Unimin Corp. receives International Habitat Conservation Award

Employees at Unimin Corporation’s Voca plant received international recognition for their contributions to wildlife habitat conservation at the Wildlife Habitat Council’s (WHC) 19th Annual Symposium, The Value of Green. Unimin demonstrates its commitment to environmental stewardship and increasing native biodiversity by achieving Wildlife at Work recertification at the Voca Plant.’ ‘For 20 years, the Wildlife Habitat Council has led ground-breaking initiatives on more than two million acres of land for the benefit of wildlife and conservation education,’ said Robert Johnson, WHC President. ‘WHC members embrace their role as leaders in environmental stewardship at the local, national and global level, voluntarily managing their lands to support sustainable ecosystems and sustainable societies. Congratulations to Unimin for stepping up to meet the challenges of creating a healthy and biodiverse natural world.’ ‘The Voca plant lies in central Texas in what is commonly referred to as Texas Hill Country. Employees began habitat enhancements on the site during the plant’s construction over a decade ago. Once construction completed, employees formalized a wildlife management team. The team manages 350 of the site’s 608 acres for wildlife habitat. Team members aim to provide enhanced habitat for wildlife before, during and after mining. Employees converted previously-mined areas into a wildflower meadow, and they routinely mow and overseed the meadow for maintenance. Boy Scout and Cub Scout troops placed artificial nesting structures for eastern bluebirds, purple martins, and bats in and around the wildflower meadow. Projects also include cleaning and observing the nesting structures annually. The team works with a leaseholder that manages a natural hay pasture on the site’s property to provide winter food and cover for wildlife. A permanent wildflower meadow perimeter surrounds the pasture.’ The wildlife team maintains a former farm property that contains natural scrub-shrub habitat and provides a balance of the four vital wildlife habitat components (food, water, cover, space) for amphibians, birds, reptiles, insects and mammals. The team worked with area students to clean up an abandoned pig farm and plans to continue expanding its restoration activities.’ The Voca Plant was one of 173 sites recognized at the 2007 Symposium for creating a Wildlife at Work program. In addition, 69 Corporate Lands for Learning programs reach thousands of learners from schools and scout groups to master gardeners and university researchers. Since 1990, WHC has certified 432 programs worldwide. The certification program recognizes outstanding wildlife habitat management and environmental education efforts at corporate sites, and offers third-party validation of the benefits of such programs. Certification requirements are strict and require that sites apply for periodic renewal.’ Celebrating 20 years in conservation, the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) is a nonprofit, non-lobbying organization dedicated to increasing the quality and amount of wildlife habitat on corporate, private and public lands. WHC devotes its resources to building partnerships with corporations and conservation groups to create solutions that balance the demands of economic growth with the requirements of a healthy, biodiverse and sustainable environment. More than 2.4 million acres in 46 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 16 other countries are managed for wildlife through WHC-assisted projects. To learn more, visit www.wildlifehc.org.

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