Texas refinery projects attain Wildlife Habitat Council Certification

Community News

Habitat Enhancement, Awareness and Recycle Team Two initiatives from the Galveston Bay refinery’s (GBR) Habitat Enhancement, Awareness and Recycle Team (HEART) achieved Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) Certification in 2018: Learning Lanes and the 29th Street Duck Pond. Both projects were recognized by the WHC at the 2018 Conservation Conference in Baltimore earlier this month.

Wildlife Habitat Council certification requires a lengthy, rigorous application process, and considers many aspects of a project, including scope, objective, management, monitoring, employee participation, corporate commitment to conservation, and more. Programs that achieve WHC Conservation Certification are given one of the following designations: Certified, Certified Silver or Certified Gold. This tier system was established to recognize levels of achievement and encourage improvement.

The 29th Street Duck Pond received the Certified designation. This project, located at the corner of 5th Avenue South and 29th Street South, repurposed the new GBR detention pond into a retention pond. By keeping water in the pond instead of letting it drain off, it quickly attracted a variety of wildlife.

Learning Lanes, designed to facilitate field trips by local school children, received the Certified Silver designation. HEART committee members and other GBR volunteers helped plant, and now maintain and monitor, the Learning Lanes project, which is located near GBR’s Bay Plant.

The team had a lot of help with this project; local Boy Scouts and 4-H Club members made seed balls to throw out into the wildflower lane in 2017. Also, members of the Environmental group planted over 250 pollinator-attracting milkweed plants in a single morning. Catherine Wiemers, a GBR Health, Environment and Safety professional and HEART member, stated, “[The project] was a great way to volunteer without needing transportation and allowed for employees to learn a little more about each other in the process.” Learning Lanes are spaced to provide walking room between each row and are far enough from the road to be safe.

GBR now holds three certifications. The first Certified designation was the Butterfly Boulevard pollinator garden at GBR’s Bay Plant.