Union Pacific Helps Fontenelle Forest Save Trees in Nebraska

Fontenelle Forest staff member uses waste bins | MR

A Fontenelle Forest staff member uses the new recycling bins, which help divert waste from the forest and the landfill.

The average American throws away between four to five pounds of waste each day. Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, Nebraska, is doing its part to recycle this waste back into the supply chain and, in the process, benefit the environment.

With the help of Union Pacific’s Community Ties Giving Program, Fontenelle Forest recently set out four recycling bins at its visitor center.

The goal is to keep the conservation area clean and efficiently sort recyclable waste while informing the public about the benefits of recycling. For example, did you know that recycling 1 ton of paper can save 17 trees?

“Fontenelle Forest is a conservation organization at heart,” said Michelle Foss, director of operations for Fontenelle Forest. “Conservation is our goal not only in our projects and outreach, but in our operations too.”

The Forest’s sustainability initiatives are something Union Pacific supports.

“We are proud to partner with The Forest on this small but mighty project,” said Todd Rynaski, chief accounting, risk and compliance officer for Union Pacific and Fontenelle Forest board member. “We share a commitment to finding more sustainable pathways forward, and every piece of waste diverted from the landfills helps conserve resources and protects our environment for future generations.”

Founded in 1913, Fontenelle Forest owns and manages both the Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue and the Neale Woods Nature Reserve in Omaha. Over 145,000 people visit Fontenelle Forest each year, with as many as 700 visitors in a single day during its peak season.

As part of its conservation efforts, Fontenelle Forest also engages in habitat restoration, deer management and invasive species control. The Forest offers educational opportunities for school groups and others, along with conservation exhibits.

In 2023, Union Pacific’s Community Ties Giving Program proudly awarded nearly $5.1 million in local grants, benefiting 543 nonprofit organizations across its 23-state system. The small- and medium-sized grants support initiatives centered around the railroad’s key areas of giving: safety, workforce development, community spaces and environmental sustainability.

The application process is open April 1-May 31, 2024, and is competitive, ensuring a fair opportunity for all eligible entities. To read more about Union Pacific’s Community Ties Giving Program or apply for a grant, visit up.com/communityties.

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