The Wildlife Habitat Council has recertified six Koch Industries sites for their ongoing contributions to environmental education and wildlife-habitat stewardship.
The certification is part of the council's international accreditation program, in which companies create and maintain wildlife-habitat areas on corporate land and provide environmental education opportunities to their communities.
"Our longstanding relationship with Wildlife Habitat Council has helped us build model programs that we believe are advancing habitat stewardship and environmental education," said Jim Mahoney, executive vice president of operations excellence and compliance for Koch Industries Inc.
Wichita, Kan.-based Koch Industries has subsidiaries that are involved in manufacturing, commodity trading and investments. The Wildlife Habitat Council recertified sites at three of those subsidiaries: Flint Hills Resources, Georgia-Pacific and Invista.
The council recertified:
- Flint Hills Resources' Wildlife Learning Preserve in Corpus Christi, Texas, as a Corporate Lands for Learning site. The preserve consists of 120 acres and serves as a wetlands education center for students and volunteers from the Texas State Aquarium's SeaCamp program. The site originally received certification in 2007.
- Flint Hills Resources' Joliet, Ill., campus as a Corporate Lands for Learning site for its annual Prairie Day event, where employees and local educators help kids explore nature through hands-on activities. The event is held at an outdoor classroom on 10 acres of native trees and wildlife populations at the site. It first received certification in 2004.
- Georgia-Pacific's facility in Big Island, Va., as a Wildlife at Work site. Twenty-five employees are involved in projects underway at the site's 941-acre wildlife habitat area, including a 20-year commitment with the American Chestnut Foundation to restore native species to the area. The site first achieved certification in 2011.
- Georgia-Pacific's Leaf River Cellulose facility in New Augusta, Miss., as a Corporate Lands for Learning site for its Discovery Day environmental education program. Elementary school students explore the ecology of the Leaf River firsthand using basic scientific investigations. About 2,000 students in grades 4 through 6 have participated in the program since it was first certified in 2007.
- Georgia-Pacific's Savannah River Mill as a Wildlife at Work site. Employees work with wildlife experts to enhance the 150-acre habitat area at the mill site, including managing forest stands to benefit gopher tortoises and replanting native tree species. The site, located in Rincon, Ga., has been certified since 2008.
- Invista's Waynesboro, Va., site for its wildlife habitat area, which includes monitoring stations for eastern bluebirds. As part of the certification, the Invista team - comprised of more than 14 employees and community volunteers - must build upon the monitoring program each year. The site has been certified for 23 years.
Other Koch companies with Wildlife Habitat Council-certified sites are Flint Hills Resources in Rosemount, Minn.; Georgia-Pacific in Monticello, Miss., and Savannah, Ga.; Invista in Camden, S.C., and Victoria, Texas; and Matador Cattle Co.'s Beaverhead Ranch in Montana.