On behalf of Williams employees, the Arbor Day Foundation planted more than 35,000 trees in New Jersey and Virginia as part of efforts to restore natural wildlife habitats and impaired waterways.
The trees were planted this year in the Oakley and Powhatan Wildlife Management Areas in Virginia and the Roots to Rivers Reforestation Project in New Jersey, both within our operating areas.
Williams donated $60,000 for the projects, which promote wildlife habitat while helping stabilize streambanks, reduce runoff and improve water conditions.
The project was the idea of Williams engineer Kaitlyn Fitzgibbons, who was looking for a way to engage employees in environmental stewardship efforts. Originally, the trees were to be planted, some by employees, for Arbor Day 2020, but when the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the supply chain with tree farmers, it was put on hold.
But Williams employees did not get stumped by the set-back, instead working with the Arbor Day Foundation to later complete plantings in two forest areas.
“We are giving back to the environment in a really tangible way that you can see,” said Fitzgibbons.
Approximately 85 percent of New Jersey’s rivers are impaired from deforestation along the streams and floodplains. The Roots to Rivers Reforestation Project will help stabilize streambanks, reduce runoff and improve water conditions for aquatic wildlife. Additionally, these trees will restore wildlife including the endangered wood turtle, wood duck and bobcat. Endangered species in the area include the Indiana Bat, Dwarf Wedgemussel, Northern Long-Eared Bat and bog turtle.
Restoring southern yellow pine in Virginia’s Oakley and Powhatan Wildlife Management Areas will improve habitat for a variety of species including bobwhite quail, wild turkeys, deer, reptiles, red-cockaded woodpeckers, songbirds and other many nongame wildlife species, as well as several species of pollinators. Endangered species in this area include the James Spinymussel and Northern Long-Eared Bat.
“Williams is proud to support the Arbor Day Foundation, demonstrating our commitment to being responsible stewards of the environment,” said Mark Gebbia, Vice President of Environmental, Regulatory and Permitting Affairs at Williams. “Doing what is right for our environment and our communities is part of who we are at Williams and this project is one of the many ways we aim to preserve resources for future generations while making a positive impact today.”