Feature image projects

Science students at The King’s Academy use the school’s greenhouse to plant milkweed seeds which were harvested from Ready Mix USA’s Knoxville pollinator habitats

September 20, 2018.

READY MIX USA – Knoxville Pollinator Conservation Program

Ready Mix USA’s Blount Avenue Office and Truck Maintenance Shop in Knoxville, TN becomes the first CEMEX ready-mix facility to achieve Conservation Certification from the Wildlife Habitat Council.

CEMEX

Pollinators around the globe are in trouble and the iconic Monarch butterfly is no exception. Since the early 90’s, Monarch populations have dropped by 90% as habitat loss continues to take its toll. The Monarch butterfly relies on native milkweed plants to complete its life-cycle and fuel its 2,000-mile migration to overwintering grounds in Mexico. Female monarchs lay their eggs on the milkweed and the caterpillars feed exclusively on the leaves of the milkweed plant.

Ready Mix USA operates facilities throughout the migration path of the Monarch butterfly and currently maintains pollinator habitats at 7 of their facilities in East Tennessee. Since 2016, the RMUSA Blount Avenue Office and Shop have been doing their part to help by planting milkweed and other native, pollinator-friendly vegetation in designated on-site habitat areas. Thanks to the creativity of local maintenance crews, an old 55-gallon drum was also re-purposed to create a milkweed planter box. In addition to creating habitat for native pollinators on-site, RMUSA seeks to raise awareness and promote conservation efforts in the community.

In 2017, RMUSA partnered with science students at The King’s Academy (TKA), a local day and boarding school, by helping them create their own pollinator habitat in the school’s outdoor classroom. In addition, hundreds of milkweed seeds were harvested from plants in RMUSA’s habitats and donated to TKA science students who are working to raise the plants in the school’s greenhouse as a sustainable source of milkweed for the program. The school’s pollinator habitat and milkweed project are used to fulfill state academic standards by facilitating hands-on learning of the science curriculum.

In 2018, habitats at both TKA and RMUSA were expanded and enhanced with additional plants and weed barriers. In February 2018, RMUSA extended the message of conservation by speaking at the Tennessee Concrete Association Annual Convention in Nashville, Tennessee and encouraging others in the concrete industry to participate in pollinator conservation efforts. In August 2018 the facility became the first CEMEX ready-mix facility to achieve Conservation Certification from the Wildlife Habitat Council. The certification of the Knoxville Pollinator Conservation Program demonstrates that even small facilities can have a positive impact for conservation.