What do peregrine falcons, eastern bluebirds and southern leopard frogs have to do with westslope cutthroat trout, gopher tortoises and bobcats? To Koch Industries, everything.
These animals all inhabit the 13 different Koch sites certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council for successful habitat conservation and education programs. Led by 200 employee volunteers, these initiatives are important to the preservation of ecosystems adjacent to company facilities, and many act as outdoor classrooms for hundreds of children each year.
At its 2015 annual conference, the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) recognized the achievements of these programs by awarding Koch the Conservation Education Award. This is the first time Koch has received this prestigious award.
The Conservation Education Award recognizes Koch’s history of excellence in conservation and education outreach across its entire organization. In a sense, it’s business as usual, as Koch has partnered with the WHC for the last 15 years.
“We are honored to receive this recognition and extremely proud of the success that our employee-led conservation programs have achieved over many years,” said Sheryl Corrigan, director of environmental, health and safety with Koch. “Supporting our employees’ ongoing efforts at the local level demonstrates a shared commitment to caring for the environment.”
Employees at Flint Hills Resources, Georgia-Pacific, INVISTA and Matador Cattle Company – all Koch companies – in nine states, manage approximately 311,000 total combined acres of diverse habitat areas, from woodlands to prairie grasses and wetlands to rangelands. And their respective conservation and education programs are as varied as the wildlife they support.
In Green Bay, Wisconsin, Georgia-Pacific is helping the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin and the Midwest Peregrine Society bolster bird numbers near its mill. Matador’s Beaverhead Ranch west of Yellowstone National Park is working to promote healthy habitats for trout, deer, antelope, elk and moose. Meanwhile, Flint Hills Resources in Rosemount, Minnesota, is restoring and preserving the native prairie vegetation important to resident and migrating birds.
On the education front, INVISTA’s collaboration with the Victoria Independent School District in Victoria, Texas, established the Wetlands Environmental Science Education Encounter program at the site’s 55-acre constructed wetland. This program has provided environmental science education to more than 25,000 fourth-grade through college-age students since 2007. And, at Georgia-Pacific’s Leaf River Cellulose site in New Augusta, Mississippi, local elementary students are taught about river ecology through the annual Discovery Day program in partnership with the University of Southern Mississippi. More than 2,000 students have participated in the program in recent years.
In addition to receiving the Conservation Education Award, four of Koch’s sites were re-certified by the WHC, while a fifth site in Cedar Springs, Georgia, was certified for the first time through the council’s Corporate Wildlife Habitat Certification Program.
Learn more about the Wildlife Habitat Council
Find out more about our commitment to the Victoria, Texas, wetlands.