MPC volunteers recognized for work on wildlife reserve
Several Marathon Petroleum Corporation organizations took advantage of the warmer weather this year to do their part to support environmental stewardship within their local footprint and educate community members on environmental topics. This is the fourth in a four-part series highlighting ways MPC demonstrates its commitment to the world around us. The first three parts can be found here, here and here.
On about 360 acres just west of Kentucky’s Big Sandy River lies a refuge for various species of native plants and animals. Nearby is Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s Catlettsburg, Ky., refinery, which employs the 34 people who volunteer their time to maintain the Catlettsburg Refining Savage Branch Wildlife Reserve.
While the volunteers consider the work itself to be rewarding, the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (KY DEP) recognized their efforts. “Catlettsburg’s Savage Branch Wildlife Reserve was featured in a two-page spread in the April 2015 issue of the KY DEP magazine, Land, Air & Water,” notes Vernon Marcum, advanced HES professional at the refinery and member of the volunteer team.
Being selected for inclusion in Land, Air & Water requires a notable achievement. In this instance, it had to do with the refinery’s continuing voluntary involvement in the Kentucky Excellence in Environmental Leadership Program, better known as KY EXCEL. The program provides opportunities for private sectors to help improve Kentucky’s diverse environment.
“KY EXCEL members commit to going beyond requirements to enhance and protect the environment,” explains Marcum. Memberships in the program require accomplishments in several areas. “In 2006, we applied for master-level membership, completing a number of requirements before achieving it.”
“Over the past two years, we’ve conducted onsite, environmental-related classes for 39 local elementary and middle schools, totaling 1,819 students, with 8,912 recorded visitors since 2001,” notes Marcum. “We also conduct classes for adults with autism, and we’ve hosted two Project WET [Water Education for Teachers] training classes, with 33 teachers taking part.
“All those involved in support of our KY EXCEL programs, from refinery management to our team of employee volunteers, are proud of our stewardship efforts,” adds Marcum. “To be recognized at the state-government level is very exciting for us.”
SAVAGE BRANCH PROJECTS THAT ILLUSTRATE COMMITMENT TO KY EXCEL INCLUDE:
- Managing the Savage Branch Wildlife Reserve
- Creating/utilizing a management plan designed to increase biodiversity and monitor the effects of natural succession
- An open-field restoration project aimed at restoring three former pastures to native vegetation.
- American Chestnut and native cane plantings in cooperation with the Kentucky Division of Fish and Wildlife.
- A nest-box monitoring program that provides shelter to nesting wildlife and is used as a tool for educational purposes
- Achievement of Corporate Lands for Learning and Wildlife at Work certifications through the Wildlife Habitat Council, enabling the refinery to foster relationships with students and teachers at area schools