The last thing you think of when you think of Chrysler (or the automotive world in general for that matter) is probably plant life. That may just be a prejudice that should be thrown away.
After the long, rough winter southeast Michigan endured it is no surprise people would stop and appreciate all of the flora and fauna of spring. That is exactly what is happening with employees and visitors to the Chrysler World Headquarters and Technology Center (CTC) as they look around the grounds.
The Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA) and Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) have taken note, and awarded FCA US, formerly the Chrysler Group, for how it has enhanced and maintained its property so it benefits both the employees and environment. For this and the leadership in corporate conservation, FCA US, along with its partner Brickman Group of Taylor, were awarded the Wildlife at Work certification by WHC.
“Maintaining and preserving the natural environment of the FCA US headquarters complex was part of the master plan when this facility was first conceived,” said Brian Harlow, vice president of manufacturing, FCA North America. “Caring for this campus is something we all take great pride in and we are honored to be acknowledged for our efforts.”
At 5.4 million sq. ft., the FCA US has the second largest floor space under one roof in the US that sits on a 504-acre lot of land where 15,000 people come each day to do cutting-edge scientific research, industry-leading creative design, vehicle development, engineering, manufacturing, marketing and corporate leadership.
The complex has a natural wooded area, but has also included 5,000 shade and evergreen trees. There is also a nature trail that goes 4.3 miles and an activity area with a softball field, basketball courts, volleyball courts and picnic tables.
Every week people mow, prune, fertilize, and control the disease and insects on the 150 acres of lawn and in the 200,000 sq. ft. of landscape beds. Part of this titanic undertaking includes 3,200 cubic yards of mulch spread in the beds annually.
The company continually adds to it. So far, it has added river cobble and a combination of evergreen and flowering shrubs mixed with perennials to enhance the visual appeal of the property.
With all the work and care done, along with four natural wetlands on the property, it is no surprise wildlife has been attracted to the area. Among the animals calling the auto headquarters home are great blue herons, double-crested cormorants, wood ducks, cottontail rabbits and Blanding’s turtles. The wetlands, which are incredibly important to the herons, has become a rookery or nesting grounds for them.
Bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds and bats have also claimed the area. This is largely because of the pollinator garden, which hosts 15 species of plants that act as the animals’ food source. All are native to the area. The plants were chosen to provide in food in spring, summer and fall then be covered in winter.
Bat boxes and a Monarch butterfly waystation also to draw in and encourage their arrival.
It all goes to show that even a mechanized world can find a harmony with nature with some effort.
Photo credit: FCA US LLC