MPC Refinery Receives Monarch Sustainer of the Year Award
Nature may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of an oil refinery, but at Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s (MPC’s) refinery in Robinson, Illinois, protecting wildlife is an active part of the daily routine. At a recent Nature Day event held at the refinery, representatives from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and 20 interns from the Governor’s Environmental Corps (GEC), spent the day touring the refinery and learning about its Wildlife Habitat Council programs and certifications. The interns also visited the refinery’s 80-acre Palestine Neal Pit Wildlife Habitat and took part in an unusual activity – counting butterflies.
“For years, the refinery has been enhancing wildlife habitat for all animals at the site, with a more recent focus being pollinators, such as butterflies, birds, bees and beetles,” notes the refinery’s Environmental Safety & Security Manager Von Meeks. “Neal Pit is one of four habitats for which the refinery is conducting monarch-enhancing work. It provides the necessities for foraging, reproduction and shelter for migrating monarchs.”
Much of that is due to work done to enhance the site, including the addition of native plants and shrubs to aid in foraging, shelter and reproduction. In addition, certain areas are managed with prescribed burns to control invasive/exotic plant species. Refinery employees also have put extra effort into educating the local community on the importance of monarch butterflies, and how to create and enhance pollinator-friendly habitats.
Shortly after the visit from the IEPA dignitaries and GEC interns, the Robinson refinery learned it was the recipient of the inaugural Monarch Sustainer of the Year Award from the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Pollinator Partnership.
“The award recognizes one U.S. business that has shown exceptional leadership and action in providing habitat and awareness for monarchs along their migratory corridors,” explains Meeks. “To qualify, an organization must make an effort to increase nectar and milkweed plants within the migratory paths of monarchs and to educate others about the butterflies’ importance. Thanks to all the refinery employees who gave of their time and effort toward enhancing the monarch habitats, educating the community and contributing to receipt of this award.”