Powell, Ohio — AEP Ohio’s forestry program is critical to keeping the power on — making sure that its lines and equipment are free of trees and brush that could potentially cause outages for customers. Now, the forestry crew's work will serve a dual purpose by donating a portion of the trees they regularly trim to benefit the animals at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds through its new “Trim to Treat” partnership.
The fresh tree trimmings, branches and twigs — also known as browse — are important to the animals’ diets, and beneficial for enrichment. From the tallest to the smallest of animals, many will enjoy the benefits of this unique partnership, whether it’s a giraffe munching on some fresh leaves as part of its daily diet or a beaver chomping at a branch to help support dental health and its ever-growing teeth.
"'Trim to Treat' really is a unique and important program that directly benefits some animals at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds. Branches and tree trimmings from our neighboring communities will be repurposed and recycled for the animals in our care," said Dr. Jan Ramer, Interim Senior Vice President of Animal Care and Conservation, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds. “We’re appreciative of the support from AEP Ohio and our community as together we work to creatively use these resources in ways that positively impacts the animals—many of which are threatened and endangered.”
The “Trim to Treat” partnership will help the Columbus Zoo save money by reducing the need to source browse elsewhere. AEP Ohio forestry crews have an approved list of tree species from the Columbus Zoo that they’ll identify, bundle, and deliver by the truckload after they’ve been trimmed. Deliveries will be made twice a week to the Columbus Zoo and at least monthly to The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio.
“We’re proud to donate fresh, local browse to the animals at the Columbus Zoo and The Wilds. It’s really the perfect pairing — utilizing something we already have on hand to make a difference,” said Dale Hopkins, Region Forestry Manager, AEP Ohio.
AEP Ohio assesses and trims trees on a four-year cycle to help minimize power outages for its customers while also keeping in mind the health and beauty of the trees in communities across Ohio.
To learn more about this partnership and how it works, visit AEPOhio.com/Trim-to-Treat.