Release date- 02102015 - AKRON, Ohio - FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) has donated $5,000 to support a demonstration project underway at The Ohio State University at Mansfield to use transmission line rights-of-way to encourage the growth of plant species that could help rejuvenate the declining populations of bees, monarch butterflies and other insects that pollinate flowers.
The environmental effort is a collaboration between FirstEnergy, Ohio State University, Ohio State Extension, the Pollinator Partnership, Ohio Prairie Nursery, Arnold's Landscaping, Davey Tree and the Utility Arborists Association.
The project involves sowing plant species native to Ohio on a plot under a FirstEnergy 138-kilovolt transmission line that crosses the Ohio State Mansfield campus. The goal of the demonstration project is to create a habitat favored by the insects and animals that pollinate flowers, agricultural crops, fruit trees and other plants, while also helping utilities obtain the transmission line clearances needed to ensure safe and reliable electric service to customers.
'Encouraging the growth of these special plants in transmission line corridors is an idea gaining momentum in the utility industry,' said Steven E. Strah, president, FirstEnergy Utilities. 'We expect the outcome of the experiment to produce positive, environmentally friendly results that can be used in the 14,000 miles of transmission line rights-of-way FirstEnergy maintains.'
The research plot will include different beds that include native seed mixes and plants specifically designed to attract the types of insects that pollinate flowers, trees and crops. The garden will serve as a demonstration plot for students, faculty members, and community members to learn about plants beneficial to hummingbirds, butterflies, and native bees, and how to create similar habitat on their own property.
Providing habitat for insects that pollinate trees, plants and shrubs is an emerging priority for public and private land managers. It is estimated that native insects are responsible for pollinating 75 percent of the country's flowering plants and nearly 75 percent of the agricultural crops. In addition, monarch butterflies have suffered significant declines in the past decade, and are in need of additional habitat that is suitable to sustain their migrations.
FirstEnergy has a history of being honored for its vegetation management practices. For 17 years in a row, FirstEnergy and its 10 utility companies have been recognized as a Tree Line USA utility by the National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters.
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