New York Times contributor blogs about cars and other interesting ways of getting around.
7 wildlife havens created by industry
Nearly a whole floor of the Bridgestone plant is devoted to classrooms for the 13,000 students who visit annually. (Photo: Bridgestone)
- At General Motors’ former Saturn plant in Tennessee (which now makes the Chevrolet Equinox) some 990 acres are available to wildlife, and 235 acres are “actively managed.” Six employees and volunteers maintain the habitat, which includes active farmlands, open fields and biologically diverse creeks with 30 species of fish (including two native darters). Team members also plant native trees, including red maples, hawthorns and redbuds, and establish micro-wetlands.
- At Toyota’s plant in Gibson County, Indiana, encompassing more than 1,100 acres, 180 acres are deeded to wildlife. Fifteen native tree species were planted, and 83,000 seedlings have gone in the ground (with an 85 percent survival rate). Future plans include a native pollinator garden and prairie grassland.
- At Roanoke Cement Company in Troutville, Va., the Corporate Lands for Learning Program centers on pollinator habitat, where employees and their families prune the apple trees, build viewing platforms for the trout pond, and attend meetings of the Botetourt Beekeepers Association. Trout Unlimited makes classroom visits and talks about the fish’s lifecycle.
- ITC Holdings, the big electricity transmission company in Michigan and Iowa, encourages wildlife habitat in its power line conservation corridors. In its Wildlife at Work program, it focuses on removing invasive woody and herbaceous species, and re-establishing native plants. At the Sand Point Nature Preserve on Michigan’s Saginaw Bay, for instance, it removed vegetation blocking preserve trails, created brush piles to encourage animal habitat, and installed six wood duck boxes to encourage a declining population. At its Iowa City warehouse, it built an 840-square-foot native plant garden to catch roof runoff.
- Waste Management’s High Acres Landfill in Fairport, N.Y., has partnered with Rochester Institute of Technology to add four new sites for monitoring threatened marsh birds. Students conducted a migratory avian productivity study, which identified habitat locations, set up nets to catch birds, and then examined their reproductive health before releasing them. Another study identified breeding birds that were nesting on the site. Graduate students are studying invasive vegetation there, and installing native food plants to encourage wildlife.
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