SOURCE: General MotorsDESCRIPTION:
The national nonprofit Living Lands & Waters began its MillionTrees Project in 2007 by collecting and planting acorns. The group harvests the growing saplings and partners with communities and companies like General Motors to meet its ambitious goal – growing 1 million trees across the United States. This year, 27 GM facilities in seven states are taking part, providing more than 25,000 oak trees to employees and their families for Earth Day and Arbor Day plantings.
The Milford Proving Ground will be the largest GM distributer of this year’s MillionTrees Project and is one of the most uniquely situated GM facilities. It spans nearly 4,000 acres, including acres of trees, lakes, native plants and wildlife. The team takes great responsibility to maintain, protect and restore its environmental integrity and involvement in this project weaved into this mission.
The Milford Proving Ground team will pass out 3,500 trees to its employees and contractors, with the goal of not only educating today’s GM team, but showing a commitment to the next generation, as well.
“By participating in the MillionTrees Project, it allows our employees to be actively engaged and demonstrate, first-hand, their actions can be a part of the solution,” said Brenda Korth, lead environmental engineer at Milford Proving Ground. “It is not just about planting a single tree, it is about building momentum to change the way they think about environmental efforts, both at work and in their personal lives.”
GM’s Marion Metal Center in Indiana is participating in a citywide Earth Day event with the local Parks and Recreation Department and Marion Utilities, which will involve passing out the trees to residents who commit to planting them. They’ll also provide trees to GM employees and contractors.
“The Marion Metal Center wanted to take advantage of this opportunity for two main reasons: It allows us to give back to our local community and build stronger relationships with residents,” said Maya Ann Collins, GM associate environmental engineer at Marion Metal Center in Indiana. “Working for a company that embraces environmental sustainability and community involvement is a source of pride for GM employees,” said Collins.
Living Lands & Waters works to preserve and restore major rivers and watersheds in the U.S., removing debris, planting native trees and removing invasive plants. The initiative is important as flooding, diseases and harvesting have taken their toll on hardwood trees that live near waterways. Native nut-bearing, hardwood trees provide shelter and food for wildlife and migratory birds; shade waterways to keep them cool for aquatic life; reduce water pollution and erosion through their roots that act as filters and hold the ground in place; and improve local air by absorbing carbon and producing oxygen. Planting red, swamp white, and bur oak trees also will increase diversity along the nation’s shorelines, helping further protect against viruses and bores.
Alex Bokatzian, associate environmental engineer at Parma Metal Center in Ohio, summarizes the benefits he sees from the efforts: “Trees provide oxygen, take in carbon dioxide and improve air quality. They support wildlife and help to sustain a healthy environment.”
Bokatzian planned on buying trees to give to employees for Earth Day as it was successful last year. He said this project worked out perfectly because the team didn’t have to struggle searching for a seller of native trees.
KEYWORDS: Environment, Life on Land, General Motors, GM, Arbor Day, living lands & waters, MillionTrees, earth day, Milford Proving Ground, MillionTrees Project, Indiana, Marion Metal Center, Michigan, hardwood trees, Alex Bokatzian, Maya Ann Collins