When PPL Electric Utilities unveiled its plan to give out thousands of trees as part of its Community Roots program, no one was more excited – or proud – than Eric Beaver.

The PPL environmental professional and self-proclaimed lover of the outdoors saw a great opportunity to not only educate the public about the importance of trees, but to get tree seedlings in the hands of environmentally-focused organizations, schools and local governments.

“It’s a great program and I’m proud to be a part of it,” said Beaver.

“We’re always thinking about the next thing we can do to make the environment better,” he added. “We have an obligation to do that.”

Beaver, who has been with PPL for nearly six years, saw the program as a way to help improve communities he serves in parts of the Susquehanna Valley, Harrisburg and central Pennsylvania. (To see a brief video about Beaver, click here.)

An estimated 20,000 trees are being planted across the PPL service territory in central and eastern Pennsylvania this year as part of the program.

The tree orders for delivery in 2019 have already been filled. Schools, organizations and governments who wish to participate in 2020 will be able to begin ordering trees again in spring 2019.

Beaver is responsible for protecting wetlands, watersheds and waterways at PPL projects that are designed to improve service and reliability to the company’s 1.4 million customers.

A graduate of Mansfield University of Pennsylvania with a degree in fishery biology, Beaver joined PPL after working for much of his career at Soil Conservation Districts in Potter and Lycoming counties.

As a lifelong hunter and fisherman, his career choice was a no brainer.

“I’ve always like the outdoors and being in the environment,” said Beaver, who lives in Northumberland County. “I’ve always wanted to be doing something that kept me outdoors, so in that respect, I’m living out my dream.”

And he’s also doing his best to pass on that love for and respect of nature. In addition to helping PPL carry out the Community Roots program, Beaver also has been involved with Pennsylvania Envirothon, which uses teachers and other professionals to guide high school students through an environmental education program and competition.

He helps guide the student teams from station to station to take the variety of tests and challenges they face during the day.

“Any chance you get to help kids and educate them is rewarding,” Beaver said.