To celebrate Arbor Day, the Russellville, Ala., facility brought together team members, the community and USDA agents to plant trees in the area.
“Quite a few of our facilities own timber land, pastures for processing wastewater, and grazing land for cattle, so you can’t just think about chicken, you have to think about all of it,” said Joel Pounders, Pilgrim's Russellville environmental manager.
Pilgrim's team members planted more than 500 trees on its property, including half a dozen large oaks at the hatchery entrance to provide a screen from the road, shade for neighboring cattle and shelter for wildlife.
The hundreds of seedlings planted on the borders of grazing land near the processing plant will also provide habitat, screening benefits and absorb more than a ton of carbon from the air annually. The trees are a different variety of pine from previous plantings and will introduce important diversity into the canopy.
Pilgrim's Russellville also partnered with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System to teach students from three local elementary schools about the importance of trees. Students learned how trees help cool us in the summer, warm us in the winter, feed us, shelter us and provide a range of products from chocolate to life-saving medicines.
The students received seedlings to take home and plant, as well as helped plant larger shade trees on the school grounds.