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Alabama Power’s Environmental Affairs team revitalizes ‘EcoScape’ at Southern Environmental Center

Every day, Alabama Power’s Environmental Affairs team works to ensure the company is meeting the standards set by the state and federal governments for protecting the air, land and water. They work closely with partners to protect Alabama’s biological diversity, endangered species and the state’s natural beauty.

That’s their job. But their passion to protect the environment is also reflected in how they volunteer to support communities and organizations that power a better Alabama.

This month, more than 75 members of the Environmental Affairs team grabbed shovels and rakes to revitalize an educational garden and preserve in Birmingham that serves both students and the broader community.

Over two days, culminating on April 29 – Arbor Day – the Alabama Power volunteers planted trees and native plants, weeded beds and cleared walking trails at the Southern Environmental Center “EcoScape” at Birmingham-Southern College – putting a fresh springtime shine on the 25-year-old garden.

Alabama Power volunteers help improve Southern Environmental Center ‘EcoScape’ from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Each year, thousands of primary and secondary students visit the center, where they learn about Alabama’s natural resources and how to preserve them through water conservation, recycling and other simple habit changes. The center also co-manages Turkey Creek Nature Preserve in Jefferson County, a biologically important site that is home to three endangered fish species. The preserve is also a recreational and educational attraction, drawing visitors from across the region.

Susan Comensky, Alabama Power’s vice president for Environmental Affairs, said the EcoScape volunteer project was an opportunity to support an important environmental education center and community asset while also bringing the Environmental Affairs team together for some fun and fellowship.

“This is a great way for us to be a team together but also serve our community at the same time,” Comensky said, taking a moment’s break from the manual labor.

“They use this space not only for students and education … but they also use it for the community in terms of veterans come out here and special-needs children come out here, and they benefit from it and from learning about it at the same time.”

Jason Carlee, a manager in the Environmental Affairs team, said: “At Alabama Power, we believe in being citizens where we serve.

“Our Environmental Affairs department puts a lot of effort into preserving the natural resources in our neighborhoods, and across the state,” Carlee added. He noted the team’s close involvement in the Renew Our Rivers campaign, a volunteer collaboration between Alabama Power and multiple community organizations that has removed millions of pounds of trash from Alabama rivers and streams.

Roald Hazelhoff, director of the Southern Environmental Center, lauded the Environmental Affairs team’s hard work to rejuvenate the EcoScape so that it can continue to serve students and the community for many years to come.

“They planted over 80 trees – that’s enormous,” Hazelhoff said. He said the freshly weeded beds will be replanted with native species grown at Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, which also has received support from Alabama Power and the Alabama Power Foundation.

“This was a tremendous help to us,” Hazelhoff added. “After 25 years – to give this garden not only a cleaning, but to put in the roots for the future.”

Click here to learn more about Alabama Power’s efforts to protect Alabama’s natural resources.