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AEP employees get involved in community environmental activities

by on May 2, 2012
Above, Cook’s Kelly McElroy and Blair Zordell help students from Ballard Elementary in Niles prepare the ground for tree planting for Earth Day.

AEP employees participated in a number of Earth Day and environment-oriented community events recently. Not all of these activities are specifically tied to Earth Day (April 22) — some are related to ongoing community involvement and public education programs that extend for more than just one day. 

Cook Plant provides trees for school spruce-up project

BRIDGMAN, Mich. — For the past 12 years, D.C. Cook Nuclear Plant has donated trees to a variety of schools throughout Berrien County in celebration of Earth Day.

Indiana Michigan Power’s Cook Nuclear Plant last week partnered with Second Nature Gardens, of St. Joseph, to donate four hemlock trees to Ballard Elementary School in Niles, Mich. A few tons of landscaping rocks and three large boulders were also donated by other area businesses to help improve the aesthetics of the school.

Parents and staff worked to remove old bushes that used to be in front of the building, making way for new trees, boulders and bushes.

On the Thursday prior to Earth Day, hundreds of students, along with Cook plant employees, worked in shifts to help plant the trees and apply the landscaping rocks.

— Dave Lefor

Young and old alike turned out to pick up a free tree to add to the urban forest in South Bend.

I&M partners with South Bend for tree giveaway

SOUTH BEND — Indiana Michigan Power partnered with the City of South Bend for their third annual tree giveaway on April 21 in South Bend’s Howard Park. I&M and the city gave away 330 free 4-to-7 feet tall bare root trees.

A variety of trees were provided, including Eastern Redbud, Tatarian Maple, Canada Red Cherry, Donald Wyman Crabapple, Prairifire Crabapple and Ivory Silk Japanese Lilac.

The event was planned to coincide with the city’s Earth Day celebration. By giving away th elow-growth trees, I(&M reinforced the importance of planting the right tree in the right place.

“These are the kinds of trees that will never grow large enough to interfere with overhead lines and compromise reliability,” said I&M Forestry Supervisor Scott Bennett. “It’s a great way to get our message across about where to plant trees, and it’s a great way to build goodwill in the community.”

Volunteers from I&M and the City of South Bend worked together to hand out all 330 trees within two and a half hours. This is the 25th Annual Earth Day celebration and the City of South Bend’s 15th year as a certified Tree City USA.

— Marta Elliott

Left to right: Gary Powell, contract lineman; Robbie Corbett, working foreman, and Ray Vasconcellos, journeyman lineman, unload furniture donated to the Boys and Girls Club.

Photo by: Harolynn Wofford

PSO sees opportunity to help group with reuse of office furniture

TULSA — Public Service Company of Oklahoma recently donated office furniture it had replaced with new furniture to the Boys and Girls Club building in Hugo, which recently underwent renovation.

PSO’s Hugo line crew delivered the tables and chairs donated by PSO to the newly renovated Boys and Girls Club building in Hugo.

Harolynn Wofford, Community Affairs manager-McAlester District South, who serves on the organization’s board, had the idea to make the donation after the PSO office received new furniture for its Hugo meeting room.

Dozens of customers gather to pick up tree saplings at the Hazard Service Center Saturday. Customers had a choice of three low-growth, native tree types: paw paws, rough leaf dogwoods and flowering dogwoods. The trees were distributed as part of Kentucky Power’s annual “Right Tree, Right Place” event.

Kentucky Power gives away 4,100 free saplings to customers

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The coming days may be busy for some of the hundreds of people who picked up tree saplings from Kentucky Power Saturday, April 28, particularly if they plant all of the 4,100 saplings distributed. The trees were distributed from the company’s service centers in Ashland, Hazard and Pikeville as well as the Big Sandy Plant near Louisa. This was the seventh straight spring the company has distributed trees.

“Distributing trees around Arbor Day and Earth Day has become somewhat of a tradition at Kentucky Power,” said Ronn Robinson, communication manager. “We started the ‘Right Tree, Right Place’ program as an environmental outreach event, but it actually has a dual purpose,” he said.

“Not only does it aid the environment, it also assists the power company. All the varieties we give away are low growth varieties. So, when the customers plant them on their property, they are less likely to interfere with overhead power lines or other electrical equipment,” Robinson said.

Not only are the trees low-growth varieties, they are also all native species to Kentucky. The trees are raised and purchased from a state-run tree farm near West Liberty, the community recently devastated by spring tornadoes.

“Due to the damage caused at the tree farm by the tornadoes, we feared we might not have a tree program this year,” Robinson said. “Fortunately we were able to work with the state to substitute some varieties and the Forestry Division was able to secure some extra saplings from a sister state tree farm in western Kentucky. So, not even tornadoes could stop us from carrying on the tradition.” 

— Ronn Robinson

AEP Texas recognized as Tree Line USA utility

AEP Texas has been cited by the Arbor Day Foundation as a 2012 Tree Line USA utility for its commitment to proper tree pruning, planting and care within its 97,000-square-mile service area. AEP Texas Forester Grant Ehlen said the company works hand-in-hand with its communities to promote proper tree trimming practices as well as planting the right trees in the right place. He added that some communities served by AEP Texas have applied to be a Tree City USA.

AEP Texas achieved the Tree Line USA designation by meeting five program standards. Utilities must follow industry standards for quality tree care; provide annual worker training in best tree-care practices; sponsor a tree-planting and public education program; maintain a tree-based energy conservation program; and participate in an Arbor Day celebration.

— Andy Heines

AEP Ohio Home Energy Savings Tour gets around

The AEP Ohio Home Energy Savings Tour has been active this spring in many Ohio communities. The display shows customers ways to save money and reduce energy consumption. In addition to energy efficiency tips, the exhibits showcase AEP Ohio’s consumer programs including the SMART Lighting Program and the Appliance Recycling Program.

The exhibit has attended the Central Ohio Home & Garden Show (Feb. 25-March 4, Ohio Expo Center in Columbus); ECO-BIA Spring Home & Garden Show (March 8-11); Stark County Home & Garden Show (March 16-18, Canton); Athens County Home & Garden Show (March 24-25, Athens); Southern Ohio Home & Garden Show (March 24-25, Chillicothe); Findlay Home & Garden Show (March 30-April 1); Muskingum County Home & Garden Show (April 13-14, Zanesville); Women’s Expo at the Aladdin Shrine Center (April 14-15, Columbus) and the Wayne County Home & Garden Show (April 28-29, Wooster). Upcoming appearances will be at COSI and the MORPC Clean Air Event in Columbus in May.

— Shelly Clark

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