Waste Management-Michelin Campground Natural Area

Louisville, Kentucky, United States

Certified Gold through 2023

Project Name
Project Type
Forest Restoration
Wetland Habitat
Wetlands & Water Bodies
Avian Habitat Management
Pollinator Habitat
About the Program

The Waste Management Campground Natural Area is a former landfill site in Jefferson County, Kentucky. The team at Campground Natural Area manages 70 acres of protected and enhanced wildlife habitat in line with WM's corporate environmental initiatives. WM employees work with contractors and consultants, the University of Kentucky, and volunteers to maintain the site's forested areas, grassland, and wetlands as a home for native wildlife. These projects were all created and managed with the intention of nurturing viable and healthy habitat for wildlife, including birds and pollinators, as well as to use the site for employee and community education.

Practices and Impacts
  • The team manages 5.6 total acres of forest around the property, planting and expanding forest area around the northern side while removing invasive plants from established wooded area in the center and southern side. Routine monitoring shows plant diversity is increasing for trees, shrubs, and herbaceous understory plants and providing habitat for wildlife.
  • The team has replaced pre-existing turfgrass groundcover on the closed landfills with native warm-season tallgrass prairie plants.  As of 2020, the plant inventory monitoring shows at least 113 different plant species present in the grassland habitat. 
  • Shrub and tree growth in the wetlands has increased to provide good wildlife cover, and contains a mix of planted buttonbush and dogwoods, with volunteer black willow and maples. The species that were planted as plugs in the wetland (including swamp milkweed, blue flag iris, sedges, rushes, and bulrushes) are present through the habitat and the spread of the plants has grown. 
  • Throughout the site, the team manages 14 bluebird nest boxes, 2 wood duck boxes, a purple martin tower, a kestrel nest box, and a raptor perch. In total, 47 bird species have been observed on the site, an increase from 39 bird species that had been observed as of 2017. The most abundant birds include tree swallows, red-winged blackbirds, robins, starlings, various sparrows, and Canada geese, as well as less common birds such as indigo buntings, common yellowthroats, wild turkey, and common woodcock. 
  • A pollinator garden within the grassland area with milkweed has been flagged off for protection and certified as a Monarch Waystation. The team also maintains bee hives, bee block, bee house, and two pollinator hotels. 
  • The site is managed in alignment with the Corporate Pollinator Ecosystem Project which brings together companies with the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development to identify pollinator habitats on corporate land and ultimately help revive declining pollinator populations, which is in response to President Obama’s 2014 goal to restore or enhance 7 million acres of land for pollinators.
  • Each year, Waste Management holds a volunteer event during which employees dedicate a work day to assist with maintaining and monitoring the habitats and learning about environmental issues. 
  • The team has planted trees on multiple areas on site in partnership with Trees Louisville and community volunteers. Species planted include red maples, pawpaw, shagbark hickory, redbud, tulip poplar, white pine, and more. The most recent tree inventory from 2019 identified that there are approximately 108 native trees per acre on the forested areas of the site.