Who says electricity — and learning about it — can’t be fun?
More than 5,000 children are discovering just how fun it can be, thanks to an entertaining and educational theater program we’re offering to schools across Pennsylvania.
The show, typically performed in school auditoriums and gymnasiums by actors, is now hosted via livestream, due to the pandemic, to ensure the safety of children and actors.
The latest performance — “Captain Wattage” — was pre-recorded and is being presented to 33 schools from April 27 and May 19.
“Captain Wattage” tells a superhero-themed story about the uses of electricity and how to stay safe around it, as well as how it is created. A livestream host introduces and recaps the information, and students and teachers can submit questions and responses through a live Q&A feature.
These events are supplemented by student playbooks, posters and a full e-learning package including games, activities, e-books, and hands-on lessons for students to enjoy even after the program concludes.
Over 105,000 children have seen electrical safety theater performances since the start of our program.
Few environmental scenes compare to the sight of majestic bald eagles flying overhead.
Just ask residents living in the Rush Township, Schuylkill County, area where a family of eagles was spotted nesting in 2020.
Those birds – and others like them – are getting special treatment thanks to some new protections we added to distribution lines near the nest.
An environmental initiative was put into motion when someone from the area spotted the eagles in the nest and notified a state lawmaker, who contacted us. That led to several discussions and collaboration to come up with a plan that needed to be executed during a time outside the birds’ nesting period.
One of our line crews put the finishing touches on this project during a frigid December morning.
The crew replaced wooden arms with fiberglass arms, switched out insulators, and added protective wire guarding on power lines near the large nest. All of those upgrades were put in place to help reduce the risk of the birds coming into contact with the power lines.
“PPL developing a way to work with the eagles rather than simply trying to make them ‘go away’ shows their commitment to bald eagles and wildlife in general,” said Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife biologist Patti Barber. “This is an example of how people and wildlife coexist successfully and should be the goal for us all.”
We weren’t going to allow the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent us from teaching youngsters about electrical safety.
Shifting gears during the pandemic to ensure safety and eliminate the risk of spreading the virus, we teamed up with The National Theatre for Children to give students across Pennsylvania a virtual electrical safety show. The Agents of Safety performance is a humorous, engaging and high-energy show that teaches youngsters how electricity is made and helps them identify and avoid dangerous electrical situations.
More than 8,000 children from 20 different schools saw performances during the most recent tour, which began Oct. 29. Since the program kicked off in 2015, nearly 99,000 children have seen performances, which are offered at no cost to schools within our service territory. Teachers are also given materials on electrical safety to share with their students prior to the performances.
Educating the public about electrical safety is just one part of our commitment to keeping our communities safe. For more information about electrical safety, visit pplelectric.com/safety.
At PPL Electric Utilities, we see a great opportunity to help provide pollinator-friendly habitats in the communities we serve.
It’s why we’ve been doing research to develop a cost-effective seed mix of native, pollinator plants that we may be able to plant when we restore land after completing transmission line work or substation projects. We assess pollinator test plots at our properties to see what species of plants will work best as part of future projects.
In addition to providing an ideal habitat for pollinators, the right mix of native plantings would save costs by potentially requiring less vegetation management and treatment.
This project is particularly timely because of declining pollinator populations and the need to preserve and protect them.
“We’re really excited to see what happens during the current growing season,” said Lori Burkert, environmental compliance manager at PPL Electric Utilities. “Our goal is to make this a viable, sustainable option for future projects.”
Our pollinator program also helped us create a partnership with Merrill W. Linn Land & Waterways Conservancy. This partnership gave us the opportunity to provide the Conservancy with a mix of native seeds for planting in their easements. We also contributed trees from our popular Community Roots program.
“We’re doing this because it’s the right thing to do,” Burkert said. “And we’re always looking for ways to come up with innovative, environmental-friendly, sustainable solutions for the work we do.”
Our employees helped ensure that a large amount of electronics will be recycled – rather than end up in a landfill. Nearly 1,000 electronics items were collected during the first-of-its-kind recycling event organized by our Environmental Compliance department earlier this year.
Among the items collected:
279 cables or cords
143 television sets
86 stereos or CD players
59 DVD, Blu-ray and VHS players
The event was designed to help employees recycle items that are becoming increasingly difficult to recycle. Electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world.
The recycling event is among a number of initiatives we’ve undertaken to benefit the environment.
We also recycle wood poles and materials like copper, aluminum, steel and mineral oil. We’ve distributed thousands of trees to community organizations, schools and governments through the Community Roots program, and we recently started a Future Environmental Leaders Scholarship program.