Flint Creek Plant sponsors Earth Day activities, recognized as Wildlife Habitat Council Signature of Sustainability

GENTRY, Ark., April 18, 2008 – Gentry school students and local 4-H Club members are celebrating Earth Day with classroom programs on Friday and outdoor programs on Saturday sponsored by AEP Southwestern Electric Power Company’s Flint Creek Power Plant. The AEP SWEPCO plant also will be recognized as a Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) Signature of Sustainability on Saturday.

“We have year-round involvement by schools and the community in our environmental stewardship activities at the plant, and Earth Day gives us a chance to highlight these activities,” said Plant Manager Dan Lee.

“We are pleased to be recognized by the Wildlife Habitat Council and be a part of the Signature of Sustainability tour in 2008,” said Senior Chemist Terry Stanfill, who spearheads the Northwest Arkansas power plant’s wildlife habitat efforts. “This recognition from an international conservation organization is shared by the plant, our employees, and the many volunteers and community partners who have made our habitat enhancement projects successful.”

A plaque commemorating the Signature of Sustainability designation will be presented by WHC Vice President of Programs Marcia Maslonek. A Signature of Sustainability is a habitat program that demonstrates the potential of private sector involvement for biodiversity conservation and conservation education. Each Signature of Sustainability is unique, but all go above and beyond certification standards for WHC’s Wildlife at WorkSM program. Programs were selected by a Blue Ribbon Committee of judges and were evaluated based on a ranking system with points given per level of involvement in focus areas, such as environmental education, habitat enhancement and community involvement. Flint Creek Plant was one of only 21 WHC-certified programs to receive this designation.

During one-hour classroom programs on Friday, students from grades K-6 at the Gentry Primary School, Gentry Intermediate School and Gentry Middle School will see presentations including:

  • Lynn Sciumbato will have a program about raptors featuring her live birds that she rehabilitates at her Morning Star Wildlife Rehab Center.
  • Ray Wiggs with the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission will have a program on reptiles featuring live snakes.
  • Lori Spencer, a professional interpreter who does programs at Mount Magazine State Park, will talk about pollinators. Considered a state butterfly expert, she is author of the new book, “Butterflies and Moths of Arkansas.”

On Saturday, activities shift to Flint Creek Plant’s award-winning Eagle Watch / Nature Trail, located 1 mile west of Gentry on Highway 12.

Gentry Middle School 6th grade science class will work on their butterfly garden and planting nectar and host plants they are growing in their classroom. The Bloomfield Community 4-H Club will be working on some more flower beds. The Cornerstone 4-H Club will plant a food plot with seeds provided by the Game & Fish Acres for Wildlife Program. The whole group will assist in planting paw paw trees and wafer ash trees that are host plants for zebra and giant swallowtail butterflies. The Saturday morning event also includes planting about one-half acre of native prairie grass and wildflowers in a prairie restoration area.

After the work is finished the group will hear a program about pollinators presented by the University of Arkansas Entomology Department.

The WHC Signature of Sustainability presentation will wrap up the Saturday activities.

WHC announced in November 2007 that Flint Creek Plant and the local Bloomfield Community 4-H Club were recognized for a number of conservation programs:
  • “NAPPC WHC Pollinator Protection Award” for practices promoting population of bees, butterflies, birds and other pollinators.
  • Wildlife at Work program re-certification for demonstrating commitment to environmental stewardship and increasing native biodiversity.
  • “2007 Community Partner of the Year – Bloomfield Community 4-H Club” for the club’s continuing wildlife habitat enhancement work as a key partner in the Flint Creek Eagle Watch / Nature Trail.
  • Signature of Sustainability to be highlighted as part of a media tour during 2008 as the organization celebrates its 20th anniversary.

Flint Creek also maintains a WHC-certified Corporate Lands for LearningSM program that features outdoor classroom activities that involve the community in teaching and learning about conservation.

The 528-megawatt, coal-fueled power plant in Gentry, Ark., is owned by AEP’s SWEPCO subsidiary and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC). It is operated by SWEPCO and has been producing electricity for Northwest Arkansas for the past 29 years. Approximately 700 acres of the plant’s 1,600 acres are designated as wildlife habitat.

Flint Creek’s Eagle Watch Nature Area has been recognized by many organizations. In early 2007, Audubon Arkansas designated the Flint Creek property as an “Important Bird Area.”

Other awards and certifications have come from the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, Arkansas Environmental Federation and the Arkansas Wildlife Federation.

Celebrating 20 years in conservation, the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) is a nonprofit, non-lobbying organization dedicated to increasing the quality and amount of wildlife habitat on corporate, private and public lands. WHC devotes its resources to building partnerships with corporations and conservation groups to create solutions that balance the demands of economic growth with the requirements of a healthy, biodiverse and sustainable environment. More than 2.4 million acres in 46 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 16 other countries are managed for wildlife through WHC-assisted projects. To learn more, visit www.wildlifehc.org.

SWEPCO serves more than 464,000 customers in three states, including 112,000 in western Arkansas, 176,000 in Northwest Louisiana, and 176,000 in East and North Texas. SWEPCO’s headquarters are in Shreveport, La. News releases and other information about SWEPCO can be found at www.swepco.com.

American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio. News releases and other information about AEP can be found at www.aep.com.

Peter Main
Corporate Communications
479-973-2526 (office)
479-409-7857 (mobile)

Wildlife Habitat Council
Brad Cardwell
Communications Manager