2020 Pollinator Week: OG&E helps raise awareness and plays its role in conservation
June 22, 2020
Think about this for a moment: one out of every three bites of food we eat depends on pollinators. Butterflies, beetles, bats, birds and yes, bees – just like those pesky wasps you swat at during family picnics – are all pollinators. Those bees and other pollinators, pollinate more than 100 crops across the U.S. and are responsible for helping to produce almonds, melons, blueberries, apples, peaches and cucumbers. Without pollinators to carry pollen from plant to plant, we wouldn’t have strawberries or chocolate – something worth remembering the next time the spring sniffles roll around.
OG&E is joining the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and several other North American power companies in celebrating the role pollinators play in our lives during National Pollinator Week, June 22-28, 2020. The goal of National Pollinator Week is to raise awareness about the troubling decline in pollinator populations, as well as ongoing conservation and habitat restoration efforts.
OG&E’s efforts to protect pollinators
One of the cornerstones of OG&E’s environmental efforts is our practice of smart waste management. “Reduce, reuse, recycle” is a familiar phrase and our members continually search for innovative ways to do just that. Recently, the company’s Vegetation Management team partnered with the Euchee Butterfly Farm to provide wood chips for their plant growing operation. The plants being grown are rare and threatened species of native Oklahoma plants that are important for pollinators. The company will provide approximately 1,000 yards of wood chips per year from our tree trimming waste – waste which would otherwise have to be disposed of in landfills, or by other means. Earlier this year, the OG&E Vegetation Management team partnered with the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden to help supplement the care and feeding of several of the Zoo’s animal populations, including elephants, bears and apes.
OG&E is also setting aside portions of pollinator habitat at locations across our service area. Designated as monarch “Waystations,” these locations will help provide critical resources, such as area-specific milkweed and flowers, necessary for the monarch population to sustain its migration. In addition, we’re also using these areas to evaluate and test land management practices – including modification to mowing practices and using area-specific milkweed and flowers.
At Washington Park Substation, for example, we’ve implemented an automated, solar-powered mower to maintain the property’s 7 acres of habitat. Because the mower has no internal combustion motor, it produces zero carbon emissions; it’s fully automated, which means less human activity at the site, allowing wildlife in the area to interact more naturally with the environment; it operates at a low decibel level reducing noise pollution, and finally, its reduced operating and maintenance costs frees up funds for other infrastructure improvements.
At the General Service Center, where we have approximately two and a half acres of habitat, we’re creating a seed bank to create a sustainable resource for future projects. We’re also developing a seed mix that blooms throughout the spring and fall so monarchs can have access to them throughout the migration season.
National Pollinator Week
Follow OG&E’s pollinator conservation efforts during Pollinator Week by following the company’s social media channels: