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PPL tree giveaway program a hit

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Edna Johnson, left, her son-in-law Brian Plume, middle, and Melanie Plume, all of Wellsboro receive swamp white oak saplings from Kevin Steinbacher, right middle, and Tracie Witter of PPL Electric Utilities at the Williamsport Crosscutters game Thursday. PPL sponsored the game giving fans a choice of eight different trees to take home and plant in their own yards.

Fans arriving at Bowman Field in Williamsport to watch baseball Thursday received free trees courtesy of PPL Electric Utilities for planting.

It was all part of the company’s environmental initiative throughout its coverage area.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Jim Slother, of Watsontown, said. “There are too many trees being cut down or knocked down by storms.”

Slother was among some 500 people receiving a sapling who turned up at the doubleheader between the Crosscutters and the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.

“It’s a good program,” PPL Senior Environmental Professional Eric Beaver said.

People arriving at the ballpark received bags with information about planting the trees. They could then pick up any one of various species of trees as they exited the stadium.

Among the species were dogwood, river birch and eastern redbud.

Trees, noted PPL Regional Affairs Director Tracie Witter, provide shade, produce oxygen and help reduce greenhouse gases harmful to the environment.

“We encourage people to plant them,” she said.

Since launching the program in 2017, some 70,000 trees have been distributed by PPL.

Other tree giveaway programs have been done by PPL at minor league baseball games in Allentown and Scranton.

Beaver said people arriving at the ballpark seemed to be very receptive to the tree giveaway program.

PPL strives to be a good steward of the environment, according to company officials.

The utility company’s efforts have included recycling of metals and wooden utility poles, many of them damaged from storms and vehicle accidents.

“We create platforms for birds of prey,” Witter said.

The platforms serve as roosting spots for the birds that might otherwise use tops of utility poles.

“We work with businesses to assess their energy needs and help them save on utility bills,” she added.

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