MPC volunteers ‘plant a seed’ of environmental stewardship
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 first in a four-part series highlighting ways MPC demonstrates its commitment to the world around us.
Employees at Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) recently took an opportunity to plant a seed in the minds of 182 preschool and kindergarten students in Nashville, Tenn., to stress the importance of environmental stewardship.
“We got a call from the newly established Bordeaux Pre-K Learning Center, which is about four blocks from our facility,” notes Carole Raley, senior administrative assistant in Nashville and project coordinator. “Their director had heard of various ways we had supported Bordeaux Elementary School in the past, particularly in regard to habitat activities. She wanted us to do something similar for her students, but we didn’t have enough volunteers available to handle that many children at once. We also needed some guidance on the types of activities that would be age-appropriate.”
A cross-organizational committee at MPC came up with a solution. Instead of making one presentation, they would make separate presentations to 10 classrooms over four days at an onsite potting station and pavilion. “With the help of an organization called Plant the Seed, we were able to come up with suitable topics as well,” says Raley.
Topics ranged from habitats, ecosystems, nesting/predator birds, pollinators and metamorphosis to simply being good citizens of the world. “We also distributed Sammy the Soil coloring books; Pollinators, a pamphlet by the USDA; and a picture of a Painted Lady butterfly to color,” says Raley. “In addition, the children planted sunflower seeds in biodegradable pots, and each received an MPC backpack and lanyard.”
For a grand finale, the group released Painted Lady and Monarch butterflies before the entire school. “Plant the Seed was grateful to have the opportunity to work with volunteers from MPC in the school garden, which is a place to learn about where our food comes from and how we are connected to the larger ecosystem,” says Megan Lightell, garden coordinator for Plant the Seed. “We grow in a way that provides habitats for insects and animals around us, and MPC provided many wonderful resources and materials to bring those things to life.”
“From an up-close study of bird nests, watching chickadees fledge and planting wildflowers to releasing butterflies into the garden habitat, this event was age-appropriate, hands-on and exciting for the children,” adds Dana Eckman, director of the Bordeaux school. “We look forward to working together with MPC again in the future.”