Buzzi Unicem USA is pleased to announce the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) has awarded Buzzi Unicem USA three certifications under their wildlife improvement programs. The WHC Wildlife at Work certification, recognizing programs that create, conserve, and restore wildlife habitats on corporate lands, was awarded to the Festus, MO plant for their forest management efforts and to the Stockertown, PA plant for their habitat rehabilitation and restoration efforts. The WHC Corporate Lands for Learning certification, recognizing programs that promote innovative teaching and learning techniques and provide opportunities for community members to get involved in conservation efforts, was awarded to the Pryor, OK plant for their creation of an outdoor classroom designed to enhance the environmental education of local school students and community groups.
The Festus plant commenced implementation of a forest stewardship plan on approximately 1300 acres of company forest lands. The forest management and timber stand improvement program is designed to enhance the native wildlife habitat, improve native forest species composition over time through regeneration management, and protect and improve natural resources within the forest. The plan also incorporates sustainable timber harvesting to improve overall forest health and control invasive species.
The Pryor plant converted 18 acres of undeveloped land containing numerous varieties of habitats, including prairie, wetlands, waterways, and woodlands, into an area flourishing with new native flora and fauna for use as an outdoor classroom by local students and community groups. Natural habitats have been restored on this property, learning kiosks have been strategically placed, and bird boxes have been constructed and erected. The outdoor classroom connects abstract teaching lessons to the outdoor environment through direct spontaneous contact with nature in a natural wildlife habitat setting.
In an effort to increase wildlife habitat quality, the Stockertown plant planted numerous shrubs, bushes and trees and controlled invasive species on a 20-acre property previously used for agriculture. The project represents the early stage in vegetative succession and provides critical habitats to the nesting and foraging behavior of a variety of wildlife species, including pollinators, grassland birds, reptiles, and small mammals. A portion of the property has also been dedicated to growing switchgrass, which will be annually harvested as a biofuel and fired in the cement kilns, replacing a percentage of the more traditional fuels, petroleum coke and coal. This is Stockertown's second WHC certification. The plant was awarded the Corporate Lands for Learning certification in 2013 for their creation of an open air laboratory designed for use by local high school students, which has been expanded to now include the area designed for this newer endeavor.