BALTIMORE, MD – BGE has branched out into fresh food delivery for animals at The Maryland Zoo with the return of the annual browse program.
Now in its third year, the partnership program between the Zoo and BGE repurposes a portion of tree trimmings from BGE vegetation management crews into fresh, free, sustainable, diet-appropriate food (“browse”) for a diverse group of the Zoo’s animals. BGE proactively trims trees that pose a threat to the 10,500 miles of overhead power lines in the company’s central Maryland service area. The strategic trimming effort is essential to providing customers with safe, reliable energy; it also produces a glut of branches that would otherwise all be turned into mulch.
“BGE has been a long-time supporter of The Maryland Zoo, and this is a crucial time for the Zoo to have support in as many ways as possible since we’ve been closed to the public since March,” said Don Hutchinson, president/CEO of The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. “Not only are the animals benefiting from such fresh vegetation, we are able to funnel the funds we are saving to other areas of animal care within the Zoo.”
BGE vegetation management crews identify healthy and diet-appropriate trees, trim and bundle the trimmings, and then deliver truckloads of leafy greens to the Zoo twice a week from May through October. Upon delivery, the browse is sorted, washed and then given to a variety of animals from tortoises and rabbits to elephants and giraffes. Browse, which is spread throughout their habitats, encourages natural foraging behaviors. The browse program also saves the Zoo nearly $2,000 each week by reducing the need to purchase browse from out-of-state farms.
BGE trimmed trees and performed other vegetation management work along nearly 2,400 miles of overhead electric lines throughout its service area in 2019. This work is performed by licensed contractors trained to safely work near power lines, and managed by certified arborists—and it’s part of the reason BGE customers continue to experience some of the best service reliability in the company’s history.
In addition to BGE, other Exelon utilities provide browse to zoos, including ComEd in Illinois, which provides browse to the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, and PECO in Pennsylvania, which delivers browse to the Philadelphia Zoo.
About Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE)
BGE, founded in 1816 as the nation’s first gas utility and headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland’s largest natural gas and electric utility. The company’s approximately 3,200 employees are committed to safe and reliable energy delivery to more than 1.3 million electric customers and more than 680,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. BGE is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (Nasdaq: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider.