Waste Management landfill honored for wildlife efforts

PARKERSBURG – Waste Management’s Northwestern Landfill was honored at the Wildlife Habitat Council’s 25th annual Symposium for its achievements in protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat.

The facility, located in Wood County, earned recertification of its Wildlife at Work program, which was designed by the Wildlife Habitat Council to provide a structure for cooperative efforts between management, employees and community members to create, conserve and restore wildlife habitats.

The local effort is part of a national Waste Management program that protects animal and plant species on more than 27,000 acres across North America, representing an important contribution to the company’s goal of 100 certifications by 2020.

“The 43 Waste Management wildlife programs being recognized this year set the pace for the corporate conservation community,” said Margaret O’Gorman, president of the Wildlife Habitat Council. “Waste Management’s leadership in this field is underscored by the fact that they have more than 100 certified programs, meeting a goal established at the highest levels within the company and achieved by a broad coalition of employees and community volunteers.”

The Northwestern Landfill, located near Parkersburg occupies 345 acres, of which 101 are actively managed for wildlife. A variety of habitats exist at the site, including woodland, grassland, and natural and manmade wetlands and ponds. Red-tailed hawks, wild turkeys, pond turtles, coyotes and beaver have all been spotted using the many natural resources on-site.

Northwestern’s wildlife team has focused on supporting local birds and pollinators. Students from a local vocational-technical school built 24 bluebird nest boxes, which were later installed on the landfill property. Local Cub Scouts visit the site annually to clean out the nest boxes and document nest activity and wildlife sightings. An 8-by-16-foot pollinator garden was planted outside the garage areas to help support pollinators and other birds and insects. The garden contains native plants including asters, goldstrum rudbeckia, white coneflower and zagreb coreopsis.

“Waste Management began working with WHC because our employees understand that biodiversity and preservation of wildlife are important to the environment and sustainability,” said Waste Management President and CEO David Steiner. “Beyond helping to provide quality habitat for plants and animals, we believe these efforts are helping to create a more sustainable future for everyone.”

Waste Management has been working with WHC since 2000. In 2008, the company was the first recipient of the organization’s William W. Howard CEO Award, recognizing the company’s efforts in conservation, education and outreach efforts. This year, Waste Management won WHC’s Conservation Education Award, which recognizes corporate members with a history of striving for excellence in conservation education and outreach. Unlike other recognition levels, this award honors an entire organization for providing educational experiences, access to quality education opportunities, and the opportunity to experience personal contact with the natural world to its employees and the surrounding community.

To read more about Northwestern Landfill’s program, please visit www.wm.com/wm/community/whc/index.asp.