Dead wood, new roots: garden creativity in Austin

About Vivek Wagle

Last Saturday was Airbnb’s inaugural Volunteer Day.

Among the committed teams around the nation was a gallant troupe of nine hosts and travelers in Austin, Texas. Little did they know how symbolic their day would end up being.

Austin has the reputation of being Texas’ offbeat capital of creativity. Home to a thriving arts community and the infamous South-by-Southwest festival, Austin thrives on fresh ideas.

As the Airbnb volunteer crew arrived at Zilker Botanical Garden, they began to realize that their day would mirror the creative process that lets Austin flourish.

The group started the day clearing out unwanted dead trees and foliage left over from the hot summer. The old trees cluttered the gardens, preventing fresh growth. Their roots ran deep, anchoring them firmly and obstructing access to the soil’s nutrients. Just like old, stale ideas and preconceptions, this dead wood stopped new life from flourishing.

The only answer was to work as a team. Under firm direction from the groundskeeper, the Austin crew hacked away the old trees.

That’s when things got fun. Once the skeletons of the dead trees were gone, the grounds could take new life. The team banded together to plant Mexican buckeyes, pecans, and laurels – ensuring that the garden would blossom again.

The gang loved the project. In planting trees, they felt that they were symbolically laying the foundation for successful Volunteer Days stretching well into the future. Their teamwork and creativity would bring joy and beauty to any visitor.

The team pledged to return to the garden next year to check on the progress of their trees, reflect on what they’ve created and learned, and renew their friendships.

Want to join them? They’d love it.

Stay creative. Always.



About Vivek Wagle

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  1. Tom Huff

    ‘I was delighted and then disgusted by learning about Airbnb on the end of year travel news. It is incredible to me that Airbnb has not reconciled the damage to one of thier hosts, from a problem that arised in the summer 2011. I have a significant family travel budget, but I can not possibly work with a company that was not there to help one their hosts. Then even went so far as too ask the host to take down their blog!!! What about JUST DOING THE RIGHT THING!!! At this point my knowledge is that THERE IS NOTHING THAT AIRBNB could ever do to restore trust. Firing EVERYONE and closing down is not enough. sincerely Thomas Huff

  2. Vivek Wagle

    Hi Tom. We’re very sorry you feel this way. As our CEO <a href="">Brian explained in a post on trust and safety</a> earlier this year, we made a mistake in not addressing the situation immediately. However, we acknowledged that we were wrong and moved quickly to make things right with the affected host. Any report you have claiming that we did not help our customers is out of date. The safety and well being of our users is our highest priority.