Since 2000, ExxonMobil has partnered with the Wildlife Habitat Council to create an educational community asset for local schools and area residents complete with nature trails, a wildlife education building and programs led by ExxonMobil volunteers, who put in nearly 32,000 hours every year.
One such volunteer is Tara Bazille, an ExxonMobil employee and member of the Wildlife Habitat Team. Tara leads educational tours and events at the park, which is certified as a “Lands for Learning” site under the Wildlife Habitat Council’s program.
One of the activities Tara leads for children from local schools is tree planting; the group places more than 100 saplings every year. She also teaches students the importance of environmental conservation and lessons like how measuring mature trees can provide information about the health of the ecosystem.
“The kids come to me and say, ‘This is the most fun I’ve ever had! This is the best day of my life!’” Tara says. “And that just touches me because something as simple as planting a tree I might take for granted, but to them, that’s a memory they’re going to think about forever. That’s the best part of it for me.”
Tara became involved in the wildlife center through her job as a fusion emission first-line supervisor at the nearby ExxonMobil petrochemical complex, which employs almost 6,000 people.
Ultimately, transforming this land into a new ecosystem could very well inspire a new wave of conservationists who are uniquely suited to finding new solutions to tomorrow’s challenges.
Check out the images below to see Tara and students in action.