Monday, November 8, 2010

GM Corvette Assembly Plant Begins Development of New Onsite Wildlife Habitat

Plant Manager Dave Tatman and UAW Chairman Shane Colvard Plant Tree Together

For 29 years, the General Motors Bowling Green Corvette Plant has been committed to actions that restore and preserve the environment while building America’s favorite sports car – the Chevrolet Corvette. The Corvette Plant continues to demonstrate its commitment to the environment through its development of a new 75-acre onsite Wildlife Habitat, which will be open to the public in the spring of 2011. At 9:00 am on Friday, November 12, 2010, Plant Manager Dave Tatman and UAW Local 2164 Chairman Shane Colvard will join together to plant the second tree on the habitat. The first tree was planted by WKU’s very own Big Red in conjunction with the plant’s WKU Red is Green partnership.

The Wildlife Habitat project will be broken up into three phases over the next three years:

Phase A began September 27, 2010 and is estimated for completion in spring 2011. Approximately 25 acres will be bush hogged and disked for the grasses and tree planting areas. The initial planting of 400 saplings will be utilized as buffer zones. A driveway and parking area with picnic tables will be placed at the entrance.

Phase B is estimated for completion in spring 2012. During this phase shelters will be placed over the picnic tables, a one-mile walking/running trail will be made, and old tank saddles will be removed. Endangered species will be transplanted into the habitat, and the construction for wetlands will be initiated.

Phase C is estimated for completion in spring 2013. During Phase C the wetland will be constructed, and an additional 12 acres will be planted with wildflower and grasses - bringing the total planted area to 37 acres. The parking lot will expand as needed, and solar technology enhancements will be made. There will be a sink hole path and viewing location for education and Geological purposes.

The Corvette Plant is open to allowing the community to use the Wildlife Habitat for projects and educational purposes. Plant Manager Dave Tatman has been a part of this type of important environmental venture before, although on a much smaller scale. Tatman says, “The Corvette Plant is excited to begin work on the habitat and to give back to the community by opening this natural environment to the public. The opportunities are endless with a habitat like this. We want area schools to bring their classes to the habitat for outdoor teaching sessions. We invite local groups, such as Boy and Girl Scouts, to use the habitat for tree planting projects, restoration of habitat and native wildflowers and grasses, construction of bird/bat houses and butterfly habitats, and more.”

According to Tim Bartee, District Conservationist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), “The diversity this project will provide will not only be an eye appealing wildlife habitat but will be an excellent resource for educational projects due to the karst geology and cave systems we have in central Kentucky. The project involves cultivating a wildlife habitat and public education - both important to our agency mission of Helping People Help the Land.”

If you have ideas or would like to help with the Wildlife Habitat, please contact Olin Desonier, GM Corvette Plant environmental engineer, at 392-6457.