In 1988, a group of corporations, conservation groups and individuals formed a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring and enhancing wildlife habitats. Eventually, the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) would be the first to bring environmentally conscious corporations and conservation projects/programs together.
The WHC’s efforts are centered on two core programs, Wildlife at Work and Corporate Lands for Learning. Wildlife at Work encourages companies to pursue conservation projects specifically tailored to their unique sites. Corporate Lands for Learning focuses on community-education opportunities provided via wildlife sites.
Marathon Pipe Line LLC (MPL) currently has six areas with active WHC programs. Each area has an individual plan and team, but the focus is the same: improve the local ecology and gain a better understanding of the natural world. Below are highlights of the WHC initiatives at MPL facilities:
Accredited as aWildlife at Work site in 1999 and as a Corporate Lands for Learning site in 2008, MPL’s Martinsville area has established an outreach program to bring in students from local schools to learn about different types of habitats.
A pollinator garden has been established at the entrance to the facility, and employees have pursued a variety of conservation efforts for local fauna, such as quail and turkey, by encouraging the development of food plots in the area. Employees are also well established in the Eastern Illinois Bluebird Society to help maintain and support the local bluebird population.
Receiving Wildlife at Work certification in 2001, MPL’s Owensboro area also has a long association with the WHC. One of the area’s earliest activities was a joint effort with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife in a project to restore and rehabilitate a local prairie. Lately, MPL’s Owensboro area has focused on the main office and tank farm. The site earned an additional certification this year with a new pollinator garden at the front office to welcome employees and guests. A rehabilitation project along the fenceline is also in the works.
MPL’s Heath area earned a Wildlife at Work site certification in the summer of 2014. Given the variety of terrain – upland prairie to wetland – and local waterway connectivity, a wide variety of avian species frequent the area. The Heath area team enlisted the help of a local Boy Scout troop to construct 15 nesting sites in 17 birdhouses. Because of the success of this program, the Heath area is looking for more ways to engage other community youth groups in future projects.
MPL’s Stoy area is in the process of applying for a Wildlife at Work certification. In 2012, they planted red cedar trees. In 2013, they teamed up with the Lawrenceville Boy Scouts for the second phase of the project – planting 46 trees ranging from apple, black cherry and crabapple to paw-paw, pecan, persimmon and plum. The Scouts also helped place fencing around the trees for protection from animals. The collaboration provided the employees at the Stoy area office with some extra help, and the Scouts received merit badges and pizza. In future years, this location has plans to install a pollinator garden and create a prairie area.
MPL’s Clermont area has a goal to re-establish a stable, native ecosystem nestled between a hardwood forest and cropland. The area has great potential as a transitional zone to help lure more exotic fauna. The employees will restore a stable habitat for birds and other native species through intensive habitat reorganization, as well as seeding and planting. The team also has plans to install birdhouses in the area to help encourage growth in the new foraging terrain.
For the last few years, technicians at MPL’s Garyville area noticed an increased turtle population in their local pond. When it got to the point that the wood ducks (for which the facility had placed three boxes) were being affected, something had to be done. Finding a goal was not difficult; increase water structure and pond diversity to attract a broader array of animals, such as crawfish and other invertebrates, to improve the wood duck mortality rates.
Employees at the Garyville area office would also like to remove an invasive tree species and begin assessing the different types of wildlife that occasionally pass through the area.
At Marathon Pipe Line LLC, employees are focused on sustainability and supporting the local ecology in all of the areas in which we operate. It is through these ecology programs that we can build mutually beneficial relationships with our surrounding communities and government agencies that support us.
MPL’s goal is to create a group of sustainability-conscious citizens who practice these habits, both at work and at home.