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Celebrating Earth Day, making a difference every day

<p>Our employees dedicate themselves to helping the environment and making their communities better off. This Earth Day, we are highlighting some of the people and projects making a positive difference in the communities we serve.</p>
<p><b>Southern Nuclear</b></p>
<p>Southern Nuclear&#39;s Ken Darby oversees land management and wildlife habitat efforts at all three of our nuclear facilities, Plant Farley, Plant Hatch and Plant Vogtle. Darby is also a member of the Southern Company stewardship committee that works together with the National Fish and Wildlife Federation to review and award conservation grants for a number of projects in our southeastern footprint.</p>
<p>With Darby&#39;s help, all three nuclear facilities are also certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC). The WHC helps corporate landowners manage unused land to benefit wildlife&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" adhocenable="false">Learn more about the certifications</a>.</p>
<p><b>Southern Company Services<br>
</b>Southern Company Services research and development engineer Blair Farley took her passion for electric vehicles to a new level. Her research dove into all things electric transportation, like large industrial equipment, drive-train efficiencies and charging infrastructure.</p>
<p>She also helped the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) launch its &quot;Electrification&quot; program. The program extends beyond electric transportation and helps educate customers on a wider array of electric technologies for heating, manufacturing and more.</p>
<p>Farley also works with auto manufacturers to &quot;figure out what the future of electronic transportation looks like.&quot;</p>
<p><b>Gulf Power<br>
</b>Artificial lights are known to disrupt and disorient adult and baby sea turtles alike, especially during mating season and after egg-hatchings. Gulf Power realized this and stepped into action to develop softer outdoor lighting.</p>
<p>In Pensacola Beach, they placed lighting poles throughout the Casino Beach parking lot and installed 99 LED light fixtures.</p>
<p>The new lights are more energy efficient and also reduce the glow of light that affects turtles&#39; nests and the turtles&#39; journeys back to the sea.</p>
<p>As a result of the success of the Casino Beach parking lot, Gulf Power expanded turtle-friendly lighting to pedestrian crosswalks and a nearby subdivision entrance.</p>
<p><b>Alabama Power</b><br>
Mike Clelland, an Alabama Power environmental specialist, has loved the water ever since he was a kid, and he continued that love of water by leading the company&#39;s cleanup program, Renew Our Rivers.</p>
<p>Renew Our Rivers removes trash from Alabama waterways and has enlisted the help of thousands of volunteers for nearly 17 years. Renew Our Rivers has collected more than 14 million pounds of trash from the waters in Alabama.</p>
<p>The program has since become one of the Southeast&#39;s largest organized river-system cleanups of its kind, and volunteers pull debris from all over Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and northwest Florida.&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" adhocenable="false">Learn more about Renew Our Rivers and see when cleanup events are happening near you</a>.</p>
<p><b>Mississippi Power<br>
</b>Thanks to a grant from Mississippi Power&#39;s Environmental Stewardship Council, Ocean Springs High School science teacher Bryan Butler spends a lot of time in three greenhouses behind the school. He oversees fish and aquatic plants tended by his students in the greenhouses.</p>
<p>The aquaculture program at Ocean Springs High is the only one of its kind in the state. Students use waste from the various fish, like koi, tilapia, catfish and speckled trout, to fertilize vegetables grown in a water-based environment. This process is called aquaponics.</p>
<p>The grant from Mississippi Power allowed the school to build a deck for a koi tank, two vegetable beds and several planter boxes.</p>
<p>Students say they love being involved in Butler&#39;s program and that it gives them a great opportunity to get out of the classroom and apply what he is teaching them.</p>
<p><b>Georgia Power<br>
</b>When the once plentiful Georgia aster started disappearing in the Southeast, organizations wanted to know why and took a deeper look at what happened to the flowering plant. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service and Georgia Power representatives conducted a survey of Georgia Power&#39;s right-of-way that brought something new to light.</p>
<p>In their surveys, they found new populations of the aster on the right-of-way properties, 12 new species in fact. Many state and national agencies, with the help of private organizations, worked together to save the plant and keep it off of the federal endangered species list.</p>
<p>The survey is part of Georgia Power&#39;s conservation agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to apply proactive measures to keep the aster plentiful.</p>