Community Pollinator Gardens Create Food and Habitat for Wildlife
Watch a video of FirstEnergy employees planting company-donated gardens
AKRON, Ohio, Oct. 30, 2023 -- This fall, FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) employee volunteers are donating their time and company resources to plant community pollinator gardens across the company's six-state service area, transforming unused areas into new green spaces while creating food and habitat for insects and small animals that pollinate plants.
View and download photos of FirstEnergy employees planting pollinator gardens on the company's Flickr page.
FirstEnergy's 10 Green Teams – made up of employees who volunteer their time and talents to support a wide variety of environmental initiatives – are planting gardens filled with nectar- and pollen-rich flowers ranging in various shapes, sizes and colors at multiple locations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia and Maryland. The community pollinator garden initiative is aligned with FirstEnergy's commitment to environmental stewardship and its separate goal of developing 225 acres of pollinator habitat in its transmission rights of way and other company properties.
Jessica Shaffer, advanced scientist at FirstEnergy and Green Team leader: "This initiative allows our Green Teams to work with local community organizations to plant pollinator-friendly gardens that will make a positive environmental impact and help beautify the communities where our employees live and work."
Insects and small animals that pollinate plants such as birds, bats, bees, butterflies and beetles help to sustain ecosystems. By helping plants reproduce, they play a vital role in producing natural resources such as fruits and vegetables, preventing soil erosion and increasing carbon sequestration. Many pollinator populations are in decline due to a loss in feeding and nesting habitats, according to Pollinator Partnership, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems.
Among the projects recently completed and planned in the future include:
- FirstEnergy's Green Team members in northeast Ohio planted multiple pollinator gardens in the Youngstown area, including at a local school and church, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Youngstown's "Operation Pollination" initiative.
- FirstEnergy's Ohio Green Team members in northwest Ohio planted a pollinator garden at Middlegrounds Metropark in downtown Toledo, Ohio, in October.
- FirstEnergy's Pennsylvania Green Team planted a pollinator garden at the Rostraver Public Library in Westmoreland County, part of West Penn Power's service area, in September.
- FirstEnergy's Green Team members in West Virginia will plant a pollinator garden in Fairmont at the Fairmont Community Youth Development Center, which serves school-aged children and underserved families in need.
- The West Virginia Green Team will also plant a pollinator garden at HOPE Inc., a nonprofit that offers shelter and confidential supportive services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and their families.
In addition to the pollinator gardens, FirstEnergy's Green Teams support a wide variety of environmental initiatives, including tree donation and planting events and sponsoring fishing line recycling bins at local parks and waterways.
Supporting pollinators is not new to FirstEnergy. 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 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.
For more information on FirstEnergy's environmental and corporate responsibility efforts, visit www.fecorporateresponsibility.com.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
News Media Contact: Will Boye, (301) 790-6420 or Investor Contact: Irene Prezelj, (330) 384-3859