American Transmission Co.

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

Blog | American Transmission Co. - Part 8

Nesting platforms help keep birds safe

Wisconsin has always been an important area for many bird species, many of whom will soon return here to breed, build nests and raise their young.

Although some birds may find our transmission structures attractive places to perch and nest, doing so can pose risks to the safety of the birds and compromise the reliability of the electric transmission system. We identify migratory paths and areas of heavy avian use to that we can consider steps to better protect birds and minimize potential impacts on our transmission equipment.

Some of the ways we do this include:

  • Installing 200+ nesting platforms on or adjacent to our transmission structures or on poles nearby to enable eagles, herons and osprey to nest safely
  • Installing flight diverters to increase visibility of our wires and help prevent bird collisions
  • Replacing, reframing or retrofitting problematic transmission structures

Watch this video to learn more about our Avian Protection Program and how it supports our environmental commitment and the reliability of our electric transmission system.

Feed the birds – naturally

Happy National Bird Feeding Month. Did you know that bird feeding is the second most popular hobby in the United States (behind gardening)? More than 65 million Americans participate annually, according to a recent Census report.

One way to support our feathered friends without the upkeep of a bird feeder is to increase the native plants in your yard – giving birds seeds and cover in the cold winter months, and nectar in the warmer months for hummingbirds and other pollinators.

It may be cold outside, but this is a perfect time to think about adding bird, bee and butterfly-friendly plants to your garden and landscaping! View or print out our Grow Smart Pollinator Guide and bring it to your local garden center.

ATC employees join annual Neighborhood Challenge

For the third consecutive year, employees at American Transmission Co.’s De Pere office engaged in some friendly competition with neighboring businesses to help fill the shelves at Paul’s Food Pantry which serves Green Bay and its surrounding areas. January and February are historically low months for donations at the pantry, so the businesses created the event to help reduce the shortage.

ATC joined PAi, AmeriLux, M.J. Electric, WEL Companies and Advanced Disposal to gather non-perishable foods over a four-week period between Jan. 13 and Feb. 7, 2020. Each week had a different theme and suggested items: Protein Power, Pantry Staples, Rise and Shine and It’s Personal. The number of items each business collected each week were tallied and reported.

At the end of the challenge, the business donating the most items per capita received the revered Paul’s Pantry trophy. This year’s winner was WEL Companies, with a total of 11,800 items. However, the most important win is for Paul’s Pantry, who have an additional 28,697 items to help support the clients they serve.

ATC employees help students prepare for life during Junior Achievement’s Finance Park

The average teenager rarely thinks about buying health insurance, paying bills or applying for a mortgage, but those are critical life skills.

On Jan. 31, American Transmission Co. employees helped more than 100 eighth grade students from two Milwaukee middle schools understand the importance of personal finance and their personal career choices during a visit to JA Finance Park.

ATC volunteers guided groups of 5-10 students through simulated family and income scenarios and helped them create a budget, allocate expense items (e.g., mortgage payments, groceries, childcare, etc.) and make personal investments. In many scenarios, students were the sole providers for their family and had to consider how to accommodate the needs of their family without overspending.

“I like volunteering and making a positive impact on our youth,” said one ATC employee. “When you start getting to know the children, they let you in. They’ll tell you some of their hopes and dreams. It was also fun to see their shock over how much things cost.”

Mouths dropped at the cost of childcare. One student was frustrated that she couldn’t even afford to purchase an “ugly” car and would have to take public transportation. Many students found they needed to revise their budgets after quickly overspending on entertainment or clothing.

In the end, the students left with a better understanding of the importance of staying in school and getting an education in order to be financially successful as an adult.

Vice President of Audit and Risk Management Juanita Banks, who organized ATC’s participation in the event, has been involved with Junior Achievement for over four years. “ATC employees truly care about giving back to our communities. Helping students gain a better understanding of personal finance and the importance of staying in school is just another great example of our employees’ involvement in the community,” said Banks.

Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy.

Ready to GrowSmart and start planning your spring planting?

It may be cold outside, but that balmy spring planting weather will be here before we know it. Now is the perfect time to start planning your garden and landscaping projects!

If you like colorful outdoor spaces, you may want to attend “Create a Garden Filled with Flowers from Spring through Frost” presented by nationally known gardening expert Melinda Myers at the 2020 PBS Wisconsin Garden & Landscape Expo at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. Her presentation is on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 12 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 9, at 12:45 p.m.

“You don’t need a huge yard to enjoy flowers from early spring through the end of fall,” says Myers. “Just pick a few key flowers that peak at different times, design for maximum impact and enjoy the many benefits including the birds, butterflies and bees they attract. And, be sure to incorporate perennials, including some native species, with multiple seasons of interest even in fall and winter.”

Since 2014, ATC has partnered with Melinda Myers to help landowners learn about compatible vegetation near transmission lines. Trees and shrubs are an important part of the landscape. But trees, shrubs and transmission lines can be an unsafe combination. Transmission lines can sway or sag, and tall or nearby vegetation can compromise the safety and reliability of the electric transmission system. ATC’s Grow Smart program helps property owners and communities identify low-growing, beautiful, native vegetation that can be planted the smart way – a safe distance from transmission line rights-of-way.

In collaboration with Melinda Myers, we have developed two guides to identify low-growing vegetation that supports pollinator habitats and is safe to plant in our rights-of-way. These suggested plants have deep root systems that are both beautiful and help attract bees, butterflies and birds. View or print the Grow Smart Planting Guide or Grow Smart Pollinator Guide and bring it to your local garden center.