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ATC offers pollinator education/youth STEM activities to over 500 libraries in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
PEWAUKEE – American Transmission Co. wants K-12 students to Grow Smart this summer. The company — in partnership with national gardening expert and author Melinda Myers, the Wisconsin Public Library System and the Upper Peninsula Region of Library Cooperation — is offering free pollinator education and STEM activities for K-12 youth and their families, along with live gardening webinars for adults during June 2022, which is National Pollinator Month.
The programming was made available to over 480 Wisconsin libraries and over 40 libraries in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. June is National Pollinator Month. The libraries can support the Grow Smart program with their own ideas, book lists and other activities.
Grow Smart for pollinators
Nearly all of the world’s seed plants need pollinators — animals that cause a plant to make fruits or seeds by moving pollen from one part of a plant to another part to fertilize it. Visits from bees, beetles, birds, butterflies and other pollinators result in larger, more flavorful fruits and higher crop yields.
But pollinator populations are decreasing, mainly due to loss of habitat. Grow Smart and add native, pollinator-friendly plants to your yard to aid in their survival. Adding native plants doesn’t require a lot of space or even a lot of effort. Join us at your local library during June to learn more.
Youth videos and activities
ATC and Melinda Myers created three videos and accompanying STEM-based activities for K-12 students that are available through local libraries or at www.atc-GrowSmart.com/library.
- Making and caring for a bee home
- Native sunflower project
- Growing a pollinator garden in a container
Live webinars for adults
Adults can register for three live webinars hosted by Melinda Myers who want to learn more about how to incorporate pollinators into their gardens and landscaping.
- June 1, 2022, 6:30 p.m. – Creating a pollinator paradise
- June 15, 2022, 7:00 p.m. – Supporting native bees
- June 22, 2022, 6:30 p.m. – Maintaining your landscape with pollinators in mind
Library patrons can register for the webinars at www.atc-GrowSmart.com/library. The webinars will be recorded and available on ATC’s YouTube channel for viewing shortly after the live webinars. View or download the Grow Smart Pollinator Guide for suggestions on a variety of native, pollinator-friendly plants.
ATC’s pollinator habitat support
ATC is uniquely positioned to help establish pollinator habitat because of the over 10,000 miles of transmission line right-of-way we manage. Roughly 40% of the rights-of-way we manage may currently serve as suitable habitat for pollinators and our practices help make these areas suitable for pollinators.
The four-acre native prairie surrounding ATC’s Pewaukee, Wis., headquarters is certified as a native landscape by the Wildlife Habitat Council and we have helped over 30 entities that allow public access to our rights-of-way develop roughly 275 acres of pollinator habitat through our Pollinator Habitat grant program since 2017.
Several ATC employees jumped at the opportunity to join their co-workers to do something good for the community and the environment in celebration of Earth Day.
At a new property acquired by Riveredge Nature Center in Saukville, Wis., employees dismantled a time-worn footbridge and replaced it with a sturdy new one. They also helped remove invasive species in a wooded area and dug footings for another new bridge crossing over a stream.
After a two-year hiatus, employees returned to Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay, Wis., to help with long overdue grounds cleanup and brush removal.
Our employees also brought their positive energy to our own backyard and worked on outdoor cleanup of a walking path on the office grounds.
We are thankful to everyone who participated in Earth Days of Caring and those who take action for environmental sustainability on Earth Day and every day.
American Transmission Co., a Tree Line USA® utility, provided Arbor Day celebration funding support to 21 communities in our service area as part of ATC’s annual support of Arbor Day Tree City USA.
“Trees make communities special places for residents and visitors,” said ATC Vegetation Management Manager Michelle Stokes. “We encourage communities and landowners to plant trees and vegetation that will provide beauty in a way that doesn’t compromise the safety and reliability of the electric transmission system – outside of transmission rights-of-way.” Information on ATC’s vegetation management program can be found at atcllc.com.
