CGGVeritas Company Picnic

When CGGVeritas approached Kat Creech Events to plan their company picnic, we immediately saw an opportunity to try to bring some sustainability aspects to the event. Picnics are typically considered disposable events, and they tend to leave a large carbon foot print. With any event, our goal is to find ways to bring some elements of sustainability through recycling or using local foods.  Little did we know that when we presented these ideas to the client and vendors, that they all would embrace it 100%, and the event would conclude with zero waste.

Through collaboration, two goals were outlined.  One was for the guests to have a great time with lots to do, and the other was to try to leave as low a carbon footprint as possible. The most important aspect of the second goal is to work with vendors that have the passion to want to do something different, research alternatives, and are willing to see the event through to the end.  This last item is vital because as you near the end of an event that your guests have enjoyed, all you want to do is clean up as fast as possible, find the celebratory glass of vino, and your nearest bed.  Using this recipe we brought together an incredible team to execute an incredibly enjoyable event for CGGVeritas

Our first amazing ingredient was City View Catering. I cannot express the level of passion Executive Director Scott Niemeyer of City View Catering brought to this event.  He loves working with Kat Creech Events because I always throw him something a little more interesting than the last event, and he is always curious to see what the next one will hold.  I love working with Scott because he always takes the challenges, researches, provides menu proposals that push the client’s expectations, is always within budget, and executes flawlessly.  This event was no exception.

He came up with a way to enjoy ice cream at a picnic in August without it melting (soft serve ice cream was the answer), and created a menu with a light flare and all natural ingredients.  The menu broke out of the traditional picnic foods with a made to order peanut butter sandwich station, which delighted the children, tomato gazpacho, ceviche, and assorted sandwiches like roast beef gorgonzola to tempt the adults.

Everyone enjoyed a lemonade stand and spritzer station that included the flavors of blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, mango, and many others, all made from natural ingredients.  For those adults that needed a little kick, Texas Tito’s Vodka was added as an accompaniment.

If you were lucky enough to take the hay ride down to the meadow, ice cold Texas watermelon welcomed you.  The efforts towards sustainability were continued by a little extra effort from the staff to ensure items were placed in the correct recycling bins, and providing disposable items made from rice and corn, which will decompose within 12 months (including the trash bags used to collect these items).  Thinking differently doesn’t have to break the bank.

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The second ingredient was the venue selection.  When researching the venue, the client decided that they wanted a non-profit as a way to “give back”.

The Houston Arboretum and Nature Center was the perfect venue as it is considered the “coolest” spot in the city, and when hosting a picnic in the middle of August, shade and keeping cool was vital.  In addition, the team at the arboretum had the resources and the passion to continue the clean up efforts at the conclusion. A little extra effort that makes a huge impact.  Finally, with educational programs and games already in place, the foundation was set to ensure that our goals were on track to being completed.

A fun twist on carnival games, such as flower ring toss, flower pot decorating, live owl and snake exhibits, a playground which included a zip line, and a nature scavenger hike were just some of the fun items the guests were able to enjoy.

Another example of selecting the correct vendors for a client’s event is their willingness to alter even some of their existing practices. The Arboretum team typically has an animal mask making activity for the children that uses foam masks.  They were able to replace the foam with paper to ensure they were recyclable.

These two players assisted in making sure about 75 gallons of food preparation and disposables were compostable and 165 gallons of water bottles and cans were recycled. The hairs on my arms just stand up whenever I think about this mission.

Centerpieces were created by Enjoy Events. Simple garden plants wrapped in burlap for the guests to take home, plant and enjoy.  Another effort that is priceless.  The centerpieces sat on a brown fortuny linen from Elegant Beginnings emulating the bark of a tree and a green ribbon pintuck linen from Over The Top Linen representing the green foliage of the surrounding environment.

The brochure, which included the event details and a map, was created by the CCGVeritas graphics team.  Signage directing guests over the vast arboretum footprint carried the graphic throughout the entire space.

A little seasoning was added to this recipe and included the Houston Face Painting team, Bootsie the Clown, the one and only Joe with Impressive Events who can do one heck of a conga line, strolling magician John Star, Aztec Events and Tents, and the remarkable Laura Corley Burlton with D.Jones Photography.

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