NJ Audubon Corporate Stewardship Council Member Verizon takes on Second Major Project
to Benefit Wildlife
With the success of their habitat restoration efforts on their Basking Ridge, NJ campus that earned Verizon the Governor's Environmental Excellence award in 2007 and their involvement with NJ Audubon's Corporate Stewardship Council, Verizon has once again partnered with New Jersey Audubon and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to transform another one of its corporate campuses into an area beneficial to wildlife and to the community at large.
Early successional habitat restoration was the main focus on Verizon’s 22-acre central utility plant in Freehold, with NJ Audubon and USFWS assisting in invasive non-native vegetation removals, installation of nesting boxes and more than 1,000 native trees and shrubs planted in riparian areas. The project also included the conversion of the 'corporate lawn' into a wildflower and native grassland meadow to benefit bird and pollinator species. By encouraging the growth of native vegetation, the property draws pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, which in turn helps local agriculture so this habitat is benefitting neighboring farms. In addition the plantings help to improve water quality by providing a buffer between the roads and the waterways on site to help filter run-off.
Early successional habitat (grasslands and shrublands) is one of the most endangered ecosystems in the United States, and they also contain higher proportions of state-listed butterflies and moths than other natural community types. It is important that landowners take an active role in managing these habitats for the variety of plants and animals that inhabit them. The vegetative make up of early successional habitat is variable and dynamic depending on the length of time since abandonment, management history, and other factors that can affect the long-term stability and composition of plants that occupy the site. The management of the restoration areas at Verizon will be the use of management mowing techniques to increase the longevity of the habitat patch so to increase the length of time that early-successional wildlife species will occupy the area.
“Corporate giants like Verizon don’t have to leave enormous footprints on our environment,” said Samuel Delgado, vice president of external affairs for Verizon New Jersey. “In fact, Verizon’s goal is to make the least possible environmental impact and to thoughtfully recreate a natural habitat at our facilities for native vegetation and animal species.”
“The New Jersey Audubon Society applauds Verizon as a national leader showcasing real, meaningful wildlife conservation on private lands,” said Eric Stiles, President Elect of New Jersey Audubon. “Native grasslands and monarchs are replacing the industrial chemical cocktail lawns of the 20th century. We hope other companies take notice and follow suit on their corporate campuses. It would be good for the environment and healthier for their communities. It also lowers their operation costs and its fun for their employees,” Stiles said.