Arbor Day support
The communities receiving the funds include 18 Wisconsin communities—Antigo, Brown Deer, Fitchburg, Franklin, Green Bay, Hobart, Howard, Iola, Janesville, Lake Geneva, Manitowoc, Menasha, Oak Creek, Portage, Saukville, Shawano, Stoughton and Whiting—and three communities in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan—Escanaba, Iron Mountain and Marquette.
Brown Deer’s Arbor Day celebration will be held on May 9, when the city plants a flowering cherry tree in memory of a retired police officer who lost her battle with breast cancer on May 9, 2021.
Since 2009, ATC has awarded over $100,000 in Arbor Day celebration funding support to more than 330 communities. The funds are used for the communities’ public Arbor Day celebrations, which is one of the four core standards of sound urban forestry management a community must meet to achieve Tree City USA status— maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.
Community Planting Program
The village of Kimberly, Wis., will plant roughly 15 linden and elm trees in Sunset Park on Arbor Day with help from third grade students at Westside Elementary School. The trees were purchased with funding the village received from ATC’s Community Planting Program and will help replace ash trees lost to emerald ash borer.
Twenty-one other communities received funding in 2022 for a total of $71,675 through ATC’s Community Planting and Pollinator Habitat Programs. Since 2013, ATC has given nearly 290 community awards for these projects totaling more than $560,000. To qualify for a Community Planting Program grant, communities must apply and agree to plant the trees and other vegetation outside of high-voltage transmission line rights-of-way and commit to complying with ATC’s vegetation maintenance standards for all current and future planting plans.
About Arbor Day
Arbor Day is a worldwide tree-planting holiday that has been celebrated since 1872. Though the holiday is observed on different dates according to planting conditions and local custom, the official Arbor Day in Michigan and Wisconsin is the last Friday in April.
The Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA program has been greening up cities and towns across America since 1976. It is a nationwide movement that provides the framework necessary for communities to manage and expand their public trees. More than 3,400 communities have made the commitment to becoming a Tree City USA.
The Arbor Day Foundation’s TreeLine USA® program recognizes best practices in public and private utility arboriculture, demonstrating how trees and utilities can co-exist for the benefit of communities and citizens.
Share your #ArborDay
In honor of the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day, the Arbor Day Foundation will plant one tree for EACH Instagram, Twitter or Facebook post with the hashtag #ArborDay, up to 75,000 trees. Kimberly-Clark is matching the effort, bringing the total up to 150,000 trees.
Our 2021 Report to the Community, describes how ATC is evolving to address the electric industry’s rapid transition to renewable energy resources and serve the needs of our customers.
As a transmission company, we do not drive energy generation goals, but our system is the vital connection between renewable energy producers and electric consumers. As renewable generation increases, it will require a more robust transmission system to ensure electric stability and reliability.
The report also describes our commitment to the environment, our communities, and protecting people and the electric grid. We care about the world we live in and strive to reduce the impact that construction, operation, and maintenance of our facilities has on the environment and pursue opportunities to promote sustainable, healthy ecosystems. We also care about the communities we serve and give back by donating our resources and time. We hope you’ll take the time to learn what we’ve been up to and how we’re evolving.
Looking for some home and garden improvement tips and inspiration? Check out the Realtors Home & Garden Show at the Wisconsin Expo Center in West Allis, which runs March 25 to April 3, 2022 (closed Monday and Tuesday).
While you’re there, don’t miss the ATC-sponsored presentations by Melinda Myers:
Saturday, March 26
12 p.m. Managing pests in the garden with pollinators in mind
4 p.m. Shade gardening beyond Hostas
Saturday, March 27
12 p.m. Managing pests in the garden with pollinators in mind
2 p.m. Shade gardening beyond Hostas
Since 2014, ATC has partnered with Melinda Myers to help landowners learn about compatible vegetation near transmission lines. 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.