The day we have been waiting for has finally arrived. The kick-off ceremony to inaugurate the 1st CSC team in USA.

A welcome speech by Kateland Beals (IBM Corporate Citizenship Manager) and Duffy Gaynor (IBM Senior Location Executive) along with Gitte Venicx (Earthwatch Director of Strategy Parthnership), which was inspiring and exciting to start the journey.

Followed by Jerry Adelman (Openlands President and CEO) who spoke about the amazing history and architecture of Chicago.

We also got to meet the CSC alumni member which was fantastic. They shared their CSC experience, also spoke about how they are still connected and close to teams.



Now it was time to meet the NGO’s we are assigned with, to collaborate and work with for the next 4 weeks.



“The journey of a thousand miles begin with one step”

Cultural Rendezvous

It was time to get to know the team better and the different cultures they come from.

Fun facts about each other, games, gifts, food, dance and a lot of laughter to bring us all closer together.

14 gifts from 12 different countries 🙂


Team in traditional attire

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“The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people”

A Dream Come True

The journey began with the most exciting email from Jamie S. McDonald stating “Congratulations!! – You have been invited to join the USA 1 – Chicago CSC Team”.

Over the past 10 years, the Corporate Service Corps (CSC) has sent nearly 4000 employees from more than 60 countries to complete 1300+ projects in 40 countries around the world. In 2018, the CSC had added the Czech Republic, Hungary, Australia, Canada and the United States to the countries we visit. The CSC is one way IBMers can have a positive impact on the world.

CSC is a triple benefit – Communities have their problems solved. – IBMers receive leadership training and development. – IBM develops new markets and global leaders.

Our pre-work began from June where we started getting to know the team. Undergoing various training modules about Team Collaboration, Culture, Consulting Skills, Design Think, Media and Communication.

I am excited to meet CSC USA 1 Family 🙂

Family Tree

“Where there is no vision people perish”