In celebration of Arbor Day 2011, Premier Elkhorn Coal Company hosted a tree planting and cookout recently. Nineteen students from Jenkins High School High School joined students from nearby Shelby Valley High School and officials from the Office of Surface Mining and Department of Natural Resources as honored guests.
Crystal Little, Premier Elkhorn Administrative Clerk, and Stacy Billiter, the firm’s Surface Mine Planning Engineer, and Don Hall, Premier’s Director of Operations, welcomed guests to the Job 42 area mine at Esco in Pike County.
Bob Zik, TECO Coal vice president, introduced guest speakers Pat Angel of the U.S. Office of Surface Mining, Richard Wahrer with the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources, Tammy Horn with the Environmental Research Institute of Eastern Kentucky University, and Lynn Garrison with The American Chestnut Foundation.
Angel praised TECO for being good stewards of the environment and its dedication to the reforestation of mined lands. Wahrer emphasized the importance of reforestation, and Horn recognized Premier Elkhorn for planting wildflower sites as food sources for bees and constructing bee stands on reclaimed mining property to facilitate honey bee research projects.
Garrison and The American Chestnut Foundation donated 40 advanced American Chestnut trees to plant on the job site as part of the effort to reestablish the tree in the region.
Students and guests helped plant about 650 trees during the event.