Wildlife and Industry Together (W.A.I.T.)
By Dick Sloane
A historic overview:
NIEHS was awarded W.A.I.T. certification 4/23/05, becoming the first Research Triangle Park tenant to achieve this recognition.
W.A.I.T. stands for Wildlife And Industry Together (WAIT). It is a prestigious program managed in NC by the North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF), containing a fast-growing family of North Carolina workplaces that are practicing and promoting wildlife stewardship. WAIT benefits wildlife, communities, and the workplace, exhibiting a true win-win partnership. WAIT is a workplace stewardship effort to maximize portions of property for wildlife while developing environmental education opportunities for employees and the local community.
Some of the NIEHS programs highlighted in the certification include:
- Our long-standing bluebird house program that’s been in place for nearly 40 years. Approximately 50 houses are cleaned each year. Started in 1972 by former employee Grant MacNichols, thousands of bluebirds have been raised through the years.
- The Institute’s Earth Day celebrations have served as a popular employee continuing education program since 1991.
- The Self-Guided Nature Trail around Discovery Lake, which opened February 2005. The trail serves our entire NIEHS/EPA employee community as well as campus visitors. A brochure is available at the trailhead mail box that highlights some of the flora, fauna, and history of the campus lake area. The trail’s 15 marker posts are made of recycled plastic.
- The NIEHS 82 acres campus (developed land), with its mix of buildings, roadways, parking, lawn grass, and ornamental plantings was carved out of a mixed pine and hardwood forest. The natural surrounding woods dominates the Institute grounds which provides a home for plentiful wildlife and plant species.
- Wildflowers abound and have been planted in areas formerly mown.
- Finally, our extensive educational outreach efforts in the areas of wildlife, recycling, and similar efforts were highlighted in the certification.
Bulletin boards, e-newsletters, demonstrations for area schools, field trips, volunteer efforts with Boy and Girl Scouts, and active participation in Research Triangle Park environmental efforts, including Electronics Recycling Days, and promotion of alternative modes of transportation were also sited in the certification. Look for the brown W.A.I.T. certification sign as you enter our main campus on the Environmental Parkway.