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November 30, 2017

Waste Management’s Deep Connection to Wildlife Conservation

Recognized as a Corporate Conservation Leader

What do cabbage moths and California Red-Legged Frogs have in common with Waste Management?

For more than 28 years, Waste Management has partnered with Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) to promote sustainability, biodiversity and conversation education at the company’s sites. Ranging from pollinator gardens to invasive species monitoring programs, these projects promote environmental stewardship from the ground up—literally.

Wildlife Habitat Council is a Maryland-based organization forging relationships between corporations and the environment. But it’s a two-way street that’s creating a lasting change.

Since the partnership’s inception over two decades ago, over a hundred Waste Management landfills have developed conservation projects and have had thousands of acres certified by the WHC.  This is no small feat and has taken the commitment and dedication of Waste Management’s employees at the sites to accomplish.  In 2011, Waste Management achieved one of its sustainability goals of having 100 sites and 25,000 acres certified. 

These accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. In recent years, Waste Management’s focus has shifted from the quantity of sites to the quality and depth of projects, which set the path for the company receiving WHC’s most prestigious honor at the 2017 Conservation Conference. The company was awarded the Corporate Conservation Leadership Award, a distinction given to companies who show exemplary success in conservation leadership and community education.

Along with receiving this highly-coveted honor, three of Waste Management’s WHC sites were nominated for awards at the 2017 WHC Conservation Conference. Kirby Canyon Landfill, Campground Natural Area, and Bucks County Landfill represented the company in five different project categories.

Bucks County Landfill, located in Pennsylvania, has been certified with WHC since 2001. Their pollinator project “Laboratory for Learning Demonstration Pollinator Garden” began in 2013 and focuses on developing a previously open grassland field into a sustainable pollinator habitat for several different species of bees, cabbage moths, beetles, and monarch butterflies. Pollinator gardens are some of the most popular projects due to their opportunities for education, employee engagement and community outreach.   

Employees, families, friends and members of the community partner together to learn how to manage species and habitats, extending that learning into the community. Since 2013, more than 50 employees, 20 senior citizens from Falls Township Senior Center, students from The Pen Ryn School, and volunteers from the landfill neighbor, Pennsbury Manor have been actively involved in the pollinator projects. Success has been measured by increasing community awareness, knowledge and commitment to biodiversity, healthy habitats and advancing pollinator survival.

A similar human-ecological interaction can be found at the Campground Natural Area site in Louisville, Kentucky, a retired facility managed in partnership with Michelin. Cub scouts are invited to the site and educated on its pollinator, forest, grassland, and wetland habitats while earning conservation patches. In an event this past June, scouts and trip leaders collected insects and aquatic macroinvertebrates to help inventory the wildlife on site.

Kirby Canyon Landfill also works closely with threatened and endangered species.

Nominated for the Reptiles and Amphibians Project Award, the site focuses on providing a suitable habitat for the California Red-Legged Frog, a threatened amphibian species in California. Annual monitoring, although not required, is completed to ensure invasive species are not present in the habitat. This is a crucial aspect of the project, as any infestation of predatorial species harms the threatened species’ productivity.

With each act of conservation – no matter how big or small – Waste Management continues to contribute to a greater, greener tomorrow.