In West Virginia, Dow manages grassland, wetland and woodland habitats at Dow Technology Park in South Charleston. The team at Dow maintains open water impoundments, pollinator gardens and protective habitat for native species by controlling invasive species and diversifying native plants and animals.
Dow inherited the former waste impoundment site in 2005 and collaborated with state agencies to designate ten acres as Ward Hollow Wildlife Habitat (WHWH) with the goal of protecting biodiversity, engaging with the community and promoting environmental education. WHWW has since expanded to 150 acres and engages hundreds of students and community members each year.
The WHC-certified program includes an impressive eight conservation projects related to – reptiles and amphibians, bat boxes, eastern bluebird nest boxes, education and outreach, invasive species management, pollinators, and waterfowl. The habitats maintained at the site include native plants such as milkweed, goldenrod, and big bluestem, and animals such as bluebirds, tree swallows, wood frogs and salamanders.
The team at Dow says they are most proud of their education and outreach project, which won the 2019 WHC Awareness and Community Engagement Project Award. The project includes teachers’ workshops, student field trips, special events and adult classes that reach approximately 400 people per year. Teachers and students participate in invasive species management, water quality testing, engineering with natural materials, geology observations and experiments, as well as nature walks, water cycle activities, food web demonstrations and conservation land use planning activities.
“This project gives students with little access to nature a chance to see the value of conservation and gives more advanced students a space to collect data and expand their studies,” said Karen Kish, project facilitator at Ward Hollow Wildlife Habitat.
“The habitat provides a unique student experience because of its history as an industrial landfill and range of habitat types, including an open water pond, extensive wetlands, streams, deciduous forest, talus slopes and meadows.”
In the future, the team at Dow says they are planning to build a micro-flush vermicomposting toilet that uses worms to decompose waste, instead of a rented portable toilet since there is no plumbing on site.
“The design is part of a global initiative for sustainability,” said Kish. “It will be one of only a few like it built in the US.”
|Site Name:||Ward Hollow Wildlife Habitat|
|Categories:||Avian, Awareness and Community Engagement, Bats, Education & Awareness, Invasive Species, Pollinators, Reptiles and Amphibians|
|Site Location:||South Charleston, West Virginia|
|Certification Level:||Gold Certified|
|WHC Index Link:||Search for project|