VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Sept. 21, 2021 – Tucked away on a small plot behind the Virginia Natural Gas (VNG) headquarters, a dedication ceremony recently took place for a small portion of land transformed with plants chosen to attract threatened monarch butterflies and provide habitat for their journey across country.
The project was spearheaded by the company’s newest employee-led Evergreen Team. Volunteers rolled up their sleeves to plant a Monarch pollinator garden earlier this year. The garden will support the butterflies’ life cycle and serve as a new breeding habitat, rest stop and feeding grounds as the butterflies travel home along the East Coast every spring.
Today, the garden is home to many species of pollinators, birds and animals, who are attracted to its natural, pesticide-free setting.
“Among the many sustainability efforts at VNG, our Evergreen Team program leverages the passion, commitment and dedication of our employees to share in our sustainability-and environment-related initiatives,” said Robert Duvall, president of Virginia Natural Gas. “This includes joining in the effort to help save the disappearing habitat of eastern monarch butterflies.”
Each fall, millions of eastern monarch butterflies leave their summer breeding grounds in the northeastern U.S. and Canada and travel nearly 3,000 miles to reach overwintering grounds in southwestern Mexico. Unfortunately, their numbers have decreased by 80% over the past two decades.
Along their long journey across North America, the butterflies face multiple threats, including habitat loss, pesticides and others exacerbated by climate change.
“To help bring back these butterflies, we are building monarch waystations across our service territory, an urban intervention for the butterflies whose numbers have been declining drastically,” said Amy Mallett, Evergreen Team chair.
Working closely with The Virginia Living Museum, volunteers planted milkweed and pollinator flowers behind the Virginia Beach corporate office with hopes of building more gardens at other company service centers and throughout the local community.
“The new pollinator garden mimics the butterflies’ natural habitats where they tend to congregate near food and shelter,” added Mallett. “They like flowers and vegetation that have nectar, their main food source, and places they can hide to endure a storm.”
Virginia Natural Gas is using this new project to inspire and educate employees interested in preservation and conservation. The gardens are the perfect opportunity to work together with the community to support the life cycle of these pollinators, which serve an important role in our ecosystem.
“These efforts are just a few of the many ways Virginia Natural Gas is stepping up to be a responsible steward of the lands where we live and serve,” said Mallett. “The new Evergreen Team is excited about the butterfly garden initiative and looks forward to future efforts.”
Learn more about Virginia Natural Gas’ community initiatives by visiting virginianaturalgas.com/community.
About Virginia Natural Gas
Virginia Natural Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Virginia Natural Gas provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable natural gas service to more than 300,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in southeast Virginia. Consistently ranked in the top quartile for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates, the company also has been recognized by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and the Virginia Oil and Gas Association for its safety, innovation, environmental stewardship, community outreach and educational programs, and has been named Local Distribution Company of the Year four times since 2015. The company has been ranked by its business customers as one of the most Trusted Business Partners in the utility industry according to Cogent Reports, and as one of the Top Workplaces in Hampton Roads by Inside Business. For more information, visitvirginianaturalgas.com and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
About Southern Company Gas
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.3 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states with approximately 666,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas. Other non utility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit southerncompanygas.com.
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