Summer is the season for perks




By Katie Johnston, Globe Staff
excerpt

Planet Subaru in Hanover doesn't have water access, but it does have a new half-mile walking trail that winds through wetlands and wildflowers and stands of tall trees. Service specialist Mark Negron, a nature and wellness enthusiast who has built mountain bike trails, came up with the idea, and after the owners signed off on creating a quiet place for employees on the 11-acre property, he spent months hacking away at dense greenbrier vines, on his own time.

Last year, the dealership funded a release of 50 bobwhite quail around the trail, and another 250 will be released there this summer - an effort both to help restore the number of quail in the state and to reduce the population of ticks, which the birds eat.

Planet Subaru also put up $11,000 to start a food forest near the trail, a self-sustaining edible garden based on woodland ecosystems that is an official site of the Boston Food Forest Coalition. In October, the company hired a contractor to plant nearly 50 persimmon, pear, peach, and apple trees, and dozens of blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry bushes. More trees and berry bushes are planned on the half-acre plot, along with kale, spinach, and other vegetables. Employees will have first dibs on the produce.

Now that the bulk of the work is finished on Ruby Trail, named for Negron's 5-year-old daughter, more employees, and customers, have started venturing out on it.

"You can't even believe . . . you're in the middle of a dealership [on the trail]. All you can hear is the wind going through the pines, and you hear the birds."



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