American Transmission Co.

Helping to keep the lights on, businesses running and communities strong®

Blog | American Transmission Co. - Part 4

ATC commits $150,000 to pandemic-related relief causes

American Transmission Co. is powering through these trying times by helping to keep the lights on, businesses running and communities strong.

For communities we serve, ATC is supporting organizations and causes that are lending a hand to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have committed $150,000 to organizations in our service area for COVID-related causes.

Already this year, we have donated $75,000 to the following organizations:

  • Aging & Disability Resource Center of Brown County
  • American Red Cross Wisconsin Region
  • Boys & Girls Club of Dane County
  • Brown County United Way
  • Cristo Rey Emergency Fund
  • Dane County Boys & Girls Club
  • Dickinson Iron Community Services Agency
  • Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin
  • Girls Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes
  • Hunger Task Force
  • Manistique Area Schools
  • Milwaukee County Senior Meals
  • Paul’s Pantry
  • Sault Ste. Marie Area Public Schools
  • Second Harvest Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin
  • SSM Health at Home Foundation of Wisconsin
  • Ignace Area Hope Food Pantry
  • Vincent de Paul of Iron Mountain Food Pantry
  • United Way of Dane County
  • United Way of Dickinson County
  • United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County
  • USO Wisconsin
  • Waukesha County Meals on Wheels

If you have a donation request for ATC to consider, please click here to submit information for us to review. We will consider opportunities in ATC’s service areas in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan that are helping our community members weather this storm.

Village of Rochester starts arboretum with support from ATC

The Village of Rochester recently planted 11 trees thanks to a $2,000 grant from American Transmission Co.’s Community Planting Program. The trees, a mix of birch, oak, honey locust and cypress, were planted near the village hall and public library.

“Many of the trees in our village are nearing the end of their lifecycle,” said Director of Public Works Christopher Birkett. “With this grant from ATC, we’re able to start a small arboretum to help diversify our local tree population, along with providing shade and additional natural beauty in our community.”

The trees were planted by a small community leadership team comprised of Birkett, Village President Ed Chart, Village Trustees Christopher Bennett and Leslie Kinsey, and Village Parks Subcommittee Chairman John Monsen. Rochester has a population of over 3,500 people and is located in Western Racine County, between Burlington and Waterford, Wis.

ATC’s Community Planting Program enables us to encourage and support communities to plant trees and vegetation that beautify the landscape in a way that doesn’t compromise the safety and reliability of the electric transmission system. The Program provides financial support to eligible cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes in ATC’s service area for planting projects on public property, outside transmission line rights-of-way. Program funds can be used to plant trees and other tall-growing vegetation outside the transmission line rights-of-way. Since 2013, ATC has awarded approximately 240 communities and organizations with funds totaling more than $425,000.

ATC accepts applications from July 1 through Sept. 30, and award recipients are selected and notified by the end of the year. Awards range from $100 to $5,000. Additional information and program applications can be found at atc-GrowSmart.com.

Go native during national gardening week

Happy National Gardening Week. ATC encourages you to get your hands dirty  and plant some pollinator-friendly plants this week!

What exactly are pollinator-friendly plants? They can be flowering plants, trees and shrubs that provide nutrient-rich nectar or serve as host plants for caterpillars. Native plants, however, are the most important ones since pollinators co-evolved with native plants. With native pollinator populations in decline, you can help by planting a few native pollinator-friendly plants in your yard.

If you want to plant for pollinators, think in threes.

  1. Plant a minimum of 3 varieties of flowering plants to ensure you attract several pollinator species. Common spiderwort is a favorite of bees, while the Turk’s cap lily is favored by hummingbirds and butterflies. Attractive to bees, butterflies and birds are columbine, coneflowers, blazing stars and lupine.
  2. Aim for blooms across 3 seasons – spring, summer and fall. Be sure to include milkweed for summer as monarch butterflies only lay their eggs on their leaves. Butterfly weed with its bright orange flowers, is a great choice.
  3. Use at least 3 types of native plants in your landscape. Include flowers, woody plants (e.g., New Jersey tea) and grasses (e.g., little bluestem),to provide forage, cover and places to raise young.

For more suggestions, visit atc-GrowSmart.com. You can also view or print our Grow Smart Planting Guide or Grow Smart Pollinator Guide and bring it to your local garden center.

Celebrating national prairie day

June 6 is National Prairie Day and we’re honoring these amazing ecosystems that once covered 400,000 square miles of North America.

At one time, the North American prairies stretched from the Rocky Mountains to east of the Mississippi River, and from Saskatchewan, Canada, south into Texas. It was our continent’s largest continuous ecosystem and supported an enormous quantity of plants and animals.

According to the National Park Service, the tallgrass prairie has been reduced to less than 4% of its original area, making it one of the rarest and most endangered ecosystems in the world. And, no other ecosystem in the Midwest hosts more native pollinating insects than prairie.

With native pollinator habitat in decline, we’re glad to demonstrate our environmental commitment and do our small part with the four-acre prairie outside our Pewaukee headquarters building. A prairie may not be practical for your backyard, but you can help pollinating insects like bees and butterflies by adding just a few native prairie plants to your garden or landscaping. Wildflowers like purple coneflower, butterfly weed, and smooth blue aster will add color to your yard and provide food for bees, birds and butterflies. Prairie grasses like little bluestem and prairie dropseed can add interest to your landscaping, while also providing food and shelter for pollinators.

Need additional native plant suggestions? View or print our Grow Smart Planting Guide or Grow Smart Pollinator Guide and bring it to your local garden center.

Celebrating World Bee Day

May 20 is World Bee Day – a chance to acknowledge the role of bees on our lives and our planet. While the number of all bee populations has declined over the last few decades, it continues to be concern because of the important role bees play as pollinators.

Many species of animal – including humans – depend on bees for their survival because their food source, including nuts, berries, seeds, and fruits, relies on insect pollination. Pollination not only makes food available for other organisms but also allows floral growth, which provides habitats for animals, including other insects and birds.

Wisconsin is home to roughly 500 species of native bees. Among the biggest threat to native bees is habitat loss. In 2017, the rusty-patched bumble bee was added to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service endangered species list, after a population decline of 87% since the late 1990s. The species is likely to be present in only 0.1% of its historical range, which includes Wisconsin.

Helping Increase Pollinator Habitat

At ATC, we’re doing our part to help bees and other pollinators. We developed a first-of-its-kind Pollinator Power Model to map and identify suitable pollinator habitat (e.g., meadows, pastureland, etc.) and gaps in pollinator pathways along our over 9,890 miles of transmission lines. This enables us to strategically enhance pollinator habitat in our service territory. We also use a specially-developed pollinator seed mix as part of our new and rebuild construction efforts.

Our Pollinator Habitat Program promotes vegetation that is both compatible with our vegetation management practices and provides habitat for pollinators, which use the utility corridor as a flight path.  Since 2017, we’ve awarded approximately $45,000 to 10 entities to help them create pollinator habitats along our transmission corridor. One of those entities, the Village of Mount Pleasant, is working to improve native pollinator habitat along the Pike River Pathway where the rusty patched bumble bee has been was observed.

What You Can Do

We can all help bees and other pollinators by planting more native plants, like wild lupines, smooth blue asters and wild bergamot (also known as bee balm). In collaboration with nationally known gardening expert Melinda Myers, we developed two guides to identify vegetation that is similar to what we plant in our rights-of-way. These suggested native plants have deep root systems that will beautify your property and help attract bees, butterflies and birds. Visit atc-GrowSmart.com for resources and recommendations.