Pfizer Earns Top Habitat Conservation Award

Pfizer Earns Top Habitat Conservation Award

Pfizer employee volunteers have won the Wildlife Habitat Council’s Corporate Habitat of the Year award for their efforts to restore and enhance wildlife habitat on the company’s 2,200-plus acre Kalamazoo manufacturing site.

The path to the highest award began with international recognition of Pfizer’s contributions to wildlife habitat conservation at the Wildlife Habitat Council’s 15th Anniversary Symposium, Collaborations for Conservation: Maximizing Landscape Potential. The first plateau was reached with WHC’s recent recertification of the wildlife program at Pfizer’s Kalamazoo manufacturing complex. Successfully completing the WHC recertification process demonstrates a company’s commitment to environmental stewardship and increasing native biodiversity.

Each year, an independent panel designates one recertified site Corporate Habitat of the Year. As a recipient of the most prestigious of WHC’s National Conservation Awards, Pfizer demonstrates that employing exemplary practices and approaches helps protect our natural resources and the environment on a highly cost-efficient basis. The judging panel includes a representative from a conservation organization, a government agency and a corporation.

“When WHC was formed in 1988, the founders conceived a new and innovative concept of bringing together conservation and business. WHC assists corporate landowners in providing valuable wildlife habitat on their properties. Pioneering approaches to habitat management provide our members with the knowledge and tools to enhance and restore land, water and living resources. Congratulations to Pfizer for their commendable efforts toward the restoration and enhancement of wildlife habitat. Through knowledge and passion, we can promote a greater understanding of the natural world,” said Bill Howard, WHC President.

The Pfizer Kalamazoo manufacturing complex is located in the City of Portage in Kalamazoo County, Mich. This is the largest of Pfizer’s Kalamazoo County sites, which total 4,400 acres and involve other WHC projects as well.

A Wildlife Management Team (WMT) of Pfizer employee volunteers from various company operations throughout the area works closely with the Kalamazoo Nature Center Community Wildlife Program and the WHC to develop and implement wildlife management programs. The WMT operates nest box monitoring programs, maintains native prairie and grassland habitat, manages and restores habitat conditions in wetlands and woodlands and conducts employee and community educational outreach activities.

The artificial cavity-nesting project is the centerpiece of the program in Portage. About 35 employees volunteer weekly to monitor more than 200 boxes along six trails on several Pfizer campuses. The boxes attract Eastern bluebirds, tree swallows, house wrens and black-capped chickadees. This year a 16-cavity purple martin apartment was installed adjacent to Upjohn Pond. The prairie and grassland habitat project evolved from employees’ desire to reestablish native grasslands to provide habitat and educational outreach and to demonstrate the area’s botanical heritage. The program began in 1992 with the restoration of two former drainage basins. Additional prairie plots were planted in 1996, 1997 and 2001.

Corporate woodlands have been managed for wildlife habitat, timber production and aesthetics for many years. The Portage complex is home to about 200 acres of mature woods and another 130 acres of tree plantings on former agricultural land. The WMT plans eventually to merge two stands as a single woodland corridor. Other projects include wetland enhancement, an invasive species management program that employs Galerucella beetles to control purple loosestrife and educational activities and field trips for employees and the community.

The Pfizer Portage site was one of 130 WHC programs recognized at the 2003 Symposium. Since 1990, WHC has certified 334 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.