2015 Huron to Erie Habitat Celebration

By Martha Gruelle, Sr. Manager, Conservation Planning|March 23, 2015

The Wildlife Habitat Council’s regional Huron to Erie Habitat Celebration is coming up June 4, 2015. This year, attendees will have a chance to explore the 2014 Seedling Corporate Habitat of the Year at General Motors Company’s  GM Milford Proving Ground.

Photo courtesy of General Motors Company.

Photo courtesy of General Motors Company.

The event will honor the achievements of 16 corporate wildlife and education teams from 4 organizations in southeast Michigan and southwest Ontario. Of these, two will receive special recognition as the Seedling Habitat and the Regional Corporate Habitat of the year.  Participants will include corporate habitat volunteers, other executives, conservation professionals, and community leaders. The day will include engaging presentations about wildlife, habitat, and positive actions for conservation, along with a tour of the award-winning habitat program at the proving ground.

Speakers will address local and landscape-scale action to protect watershed health, and practical insights on developing community partnerships. WHC President Margaret O’Gorman will bring an update on the redesign of WHC’s signature certification process, which will launch this November and will set a new standard for conservation on corporate lands.

Proving Their Commitment to Wildlife

Photo courtesy of General Motors Company.

Photo courtesy of General Motors Company.

At GM’s Milford Proving Ground, engineers have been testing the performance and safety of vehicles for over 90 years. In 2011, the facility began two new construction projects: a renovation of the main lobby and entrance walkway area, and the transformation of a 2.5-acre demolition area into a Nature Area for employees to enjoy. The wildlife team created a native pollinator garden along the walkway, and planted additional native species beneficial to pollinators in the new Nature Area. The team chose one specific target for the Nature Area, the endangered Karner blue Butterfly. In order to attract this species, lupine, the only food of Karner blue caterpillars, was planted. The Nature Area and entrance way met the challenge of providing wildlife habitat within a neat and aesthetically pleasing corporate landscape.

The wildlife team worked with community members to construct wood duck and bat boxes from Volt battery cases otherwise destined for the landfill. Wood ducks have successfully nested in four out five boxes located on the site. The Milford Proving Ground team also maintains and monitors ten nest boxes that are used by eastern bluebirds and tree swallows.

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