FirstEnergy Celebrates National Pollinator Week 2020
FirstEnergy is once again celebrating National Pollinator Week (June 22-28) in conjunction with Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI) Power-in-Pollinators Initiative. We are joining more than 20 other electric companies in sharing information about how our industry – as well as customers and employees – can protect pollinator species through our social media posts, feature stories and virtual events.
“Supporting pollinators is not new to FirstEnergy because our vegetation management practices are leading the way in helping pollinators prosper,” said Rebecca Spach, director of vegetation management at FirstEnergy. “National Pollinator Week is always a fun way to educate the public and let them know how they can help, too.”
As more areas across the United States are developed, the electric utility industry is positioned to create habitats along transmission corridors that benefit a new generation of pollinators. Pollinators thrive in the open areas along transmission rights-of-way because they can find food, nectar and cover to nest that is unavailable in the deep woods.
With this in mind, FirstEnergy employs integrated vegetation management practices along approximately 24,500 miles of transmission lines to promote and protect pollinators. By replacing incompatible vegetation that could contact power lines with low-growing shrubs and wildflowers, the company is establishing habitats where pollinators can flourish – all while keeping the lights on for customers.
Pollinator Fun for Employees and Families
FirstEnergy employees and their families have also been encouraged to participate in the pollinator fun!
Children of FirstEnergy employees channeled their inner artist over recent weeks for a chance to win the company’s Pollinator Week Art Contest and advance to EPRI’s national contest in September. FirstEnergy employees will be able to view and vote on the entries during pollinator week.
Kids between the ages of 5 and 17 were encouraged to submit original artwork featuring a pollinator of their choice. Entries included a variety of paintings, drawings and photographs of pollinators like birds, bats, bees, butterflies and other animals. Participants were divided into three different age groups, K-4th grade, 5th-8th grade and 9th-12th grade, with one winner being announced per group at the end of the week.
The three FirstEnergy winners will be submitted to EPRI for its national pollinator calendar contest in the fall. Winners of the national contest will win a $100 gift card and be featured in EPRI’s 2021 Power-in-Pollinators Calendar.
FirstEnergy also introduced a companywide initiative in 2020 to create and maintain pollinator gardens across FirstEnergy locations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and West Virginia. In April, nearly 150 employees in five states participated in a “gardening 101” webinar, presented by the company’s corporate responsibility team and EPRI, to keep employees engaged in the initiative, while also arming them with tips and tricks to start their gardens at home.
Using the information gathered from the webinar, employees will plant pollinator gardens at FirstEnergy locations. Once grown, nectar-rich plants such as sunflowers, lavenders and coneflowers will attract pollinators like butterflies and bees.
Bee a Pollinator Supporter
For more information on pollinators and how you can bee a pollinator advocate, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and follow the #PollinatorWeek and #PowerInPollinators hashtags on Twitter for National Pollinator Week coverage and pollinator info and tips.
CONTACT: Lauren Siburkis (330) 203-8850