Earth Day Round-up: USA members show their support of the environment

May 13th, 2014
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Xcel Energy; Dave Lefor, Cook Nuclear Plant; Angela Walz, Energy Northwest
This past Earth Day, many USA member stations celebrated by holding planet-protecting events within their local communities. Below are some highlights of the good things our members are doing for the environment.
Prairie Island employees partner with local high school for earth day activities
Employees from the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant volunteered to make a positive effect on Earth Day. Volunteers assisted with the 2014 earth day event sponsored by the Red Wing High School and Live Healthy Red Wing in Red Wing, Minn. Prairie Island volunteers worked alongside other community volunteers and students from the high school to clear walking paths, clean up leaves and debris, trim branches and other needed tasks at a variety of parks and locations throughout the community.
Diggin’ holes and planting trees, Earth Day celebrated with Bridgman Schools
Cook Nuclear Plant partnered with Second Nature Gardens to provide trees to Bridgman Elementary School on Tuesday, April 22. A couple of Weeping Cherry Trees were planted with the support of Mr. Caudell’s second grade class to beautify the grounds.
Cook Plant’s Blair Zordell, Kyra Richter, Lisa Rudlaff and Dave Lefor supported this year’s event. Lisa Rudlaff’s daughter attends the school in addition to many other students who have parents that work at Cook. “My daughter and her class were very excited that they were able to plant trees and learn some facts about tree planting and Earth Day” said Lisa. “We even gave them a chance to vote if they wanted to help plant the second tree or go back to the classroom and it was an overwhelming vote to continue planting. I just love the excitement and enthusiasm of second graders.”
"The Cook Plant believes in making and maintaining strong ties with the community and this is another great example of the community involvement by our employees," said Blair Zordell, Sr. Environmental Specialist "The enthusiasm shown by elementary kids when tree planting is second to none. I’m sure that class would have enjoyed spending the entire day planting trees”
Every year the Cook Plant provides nature trail tours to students from local schools to learn about local topography and geography through guided tours and educational postings. The plant also hosts annual visits from environmental classes from local colleges to discuss environmental issues. The Cook Plant has worked hand-in-hand with the community over the past 14 years by donating trees to area schools and a local community park.
Volunteers clean up Richland for Earth Day
In honor of Earth Day on Tuesday, more than 40 employee volunteers from USA member Energy Northwest and AREVA, a USA Supplier Partner, teamed up last week to help make the Tapteal Greenway Association Trail system near Richland, Wash. cleaner and more user-friendly.
The two companies partnered with the Tapteal Greenway Association to celebrate Earth Day (April 22) a few days early with a community cleanup project along the Yakima River. Two large roll-away dumpsters were filled to capacity with littered debris at the conclusion of the cleanup.
“It was very gratifying to see the turnout of volunteers on a cold, wet afternoon,” said Steve Vaughn, Environmental Management System coordinator at Energy Northwest. “The event was well organized, which resulted in removing a large amount of debris,” he said.
The project consisted of developing a path on a currently unused dirt road along the old canal which parallels the Yakima River off of Twin Bridges Road between Highway 240 and the river. Employee volunteers picked up debris and helped to convert the road to an easily accessible and “earth friendly” path that is free and open to the public.
The clean-up activity reflects both organizations’ commitment to the local community and the environment.
Students worked with Prairie Island employees to clean up local parks on Earth Day.
Cook’s Blair Zordell (left) helps students from Bridgman Elementary water one of their two new trees planted for Earth Day.
Employee volunteers from USA member Columbia Generating Station, operated by Energy Northwest, and USA Supplier Partner AREVA clean up a trail system near Richland, Wash. in honor of Earth Day. (Energy Northwest photo)
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