The Wire

Energy news from Omaha Public Power District


Celebrating the planet and its future

May 2, 2023 | Wire Staff | community, environment, outreach, trees
arbor day earth day
OPPD employees help students make pollinator seed balls during the Arbor Day celebration at Lauritzen Gardens. The seed balls, made with Midwest wildflower seeds, can be used to grow pollinator habitats.
arbor day earth day
Students work with Aaron Hollloway, left, and Andrew Edson to plant a tree at Lauritzen Gardens.

Arbor Day

About 2,000 local school children visited Lauritzen Gardens last week to celebrate Arbor Day. Chris Vrtiska, OPPD’s wildlife & natural resources specialist, led a crew who helped students make pollinator seed balls to take home. The seed balls contained Midwest wildflower seeds, which can be used provide pollinator habitats. Aaron Holloway, senior utility forester, and Andrew Edson, utility forester, spoke with a group of third-graders from Golden Hills Elementary about proper tree planting for safety and electricity reliability. The foresters then enlisted the students’ help planting a northern catalpa tree outside of the visitor center.

Earth Day

OPPD also participated in Earth Day events again this year. Visitors to OPPD’s booth could learn about renewable energy and the utility’s Greener Together program. The Greener Together Program, launched last year, is designed to help customers collaborate to support community environmental projects throughout the greater Omaha area. Every project funded will have a focus on making a positive, long-term impact on the community’s sustainability. Mother Nature wasn’t very cooperative in terms of weather for the city’s April 22 celebration at Elmwood Park, but the cold weather and wind didn’t scare away crowds who attended to celebrate the planet and learn more about environmental sustainability. The sun was shining April 29, when OPPD participated in another Earth Day celebration, the Party for the Planet at Henry Doorly Zoo.

arbor day earth day
Eric BenSalah, energy consultant, and Britney Gibilisco, product manager, at the Party for the Planet Earth Day celebration at the Henry Doorly Zoo. BenSalah is better known as Mr. E to the students whose classrooms he visits as part of OPPD’s Energy Education Program.

A cleaner, more sustainable future

OPPD’s participation in both of these events reflects the utility’s core values and mission to provide affordable, reliable, environmentally sensitive energy services. Educating customers on the importance of planting the “right tree in the right place,” to avoid interference with power lines, is one way to help ensure reliability. OPPD also works to be a good steward of the environment, including protecting wildlife and ecosystems; increasing the use of renewable energy; and reducing emissions as part of our path to net-zero carbon by 2050.

To learn more about our strategic vision to make OPPD cleaner, more sustainable and more innovative, check out our Powering the Future to 2050 page.

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