Challenging kids to think and live greener

Challenging kids to think and live greener

When you’re nearly four decades into teaching school children about the environment –and getting them to think critically about it – you have to be doing something right.

And, certainly, Pennsylvania Envirothon, through its annual competition for high school students, has built a reputation for educating youngsters in creative, innovative ways. And for inspiring a national competition.

It’s why the PPL Foundation has supported the organization for a quarter of a century. Most recently, we gave $4,800 to Envirothon in 2020 to help the nonprofit train coordinators for the annual event, which is a hands-on, natural resource problem-solving competition.

The event began in 1979 as a local competition for a handful of conservation districts and evolved into a statewide competition in 1984. It has remained a constant in Pennsylvania education since. So much so that the organization kept the tradition going with a virtual event during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program reaches more than 40,000 students each year.

Teams of five representing schools from across the state study natural resource categories, such as soils and land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, wildlife, and current environmental issues. Each team spends time before the competition with their advisors to prepare. At the competition, they use teamwork to come up with solutions to environmental problems. This year’s champion – Pleasant Valley High School from Monroe County – moved on to the international event in Nebraska.

Ultimately, Envirothon’s goal is to develop knowledgeable, skilled, and dedicated youth who are willing and prepared to work towards achieving a balance between the quality of life and the quality of the environment. And that’s something we’re proud to support.

Reviving a popular nature area

Reviving a popular nature area

A popular Union County nature area enjoyed by hundreds each year is getting long planned and much needed improvements with a little help from PPL.

Koons Trail along Buffalo Creek in Mifflinburg, originally created by Mifflinburg Middle School teacher Joe Southerton and his students in 1990, is getting new kiosks, footbridges and platforms.

The trail was hit hard by the emerald ash borer, a beetle that feeds on ash trees, and was damaged by previous flooding.

Merrill W. Linn Land & Waterways Conservancy, a Lewisburg-based nonprofit, holds a conservation easement on the trail and maintains it. We granted $3,500 from the PPL Foundation to help fund the improvement project. The upgrades will help the conservancy draw the public to the site and ultimately serve its mission of getting families outside to learn about the environment.

The PPL Foundation contributes more than $3 million annually to nonprofit organizations supporting student success from cradle to career; advancing diversity, equity and inclusion; and promoting the development of vibrant and sustainable communities.

“We are sincerely grateful to PPL,” said Geoff Goodenow, the organization’s coordinator. “The funds from PPL will help to create much needed footbridges along the paths which meander within restored wetlands south of the covered bridge. Visitors to the area enjoy seeing wildflowers, various types of birds and hearing a seasonal chorus of amphibians.”

Each year, hundreds of people participate in programs held in the trail area along with the incalculable number of local residents who visit daily.

The trail is on part of a 30-acre property once owned by Mifflinburg resident and businesswoman Mary Koons. Current owners Ryan and Samantha Sabo have expanded access to the property by creating additional walkways in adjacent wetland meadows and fields. The area is private property but is open to the public from dawn to dusk for people and pets.

The Merrill Linn Conservancy is a 501c3 nonprofit. Its mission includes preservation/conservation of the natural resources and beauty of land and waterways and to engage the public in creating awareness and instilling responsible stewardship of our resources.

Improving reliability & feeding Tatu

Improving reliability & feeding Tatu

Each and every year, we conduct tree trimming throughout our service territory to help maintain reliable service and prevent outages. While getting the customers the power they need is certainly our main focus, one of the unique benefits of successful tree trimming is feeding animals like Tatu, the giraffe, at the Lehigh Valley Zoo. Giraffe at the zoo eating tree branches

Instead of ending up in a chipper, the smaller branches and tree debris we collect through our vegetation management program are donated to help feed the animals. Tatu, and his other leaf-loving friends at the zoo, can enjoy this especially delicious fare that assists in keeping the animals’ digestive systems running smoothly.

Trees are the number one cause of storm-related power outages, which is why we have an established time-and-condition based maintenance program to make sure we’re trimming trees at the right time.

In 2020 alone, we reduced tree-related outages by 14 percent from the prior year. This work is essential to keeping the lights on and great for curbing Tatu’s appetite.

Earth Day Your Way

Earth Day Your Way

At PPL, the environment is important to us and we know it’s equally important to you! That’s why we’re launching a campaign to honor Earth Day 2021 and we invite you to join us! 

This year’s theme is #RestoreOurEarth. And what better time to get outside and preserve this beautiful environment than during Earth Week? 

To join us, all you have to do is share a photo of you and your family doing something outside to preserve our environment between April 19 – April 25. Make sure you tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and use the hashtag #EarthDayMyWay. 

Little girl outside holding a tree

Whether you’re planting a tree or garden, using a reusable water bottle, riding your bike, taking a walk, or discovering native plants, together we can #RestoreOurEarth. 

To learn more about our environmental initiatives, here are just a few programs that demonstrate our commitment:

Community Roots 

Through this program, we provide plants and trees to help preserve the environment where we live, play, and work. 

Wood Recycling Program 

Learn more about how we recycle old or broken utility poles to keep them out of landfills. 

Helping Birds of Prey 

This is how we protect wildlife and keep bald eagles soaring through our territory. 

Tree Planting and Care

Tree Planting and Care

Spring is upon us. And what better way to show our love of the environment than planting a tree? There’s just something about watching a tree adapt to all four seasons and grow right before our eyes. But before we get caught up in the beauty of nature, we must do a bit of research and take safety precautions before we pull out the shovels and start digging.

Here are a few tips for safe and successful tree prep and planting:

Keep tree roots in a cool place until ready to plant. Add water to moisten the roots, as needed.

Location, location, location – plan the spacing and location of your tree. And make sure it’s far away from any PPL power lines. If a tree is planted near power lines, eventually it may need to be trimmed or removed to keep your power reliable and the grid safe.

Call 811 before you dig! Know what’s below. It’s important to call 811 at least 3 business days before your project to avoid digging into any underground utility lines.

Consider using mulch (shredded bark or wood chips), around your tree to prevent damage to its roots.

For more information and a comprehensive guide to selecting, planting and caring for a new tree, visit www.arborday.org