Pollinator Garden Donation Compliments JCP&L’s Tree Donation Efforts

Newly-planted garden will serve as a living classroom for students at Howell school
Pollinator Garden JCP&L

A new pollinator garden in Monmouth County will provide a safe haven for vital animals and insects that help keep our planet healthy and serve as a living classroom in the process.

Nearly a dozen members of Jersey Central Power & Light’s (JCP&L) Green Team volunteered to plant the garden, donated by its parent company FirstEnergy, at Howell’s Aldrich Elementary School on April 12. They were joined by students who ventured out to watch as part of a science lesson along with school and district administrators.

Many pollinator populations are in decline due to a loss in feeding and nesting habitats, according to the nonprofit organization Pollinator Partnership. These insects and small animals, such as birds, bats, bees, butterflies and beetles, pollinate plants and help sustain the ecosystem. Plants play a crucial role in providing natural resources, like fruits and vegetables, and preventing soil erosion. They also store carbon dioxide, helping clean the atmosphere.

“Pollinators are desperately in need of safe habitats as more and more areas are developed. Planting this garden here in an area where it can thrive and is educational for the kids in our community was an easy choice,” said Ray Vender, Advanced Forestry Specialist at FirstEnergy and the chair of JCP&L’s Green Team.

Photos of JCP&L Green Team volunteers planting the pollinator garden can be found on the company’s Flickr page.

The Green Team planted 15 varieties of native flowering plants and grasses, such as serviceberry, goldenrod, coneflower, bayberry, butterfly weed and red buds. Additionally, all of the students at the school each received a sapling and a packet of FirstEnergy’s “Bee The Change” seed mix. The mix is one of two the company developed with a horticulturist in Meadville, Pennsylvania, to aid in developing pollinator-friendly habitats.

To help protect pollinators, FirstEnergy aims to develop 225 acres of new pollinator habitats across its five-state service territory by 2025. With 214 acres already seeded as of the end of 2023, the company is well on its way to achieving that goal.

Just yards away from the school’s new pollinator garden, trees are growing along a hillside – another donation from FirstEnergy that was planted by JCP&L Green Team volunteers in October after a tornado damaged dozens of trees last April. 

The pollinator garden donations are an expansion of FirstEnergy’s tree planting donations. Since April 2021, FirstEnergy has planted and donated more than 67,000 trees through its service territory, including more than 3,200 in New Jersey just last year.

Learn more about FirstEnergy’s commitment to the environment at firstenergycorp.com/environment.html.


Last Modified: May 1, 2024