American Transmission Co.

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

Free ATC Grow Smart® seed packs available at local libraries

Nearly 70 libraries in Brown, Dane, Dickinson, Jefferson, Milwaukee and Waukesha counties are giving away free smooth blue aster and butterfly weed seed packets, while supplies last, courtesy of American Transmission Co.’s Grow Smart® program.

ATC’s Grow Smart® program helps property owners and communities identify low-growing, beautiful vegetation that can be planted in and near transmission line rights-of-way. Trees and shrubs can be an unsafe combination when grown within electric transmission system rights-of-way. The program includes extensive community and public outreach and features horticulturist and gardening expert Melinda Myers.

“We generally give away Grow Smart® seed packets at major garden and lawn shows to encourage people to plant low-growing, native plants under transmission lines,” said Greg Levesque, director of corporate communications, policy and strategy. “Many of these events were cancelled due to the pandemic, so we are giving our remaining inventory to public library systems to help improve pollinator habitat in communities where ATC employees live.”

The seed packets are available at these participating libraries, while supplies last.

  • Brown County libraries – Central, East, and Southwest libraries in Green Bay, Kress Family Library in De Pere, Weyers-Hilliard Library in Howard, Ashwaubenon Library, Pulaski Library and Wrightstown Library
  • Dane County libraries – Twenty locations and the Dane County Bookmobile.
    • Madison’s Alicia Ashman, Central, Goodman South, Hawthorne, Lakeview, Meadowridge, Monroe Street, Pinney, and Sequoya libraries
    • DeForest Area Public Library, Fitchburg Public Library, E.D. Locke Public Library in McFarland, Middleton Public Library, Oregon Library, Rosemary Garfoot Public Library in Cross Plains, Stoughton Public Library, Sun Prairie Public Library, Verona Public Library, Waunakee Public Library
    • The Dane County Bookmobile makes weekly stops in Dane, Blue Mounds, Brooklyn, Cottage Grove, Mt. Vernon, Paoli, Roxbury, Waubesha Heights in the town of Dunn, Westport, as well as Maple Bluff, Owl Creek Park and Shorewood Hills in Madison.
  • Dickinson County libraries – Dickinson County Library in Iron Mountain, the Solomonson Library in Norway, and the North Dickinson Library in Felch.
  • Jefferson County libraires – Jefferson Public Library, Karl Junginger Memorial Library in Waterloo and the Irvin L. Young Memorial Library in Whitewater.
  • Milwaukee County libraries – Twenty-two city and suburban locations
    • Milwaukee’s downtown Central Library and the Atkinson, Bay View, Center Street, East, Martin Luther King, Good Hope, Mitchell Street, Tippecanoe, Villard Square, Washington Park and Zablocki branches
    • Brown Deer Public Library, Cudahy Family Library, Franklin Public Library, Greenfield Public Library, Hales Corners Public Library, North Shore Library, Oak Creek Public Library, Shorewood Public Library, South Milwaukee Public Library, Wauwatosa Public Library and Whitefish Bay Public Library
  • Waukesha County libraries – Big Bend Public Library, Delafield Public Library, Elm Grove Public Library, Alice Baker Memorial Library in Eagle, Menomonee Falls Public Library, Mukwonago Community Library, Muskego Public Library, New Berlin Public Library, Town Hall Library in North Lake, Pewaukee Public Library, Pauline Haass Public Library in Sussex, and Waukesha Public Library

 “Adding just a few native prairie plants to community and residential gardens or landscaping can help pollinators,” said Melinda Myers, ATC Grow Smart® spokesperson and gardening expert. “Wildflowers like purple coneflower, butterfly weed, and smooth blue aster add color to yards and provide food for bees, birds and butterflies. Prairie grasses like little bluestem and prairie dropseed can add interest to landscaping, while also providing food and shelter for pollinators.”

Free garden information for children and adults – ATC and Myers have created several free plant-related resources for both children and adults, including:

Promoting pollinator habitat – ATC’s own Pollinator Habitat Program encourages planting low-growing, native flowering perennials within the transmission rights-of-way. This type of compatible vegetation can thrive within transmission rights-of-way, making utility corridors ideal for pollinators who benefit from the right-of-way space as a contiguous flight path. Roughly 40% of the more than 10,000 miles of transmission line right-of-way we manage has been identified as suitable pollinator habitat. The four-acre native prairie surrounding ATC’s Pewaukee, Wis., headquarters has been recertified as a native landscape by the Wildlife Habitat Council since 2018.