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Alabama company enhances environment with pandemic-friendly project

A Mobile business has found a way for their employees to help the environment amid COVID-19 restrictions on normal volunteer activities.

Evonik Corporation (EC) recently built and deployed more than 70 bird boxes on its property in Mobile County. EC Logistics Manager Helen Bush says the idea came about during a Partners for Environmental Progress membership meeting last fall.

“We watched a member talk about their quest to be certified for a National Wildlife Habitat Council project,” Bush said. “I realized we were already doing a lot of the same things so I looked at how joining that program could make our projects more meaningful to the Mobile community and natural wildlife here.”

Evonik Corporation builds bird habitats from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Bush and other department leaders settled on a project to replace more than 70 bird boxes on EC property. The boxes, constructed years ago to enhance habitats for bluebirds and ducks, had deteriorated.

“One of the projects we did in the past was to build natural habitats for birds – ducks, bluebirds, purple martins and osprey,” Bush said. “We realized some of our birdhouses needed to be replaced.”

Because COVID-19 restrictions prevented company employees from voluntarily gathering together to assemble the boxes, Bush enlisted the help of the company’s maintenance department to create a kit employees could take home. EC Water Compliance Specialist Chris Bolling said employees quickly signed up.

“We were very amazed we got that many volunteers,” Bolling said. “It’s good to see an industrial company cares about the environment and is willing to involve their employees to do something like this. It’s really been fun.”

“I didn’t even get one,” added Bush. “We ran out. People were eager to get one.”

The boxes were installed throughout the company property in January and February. EC Environmental Health and Safety Specialist Brian Bennett said employees are excited to see them.

“We actually had more people calling and asking when could we build more, when are you going to do this again,” Bennett said. “It’s been great so far. Just being involved in putting them out and then starting to see the birds interested in them, getting closer and closer and then starting to use the boxes – it really shows the importance of that to the company and to the employees.”

Bush said plans are underway to replace aging osprey nests and artificial habitats for bats and purple martins on EC property. She said the new osprey nests will need to be mounted on taller poles to get them higher than surrounding trees. Bush looks forward to resuming normal volunteer activities after the pandemic, but admits this project has been fun.

“It has been nice in a year where we haven’t been able to see each other every day to be able to do something for each other and for the site that enhances not only the environmental benefit we can make but also something the employees enjoy doing,” Bush said. “Hopefully it’s more beneficial for the birds but it has been a lot of fun for us and pretty rewarding.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)