Freeport-McMoRan's Bat Week shines a light on biodiversity and conservation.

January 28, 2020

If biodiversity had a football team, its mascot would be a bat.

Bats play a vital role in helping maintain the desert's diverse ecosystem, so it's only natural the company's North American operations supporting Bat Conservation International's annual Bat Week in October have spawned a slew of different activities focused on biodiversity.

The company partners with a number of national and local nonprofit organizations, agencies and businesses in hosting the week's events, which in 2019 ranged from field trips, classroom presentations with live animals, STEM and conservation activities to trail maintenance and habitat restoration for students and community members.

As pollinators of agaves and other desert plants, bats play a vital role in helping maintain the desert's diverse ecosystem. The agaves in turn provide nectar for bats and other species such as migratory birds, butterflies and moths.

Toward that end, this year's conservation efforts got a big boost from Chino mine, where more than 600 agaves salvaged at the site were transplanted at various locations near North American operations and donated to partner organizations.

One of those destinations was Eastern Arizona College's Discovery Park Campus, where students from Dorothy Stinson Elementary School in Safford helped plant 30 agaves.

"This activity ties into the company's broader biodiversity initiatives, which are a key part of our sustainability programs and also part of our company's business ethic, really," said Ann George, Senior Scientist-Biodiversity / Sustainability. "Our biodiversity efforts, which tie into our "sustainability of people" efforts focusing on STEM education, are tied into local schools and organizations, and we're committed to giving back to the communities where we operate."

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