Deere uses education and facility design to prove its engineering center and a wetlands area can live side-by-side, to each other's mutual benefit.
Maintaining a wetlands area is easy — just don't do anything anywhere near it.
However, maintaining 80 acres of wetlands right next to an engineering, development, and testing facility requires balancing competing interests — something employees at John Deere's Global Crop Harvesting Product Development Center are committed to.
To protect the wetlands surrounding the Silvis, Illinois, facility while also meeting the demands of increasingly complex and frequent equipment testing, employees developed a two-pronged approach: education and facility design and management.
All employees at the site completed training that familiarized them with the potential risks of operating next to wetlands. For reminders, they posted signs and painted and labeled storm drains. They also landscaped using native trees, grasses, and perennials.
Employees redesigned and updated existing testing areas rather than build new ones. And when expansion of the facility became necessary to accommodate growing space demands for equipment storage and an increased workforce, the PDC made sure the new building and parking projects affect only low-impact areas. The wetlands are completely unaffected.
The results have been rewarding for John Deere and the environment. The Global Crop Harvesting PDC not only expanded its testing capabilities, but also became a wildlife refuge, hosting native populations of deer, turkeys, ducks, and migrating waterfowl.