OPPD invites public to tour arboretum for sustainability inspiration

Currently planted at the OPPD arboretum on 108th & Blondo are peach, pecan, apple, pear, and hazelnut trees
It's a tasty project brewing in the middle of the city and the chef is OPPD.
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 5:43 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Gardening takes on a whole new look and meaning when you step into the Omaha Public Power District Arboretum.

The energy company’s Wildlife Specialist, Chris Vrtiska says their latest orchard, was inspired by a desire to showcase what their customers could have in their own backyard

Currently planted at the OPPD arboretum on 108th & Blondo are peach, pecan, apple, pear, and hazelnut trees.

“When you look at supply chains, prices in the grocery store...being a little more self-reliant might be a better appeal,” said Vrtiska.

OPPD says it’s all about affordable, reliable, environmentally, sensitive energy and while the trees will yield delicious fruit, the reasons for the showcase are certainly layered.

“The trees not only provide the shade, stormwater runoff, and store carbon, but they provide wildlife habitat and pollinators,” Vrtiska listed.

The orchard is part of OPPD’s Greener Together program, which gives customers a way to achieve their own green goals through community collaboration.

While the more immediate perks include reducing your carbon footprint and reducing your energy bill, OPPD’s energy consultant Eric BenSalah reminds the public of the more long-term benefits, like the opportunity to pass down sustainable projects for generations to come.

“There’s something for everyone which is the wonderful part,” said BenSalah, adding “it can be as simple as a bike path or it can be something like a homeowners association solar project.”

Greener Together is membership based.

Customers contribute a particular amount each month, and all funds collected go toward selecting and supporting green projects within the community.

Based on the contributed amount, customers receive a range of access to things like all project details, the opportunity to submit ideas, and help identify which projects move forward.

If you’re considering a green project, OPPD says visiting their arboretum is a great place to start.

Scattered throughout the area are educational tools to help customers learn more about safety issues associated with planting trees around power lines or other electrical equipment.

There’s also information to help them better understand how they can play a role in sustainability, by planting trees and shrubs to conserve energy.

To take a virtual tour of the OPPD arboretum, visit their website here.

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