BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - Verizon Communications today (Nov. 29) received the Governor's Environmental Excellence Award for a project that is improving about 25 acres of grass and wetland habitats at the company's corporate campus, Verizon Center, at Basking Ridge in Somerset County.
The environmental project is a collaboration between Verizon, the New Jersey Audubon Society and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The company received the award at a ceremony at Drumthwacket, the official home of the New Jersey governor, in Princeton.
"Every day, we're seeing more and more plants and wildlife return to this environmental treasure chest," said Dennis Bone, president of Verizon New Jersey. "This is an exciting achievement for our company and the region, and we hope other companies will initiate similar projects at corporate locations throughout the state."
Verizon, Audubon and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service started the project earlier this year, with a goal of returning the parcel to its native state. Working with its partners, Verizon planted more than 550 native trees and shrubs at the location, which serves as a buffer to the Passaic River. An additional 500 trees are scheduled to be planted in 2008. As a result, more than 60 species of wildlife have been observed in the improved habitat at the site. Some of the species have never before been recorded on the property.
Verizon Center in Basking Ridge is the company's key operations center. More than 3,000 employees work at the state-of-the-art facility, including senior executives of the company's leading business organizations -- Verizon Business, Verizon Telecom and Verizon Wireless -- and corporate support personnel.
"With more than 18,000 employees now calling New Jersey home, our goal is to be a productive and vibrant partner in the community," said Lee Brathwaite, Verizon vice president of real estate. "We firmly believe this means working not only to benefit the state and local economy, but to be an active partner in improving the region's environment as well."
Specific enhancements at the site include the removal and control of invasive vegetation; native grass and wildflower plantings; and the installation of a vernal pool, nest boxes and turtle nesting areas. These enhancements are currently providing suitable habitats for a variety of wildlife, including numerous bird and herptile species.
Restoring this habitat is part of Verizon's national commitment to green energy practices that include pursuing aggressive network equipment and building energy-reduction initiatives; utilizing alternative energy sources in the network, buildings and vehicle fleet; and promoting the company's technology as an alternative to travel, among other efforts.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 63.7 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network. A Dow 30 company, Verizon has a diverse workforce of nearly 238,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.