Marathon Petroleum supports Wildlife Habitat Council’s sustainability mission

Community News

sustainability, Foundation, Catlettsburg, Kentucky, Detroit, Michigan
The Neil Pit Wildlife Habitat near the Robinson, Illinois, refinery.
The Neil Pit Wildlife Habitat near the Robinson, Illinois, refinery.

Did you know that Marathon Petroleum owns and maintains nearly 1,000 acres of WHC-Certified habitat land across 16 certified habitats? It’s the result of a nearly 30-year partnership with WHC (Wildlife Habitat Council). Its certification program is the only voluntary sustainability standard designed for broad-based biodiversity enhancement and conservation activities on corporate landholdings.

The Savage Branch Wildlife Reserve located near Marathon’s refinery in Catlettsburg, Kentucky, is among the longest-running WHC-certified sites in the U.S., first achieving certification in 1994. The wildlife reserve includes a 320-acre woodland and five conservation projects that support the forest habitat and the species that depend on it. The community is able to participate in nature-based educational opportunities at the wildlife reserve.

The Oakwood Heights Wildlife Habitat area near the Detroit refinery.

In addition to the longtime conservation work at the Savage Branch Wildlife Reserve, Marathon has also collaborated with WHC on an urban forestry project, Marathon Gardens, located in an industrial and residential combination area of Detroit, Michigan. Designated as a WHC Certification Gold program, Marathon Gardens creates habitat for cavity-nesting birds, supports the nesting needs of turtle populations and provides roosting boxes for several bat species. Marathon Gardens also offers learning opportunities for employees, community members and local high school students to gain a greater understanding of the biodiversity in this industrial neighborhood.

The team at Marathon collaborates with WHC staff and community partners from local Detroit organizations, to expand and maintain the Marathon Gardens habitat via planting events. Marathon regularly invites residents to participate in planting and weeding events. Over the last several years, MPC has held tree plantings in public parks, with the goal of creating additional outdoor recreational space for residents to enjoy. With assistance from WHC, Marathon selected trees like sycamore and burr oak that would help filter particulate matter from the air, providing the additional benefit of improved air quality.

Charitable giving for conservation programs

In 2022, Marathon hosted the MPCgives Invitational golf outing and invited business partners to raise awareness of and funding for many of the non-profit organizations that Marathon and our employees support. The proceeds of the event benefit various non-profits that provide humanitarian aid, assist students, support sustainability and more. More than 180 sponsors and donors raised a total of $2.26 million. WHC received $221,000 in funds to support their organization’s overall mission.

The wildlife habitat in Texas City, Texas, near the Galveston Bay refinery.

“Our community investment strategy is centered around strengthening communities, helping make people's lives better, and protecting the environment we all share,” said Tim Aydt, EVP of Refining at Marathon Petroleum. “We’re happy to have opportunities like this where our valued business partners can participate, because together we make an even bigger impact.” 

WHC says it is poised for growth and the donation will allow it to continue making a difference in nature. 

“Thirty-five years ago, we led the connections between the global business and nature communities,” said Margaret O’Gorman, WHC President. “As business needs change amid the ongoing biodiversity crisis, new challenges emerge. This generous donation will ensure WHC is able to continue to build its culture of innovation to meet emerging needs and deliver meaningful results that contribute to a nature- positive world.”

The Savage Branch Wildlife Reserve in Boyd County, Kentucky near the Catlettsburg refinery.
The Neil Pit Wildlife Habitat near the Robinson refinery