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DTE Energy Recognized for Environmental Excellence

BALTIMORE, MD—Employees at DTE Energy’s River Rouge Power Plant Nature Area received international recognition for their contributions to wildlife habitat conservation and education at the Wildlife Habitat Council’s (WHC) 26th Annual Symposium, Celebrating Corporate Conservation. DTE Energy demonstrated its commitment to environmental stewardship and conservation education by achieving Corporate Lands for Learning certification at the River Rouge Power Plant Nature Area.

“The Wildlife Habitat Council connects corporations, conservation, and community to create habitat and increase biodiversity. The projects being honored today are the best examples of our model at work,” said Margaret O’Gorman, WHC President. “Congratulations to DTE Energy for its successful efforts towards habitat enhancement and biodiversity.”

The conservation education program at DTE Energy’s River Rouge Power Plant Nature Area connects with learners across the education spectrum. The employee-led education team uses a five-acre parcel adjacent to the plant to provide the community with a local wildlife habitat in a heavily urbanized and industrialized environment.

“DTE Energy is honored to receive this recognition for our commitment to the environment and the communities where we live and serve,” said Frank Warren, DTE Energy vice president, Fossil Generation. “We also appreciate the time and energy that our River Rouge Power Plant employees dedicate to the conservation education program. The results truly benefit DTE and all of our neighbors.”

To further awareness and use of the Nature Area, the team at River Rouge Power Plant partnered with Detroit Public Schools’ Office of Science and Michigan Alliance of Environmental and Outdoor Education to host two teacher workshops in May and June 2014.  The education team also hosts regular visits from nearby at-risk high school students at the Beacon Day Treatment Center. The students designed and planted a native wildflower demonstration garden, removed invasive species to preserve the garden’s educational and ecological function and regularly monitor wildlife activity. This school year, students are working on designing interpretive signs for the Nature Area to educate future visitors.

Area Boy Scouts also use the site to fulfill merit badge requirements. Scouts helped build bat and bluebird boxes, learned about camouflage as an adaptation for survival and engaged in other activities in working toward the Wildlife Conservation Pin and Bird Study Merit Badge. The education team at River Rouge Power Plant Nature Area also is developing site-relevant curriculum for school-age students and plans to repurpose a shipping container, converting it into an all-weather outdoor classroom. In addition, the team will hold an annual open house to inform the community about local wildlife, particularly the threatened eastern fox snake.

The River Rouge Power Plant Nature Area was one of 60 programs recognized at the recent Symposium as meeting the strict requirements of Corporate Lands for Learning certification. In addition, 241 programs received Wildlife at Work certification. Certification requirements are strict and require that programs apply for periodic renewal. Wildlife at Work certification recognizes outstanding wildlife habitat management efforts at corporate sites, and offers third-party validation of the benefits of such programs. Corporate Lands for Learning certification provides programs with third-party recognition for educational programs. There are currently 659 Wildlife at Work and 168 Corporate Lands for Learning programs worldwide.
 

Formed in 1988, the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) promotes and certifies habitat conservation and management on corporate lands through partnerships and education. WHC’s programs take corporate sustainability goals and objectives and translate them into tangible and measurable on-the-ground action. Through a focus on building collaboration for conservation with corporate employees, other conservation organizations, government agencies and community members, WHC programs focus on healthy ecosystems and connected communities. WHC-assisted wildlife habitat and conservation education programs are found in 44 states, the District of Columbia and 12 other countries. To learn more, visit www.wildlifehc.org.

DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan.  The DTE Energy portfolio also includes non-utility energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, midstream services and energy trading.  Information about DTE Energy is available at dteenergy.com, twitter.com/dte_energy and facebook.com/dteenergy.

Contacts:

Patricia Leidemer,  Wildlife Habitat Council, 240-247-0933, pleidemer@wildlifehc.org

Randi Berris,  DTE Energy, 313-235-5555, berrisr@dteenergy.com