Google staffers help burrowing owls for new volunteer campaign

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (KTVU) -- Wednesday is Earth Day and Silicon Valley tech giant Google is doing its part to save the environment as part of a campaign called "One Billion Acts of Peace."

On Monday, dozens of Google employees spent their work day at nearby Shoreline Park in Mountain View. While the sign said "Keep Out," they were in the habitat restoration to help protect the endangered burrowing owls.

Last year, two owls died after a bottle from a golf cart was shoved into a burrow. Now only nine owls are left there.

"[If there are] no burrowing animals anymore, then all we have left is Google images of them," said Google employee Jay Castro. "So we do whatever we can to preserve them is important."

It's an Earth Day project led by Rigoberta Menchu. The Mayan Indian leader was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for promoting indigenous rights in her native country of Guatemala.

She's one of 13 Nobel Peace laureates heading up "One Billion Acts of Peace." It's a global movement to encourage everyday people to do good.

"I am Mayan," said Menchu. "In my heritage, we the Mayan know very well that without taking care of the Earth we cannot prosper."

The volunteers cut down plants and created large piles of brush to attract rodents and insects, so the burrowing animals can come and thrive.

"I think all companies not just tech companies, all companies should try to do good in the world because business is about service," said Chade-Meng Tan, who is Google's Jolly Good Fellow. "You make bread. We plant rice. We deliver services. It's all about serving humanity."

"I think it's the small things that matter," said Castro. "Small things here and small things there. If all four of us here can do one thing a day, then that leads to something much greater."